The World Bank has announced the approval of a $700 million facility for Nigeria Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) Programme.
The Breton Woods multilateral development finance institution (DFI) made the disclosure Thursday in a statement on its website, saying that the credit will provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services.
According to the bank, the facility provided by its International Development Association (IDA),
will also deliver improved Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities and assist 500 communities to achieve open defecation-free status.
The projects would be implemented as part of the Federal Government’s National Action Plan (NAP) for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation, and hygiene sector.
It clarified: “In 2019, approximately 60 million Nigerians were living without access to basic drinking water services, 80 million without access to improved sanitation facilities and 167 million without access to a basic hand-washing facility.
“In rural areas, 39 per cent of households lack access to at least, basic water supply services, while only half have access to improved sanitation and almost a third (29 per cent) practice open defecation, a fraction that has marginally changed since 1990”, the bank stated
The DFI further stated that “specifically, the programme will support the development of infrastructure to improve water supply service delivery, sanitation and hygiene in institutions (schools and healthcare facilities) and public places such as markets, motor parks and others.”
The bank noted, however, the in recent years, the Federal Government had strengthened its commitment toward improving access to WASH services, spurred on by the need for Nigeria’s WASH sector to catch up with its regional counterparts.
If further stated that the development led to the government to declare a state of emergency in 2018 and subsequent launching of the NAP, which aimed at ensuring universal access to sustainable and safely managed WASH services by 2030, commensurate with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In addition, the development finance institution indicated that the programme would support NAP, which is a 13-year strategy prioritising action within three phases.
The phases are the Emergency Plan, Recovery Plan and Revitalisation Strategy and also the Clean Nigeria; Use the Toilet Campaign, which aims to have Nigeria free of open defecation by 2025.
Commenting on the funding support, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said the programme’s centrality to Nigeria’s human capital agenda and its potential to influence key human capital outcomes cannot be over-emphasized.
The development banker hinged his position on the fact that access to WASH was an important determinant of human capital outcomes, including early childhood survival, nutrition, health, learning and women’s empowerment, all of which in turn affected labour productivity and efficiency.
He clarified: “Participating states will be able to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
“This will help to keep more girls in school, create employment and reduce open defecation, while developing greater resilience to the impact of climate change and conflicts between different land and water users”, Chaudhuri added
The SURWASH programme is performance-based and participation is open to all states in Nigeria based on their commitment to specific reforms in the sector.
It would support the Federal Government to enact necessary policy reforms and usher incentives for state and local governments, service providers, technical assistance providers and community-based organisations to effectively deliver sustainable services in the sector.
In addition, the programme is designed to also support a package of investments to expand access to and increase the use of WASH services in urban, small towns and rural areas.