U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with the Imo State Government to improve the management and delivery of water and sanitation (WASH) services to help people live healthier lives through reliable access to clean water.
The Public Affairs Department of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja disclosed this in a statement of Friday, July 17, 2020 following a virtual signing ceremony to formalise a new partnership.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed virtually between USAID’s Mission Director Stephen Haykin and Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo.
The MoU outlines commitments between USAID and Imo State to jointly develop a professionally managed, commercially oriented, and accountable state Water Board.
This will be accomplished by improving the Water Board’s financial viability, and strengthening policy, institutional, and regulatory frameworks for better WASH service delivery.
Haykin said: “By strengthening the Water Board’s capacity to make solid investment decisions, improve billing and collection systems, and improve responsiveness to customer needs.
“USAID, through E-WASH, will help increase access to clean water and reduce waterborne disease in Imo State, feeding into our mutual goal of creating a healthier, more economically robust Nigeria.”
According to the statement, after formal declaration of corporatisation of the new Imo State Water and Sewerage Corporation, Governor Uzodinma promised to announce the board of directors at a later date.
It stated that Uzodinma acknowledged that up to 85 per cent of Imo’s rural constituents lack access to a reliable source of running water .
The governor expressed hope that within a year the activity could reach up to 100,000 residents of the state.
“This project is consistent with the goals of my administration to ensure that the welfare of my people is advanced and protected.
“Therefore, I commit our cooperation to ensure this project is delivered. We are also committed to running the Imo Water Board as a business to ensure its commercial viability,” Uzodima said.
According to the statement, through the $60.4 million Effective Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Services (E-WASH) activity, USAID will support Imo and five other states to increase access to clean water and reduce disease.
It stated that USAID will achieve this by strengthening the Water Boards’ capacity to make solid investment decisions, improve billing and collection systems, and ensure greater responsiveness to customer concerns.
USAID notes that over four years, E-WASH will spur the mobilisation of an additional $50 million from public and private sources.
It will also provide access to piped clean water to at least 50,000 households. Delta, Abia and Taraba states have all signed similar agreements.
E-WASH is one component of a wider USAID effort to foster closer coordination with federal and state government agencies to advance broad-based economic growth and resilience in Nigeria through improved WASH services.
By Lizzy Okoji