The Lagos State Government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WaterAid Nigeria in building capacity of the Water Sector in the state.
The MoU was signed between the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission and WaterAid Nigeria in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
With just only 25 percent of the over 22 million Lagos residents having access to Water and 20 percent to hygiene and Sanitation, the state is set to move towards ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals, six, which gives the timeline of year 2030 for realization of Water for all, is met.
Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, at the signing of the MoU said the partnership would provide a better way of developing capacity to manage the Water Resources in the state.
He described the occasion as historic as the partnership signified a renewal of something good for Lagos and Nigeria.
According to Bello, Lagos, as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria must put pragmatic measures in place to ensure water is provided for the populace.
He added that the MoU would enable Lagos to efficiently manage the state’s water resources for the benefits of all.
Executive Secretary, Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission, Funke Adepoju, said the value of clean and safe water, delivered safe and healthy at the right time, quality and quantity could not be underestimated.
“Capacity building furthers an organization’s ability to do new things and improve what they currently do. We understand that the need to strengthen institutional capacity and regulatory framework bench-marking against international best practices must happen if we want to improve performance, enhance our ability to function as a regulatory body, we must build capacity,” she said.
According to Adepoju, “that is what this collaboration will afford us. It will strengthen LSWRC efficiency and improve our service delivery in the state. We also trust that a successful partnership such as this will open up space for WaterAid to engage with other relevant MDAs of the State in the WASH sector.”
She said Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission was indeed glad to partner with WaterAid and would obviously benefit immensely from this hand holding towards human capital development that “comes with your wealth of experience, being a leading organization in the field of WASH and acceleration to attainment of SDG – 6 in Lagos state.”
Earlier, Water AID Global Director, Robb Fuller commended the Lagos State Government for taking the initiative, the Governor for driving leadership, adding that the WaterAid is committed to supporting Lagos state towards ensuring that residents have access to water, hygiene and sanitation.
Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere, said the MoU is expected to improve the capacity of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission to improve on its capacity to effectively regulate the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector in Lagos State.
Mere said through this partnership, WaterAid would support the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission to improve on its capacity to effectively regulate the WASH sector in the State.
“Our expectations are that together, we can make a success story of this collaboration and utilize the achievements envisaged to influence other states and the national government to prioritize effective regulation of the WASH sector in Nigeria.
“This will contribute to delivering on the objectives of the National Action Plan for the revitalization of the WASH sector and the declaration of a state of emergency in the sector by the Federal Government, about three years ago,” she said.
She added that WaterAid would partner with and support the Commission to enhance already existing knowledge and skills to deliver on its mandate through capacity development and strengthening.
Mere said this process would involve the conduct of several organisational and sectoral assessments and studies that would generate the data needed to inform interventions that would enhance the operations, management and effective functioning of the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission.
“These include an organisational situation analysis, capacity assessment and sectoral Political Economy Analysis. It is expected that these will then inform the development of appropriate responses to address the needs and issues that are identified, including the design of performance improvement plans to enhance optimal delivery of its mandate by the Commission.
“The process will also involve learning and knowledge exchange under our Water Operators Partnership programme that enables WASH sector actors work together, share experiences, mentor and support each other towards improved performance.
“We are really grateful in this regard for the enthusiastic support received so far from the Water regulators in Zambia, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Of WAT, the UK Drinking Water Quality institution and others. Indeed, this partnership has already kicked off before today with some activities holding while several others have reached advanced stages of planning,” she said.
Mere further stated that WaterAid wanted to encourage other critical stakeholders in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector and key government parastatals, to continue to prioritise access to WASH and ensure that investment in the WASH sector is increased to cater to the needs of residents of the state.
She revealed that statistics presently indicated that about 12.87m people in the state did not have decent toilets, 3.84m did not have access to basic hygiene facilities, while 7.67m did not have clean water.
“In addition to increasing allocation for the WASH sector, we must ensure that the allocated funds are used effectively to strengthen WASH access for better health, socio-economic, gender and education outcomes. As recent events have shown, this is also critical to adequate pandemic preparedness.
“At current rates of progress, we are off-track from achieving this all important Sustainable Development Goal 6- clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. With the challenge posed by climate change, the task has become even more daunting with the emphasis on water quality and the crucial role of regulation becoming even more relevant and critical. This, for us, makes the signing of this MoU all the more important,” she added.
In addition, Mere said WaterAid would also be reaching out to other WASH agencies such as the Lagos State Water Corporation, Waste Water Management Office, the Ministries of Environment, Water Resources, Finance as well as the Planning Commission to enable data gathering in the PEA process, and also to ensure proper coordination towards optimal performance of the sector.
“We are confident that with such partnerships and arising from this event, working with other key institutions, development partners, civil society organisations and the media, we will put all hands on deck to ensure that we achieve universal access to sustainable WASH services by 2030 for the people of Lagos State and the nation at large,” she said.