EU water project: Bayelsa, Delta, Edo meet deadline
Three states — Bayelsa, Delta and Edo, have fulfilled the required 30 per cent counterpart funding to access European Union (EU) N2.4 billion grant for the water project in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Albert Achten, the Leader of the EU experts team, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Achten, however, said that two of the five states targeted in the region had yet to fulfil the requirement in order to enjoy the grant.
“These states are Akwa Ibom and Rivers. If they fail to pay the required 30 per cent counterpart funding, they will lose the grant.
“For instance, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta states are right now at the procurement stage and in no time, they will be to access the grants.”
According to him, the EU and UNICEF have signed a five-year contribution agreement to boost rural water and sanitation project in the Niger Delta region.
Achten, therefore, appealed to the defaulting state governments, in the interest of their communities, to contribute their counterpart funds to enable them to access the EU fund.
He said that this would enable them to provide water for their communities.
He said the project was important as it was expected to contribute to conflict mitigation in the region by improving access to basic social services.
“This project will support the state governments and the rural water sanitation institutions in the five states to develop and implement needed reforms in the sector.
“It will also deliver sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene services within communities and schools.”
Achten said the roles and responsibilities of partners under the programme were being worked out just as the cost-sharing arrangements and coordination mechanism.
“The water and sanitation component of this programme are mainly to enhance access to safe, adequate and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene services.
“This component is already active in the five states and we are taking two local government areas per state.”
He commended the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, for not only ensuring that the region utilised the fund but also for acting promptly on his earlier promise on the realisation of the project.
NAN recalls that the initiative, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Support Programme (NDSP), had been ongoing for some time, but needed to be sustained.
NDSP was designed to be implemented from 2013 to 2017 to mitigate the conflict in the region by addressing the main causes of unrest and violence.
Those issues include bad governance, youth unemployment and poor delivery of basic services.