By Tosin Kolade
The Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC), says it has given out 86 water use licenses to companies using raw bulk water, within eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Mr Magashi Bashir, the Executive Director of the commission, made this known on Thursday, when he took round the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, on a tour of the commission’s facilities in Abuja.
According to Bashir, the commission has also given demand notices to 76 companies using raw bulk water in pursuance of its enhanced revenue generation agenda to an expected income of N823 million.
He emphasised the need for exercising regulations oversight over water abstraction and water related activities, saying current regulations had led to the revalidation of 50 licenses for users of bulk water.
He said monitoring activities of the licensees would ensure that they operated within the terms and conditions, and would impact greatly on the Nigerian economy.
Magashi said the commission was committed to generating revenue from the water sector to develop infrastructure in the country, saying his tenure had brought in N74 million, an expected 100 per cent revenue increase.
The executive director said the commission had partnered with the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, to investigate cases of violators of the Water Resources Act, saying that had yielded positive results.
“We as a Commission, being aware of the revenue deficit in the nation’s revenue needs, are determined to make sure users of raw bulk water pay the appropriate charges.
“It is hoped that with all the efforts committed thus far, the Water Resources Bill will see the light of the day soon, and effective implementation of regulations of water resources can be possible.”
Responding, Adamu commended the leadership of the commission for working dispassionately to reposition the water resources sector.
The minister said the commission was an important arm of the ministry that should be given its independence when the National Water Resources Bill scaled through.
He urged the staff of the commission not to despair at current developments and politicisation of the bill at the National Assembly.
Adamu said those calling it a “Buhari bill’ would have a change of heart soon, saying its aim was to make sure that the nation’s water sector remained competitive and regulated for the overall benefit of all.
“The National Water Resources Bill is not a “Buhari bill”, those calling it all sorts of things are misinformed and it’s all dirty politics, delaying its passage is denying the benefits to the people.”
The minister expressed optimism that his successor would give the commission the needed support to enable it carry out its mandate on integrated water resources management.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that NIWRMC, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, was established in May 2007, following the setting up of a committee on Federal Government Public Reforms.
The commission’s objective and mandate is to regulate, protect, conserve and control water sources for equitable social-economic development. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore