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River Basin boards asked to reposition to ensure food security

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources has urged the governing board of the 12 River Basins and its parastatal agencies to focus on repositioning to enhance food security and job creation.

Suleiman Adamu
Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources

The minister, Mr Suleiman Adamu, made this call at the opening of a two-day retreat for the Governing Boards of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities and the Parastatals of the Ministry in Abuja on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

The ministry’s parastatals also include the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agencies and the National Water Resources Institute.

Adamu said that the functionality of the River Basins had a huge role to the agricultural revolution, while encouraging them to find alternative sources of funding through private sector involvement.

He said it was expected that the retreat would provide the board chairmen with the guidelines, rules and procedures in the exercise of their mandates and responsibilities.

He said eminent resource persons have been carefully selected to speak on the thematic areas of; best practice in River Basin Planning, Engineering and Management, Public Procurement Act 2007 and Board’s Duties and Responsibilities in Staff Matters.

Adamu said the retreat would provide deeper insights that will enable them contribute to the advancement of the reform agenda of the present administration, particularly in the areas of water resources management and national food security.

He underscored the role of the Governing Boards of the 12 River Basins as a critical element for the success of the Agricultural Revolution of the country.

“You are expected to bring to fore the vision of the present administration by developing sound policies and programmes that will put your Parastatals and Agencies on sound footings for effective and efficient delivery of the Ministry’s vision and mandates,” he said.

The minister noted that the Ministry had held several meetings with the Managing Directors of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) to review their 2017 – 2020 operations, especially in the execution of their strategic plans and irrigation for food production.

He said that the 12 RBDAs and the two agencies control over 50 per cent of the ministry’s budget, saying the contributions and achievement of these Parastatals and Agencies are crucial to the overall success of the ministry.

He expressed optimism that when the National Water Resources Bill, which is at the final stage of consideration in the National Assembly is passed into law, the challenges of the RBDAs would be resolved.

Dr Musa Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, while congratulating the newly constituted boards, urged them to work in line with the ministry’s mandate towards the overall development of the water resources sector.

He cautioned them to do away with unnecessary interference with the businesses of the Management team of the river basins and other agencies.

According to him, a retreat will be organised soon to introduce them to what is required of them.

`It is against this backdrop that I urge you to be guided by the rules and administrative procedures of the public service while discharging your duties.

“Let me further emphasise that the role of the governing board is to drive the general policies guiding of the parastatals and agencies as outlined by the ministry,” he said.

Sen. Ubale Shittu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, expressed worry over the non-performance of all river basins since their creation.

He urged the new board members to re-strategise to see what could be done to reposition the river basins for optimum performance.

He restated the commitment of the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the National Water Resources Bill before it.

The Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Alhaji Aliyu Pategi, urged the newly inaugurated board chairmen to ensure transparency and accountability in all their doings.

He said they were now saddled with the responsibility of making sure that Nigerians have access to water, saying they were the closest Government’s parastatal to the constituencies.

By Tosin Kolade

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