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RBDAs Are Catalyst For Food Security, Job Creation – Minister

The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has said that ongoing partial commercialisation of the nation’s 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) is aimed at attracting private sector investments for their revitalization and ensuring efficient service delivery by them.

Adamu described the RBDAs asstrategic to the actualization of national food security, jobs and wealth creation goals through various agricultural activities.

The minister, who made the remarks while inaugurating a 9-member Project Implementation Committee (PIC) for the partial commercialisation of four pilot RBDAs in the country in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that the exercise was a good opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the government’s ongoing reforms through integrated river basin management “as a vehicle for enhancing food security, jobs and wealth creation as encapsulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Government”.

The four pilot RBDAs already listed for partial commercialisation are Sokoto-Rima, Ogun-Oshun, Upper Niger River and Niger Delta River Basin Authorities.

Adamu, who emphasized that the process is not the privatisation of the RBDAs’ assets, expressed happiness that the implementation of the processes leading to the partial commercialisation of the RBDAs commenced successfully with the appointment of a Transaction Adviser and the conduct of a pilot study of four out of the 12 RBDAs to evaluate their critical assets and commercial viability towards partially commercializing them.

While commending the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Transaction Adviser for their commitment towards the successful partial commercialisation of the RBDAs to make them sustainable, the minister charged the TIC members to ensure a seamless discharge of their assignment.

In his brief remarks at the occasion, Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, noted that pursuing the partial commercialisation and introduction of PPP in some projects of the RBDAs would lead to the optimization of the RBDAs’ assets as key resource of water along the value chains of agriculture, irrigation, small scale power generation and portable water for consumption.

The BPE boss, who gave the committee six months to complete its assignment, charged the members to review the approved recommendations and the proposed implementation strategy by the Advisers for the partial commercialisation and introduction of PPP in some projects of the Pilot RBDAs; work out the modalities and drive their implementation of the recommendations; monitor and review the implementation and make appropriate recommendations to the Minister of Water Resources; and advise on steps to be taken for the sustenance of the commercialisation and introduction of PPP in RBDAs.

In addition, the Director General urged the members to also liaise with relevant stakeholders to ensure smooth and seamless implementation of the recommendations; recommend ways and means to ensure optimal utilization of RBDA facilities; make recommendation to NCP and the Minister on ways to adopt the commercialisation and introduction of PPP implemented in the 4 Pilot RBDAs for the remaining RBDAs; and make any other recommendation for the consideration of NCP and the Minister on the enhancement of the viability of the RBDAs and unlocking their potentials.

The committee members are selected from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, BPE and the four pilot RBDAs.

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