By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Organized Private Sector (OPS) has finally agreed to comply with the Lagos State Government’s resolve to regulate and sanitise water sector for environmental sustainability and access to water in line with the attainment of SDG 6.
The OPS is made up of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), among others.
Executive Secretary of Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LSWRC), Mrs Funke Adepoju, who revealed this in a statement on Wednesday, said with the development, the Commission has been further strategically positioned to enforce the provisions of the law towards ensuring the safety of residents in terms of safe water consumption and also protecting the environment.
Pursuant to the Lagos State Environmental Management and Protection Law (2017), the LSWRC is empowered to regulate, control and monitor abstraction, production, distribution, consumption, supply and use of water, quantity as well as quality of service.
For about three years, the OPS had vehemently opposed regulation of abstraction, licensing and permit for operators in the water sector. However, after series of meetings and concessions, the body has now decided to collaborate with the state government.
Speaking on the development, Adepoju thanked the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his magnanimity that gave rise to the amicable resolution of the opposition to the issues of regulation of water abstraction. She also commended the leadership and members of OPS, especially MAN, NECA and NACCIMA.
According to Adepoju, “Mr Governor, recognizes the huge contribution of the OPS to the economy of Lagos and thus to encourage businesses, he has granted concessions as requested by the OPS on charges relating to water abstraction, licensing and permits.
“This is a clear demonstration of the commitment of Mr. Governor to protect businesses and encourage them to thrive, especially with Post- Covid-19 and the attendant effect on the economy.
“Big credit also goes to MAN, NECA, NACCIMA and other associations under the umbrella of the Organized Private Sector for agreeing to support the state government’s quest to sanitize the water industry in the state and facilitate the improvement of integrated water resource management.”
She recalled the pledge by Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello at the 2020 Lagos Water Conference where he alluded to enthronement of the regulatory regime in the water sector as one of the environmental regeneration programmes of the current administration designed to create a safe, healthy and conducive environment for residents.
Going forward, Adepoju said all issues around water abstraction, collection of licenses and permits for all stakeholders in the water sector, especially those using water for in-process, those abstracting more than 10,000 litres/day, Housing estates/facilities with more than tenement of 50, bottled and sachet water producers, commercial premises, among others, have now been amicably resolved.
She said in view of the need to safeguard the health of residents and protect the environment, the Monitoring and Enforcement Unit of the Commission would intensify its activities in order to ensure that operators comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and producers engage in wholesome practices, while at the same time ensuring financial viability of the sector.
On the other hand, the absence of regulation, according to Adepoju, portends great danger for availability of portable water and protection of the environment.
“All these forms the basis of the interest of the State Government through the LSWRC to regulate the activities of the operators in the sector, and this is why it is gratifying that the state government and OPS are now pursuing a common goal on this issue,” Adepoju said.