FG Plans To Borrow N287 Billion For A Water Project
The idea has been met with substantial opposition in the Senate.
By Omotayo Olutekunbi
The Ministry of Water Resources has proposed borrowing N287 billion ($700 million) from the Senate for its Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (SURWASH) program in 2022.
Esther Didi Walson-Jack, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, told the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt that the loan will finance the project’s start and capacity building.
SURWASH will endure five years, she said during a budget defense on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.
The idea was met with strong opposition from committee members, who requested clarification on loans that had previously been granted.
Senator Clifford Ordia, the committee’s chairman, stated,
The SURWASH program is projected to reach seven states and supply basic drinking water to six million people.
Improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services will be provided to 2,000 schools and health care institutions as part of the initiative, which will benefit 1.4 million people.
As a result of the program, 500 communities in Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, and Plateau are projected to achieve open defecation-free status.
The loan was approved by the World Bank in June, with a $700 million credit from the International Development Association expected to fund it (IDA).
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt called Adamu Suleiman, the Minister of Water Resources, to present details on how prior loans were used.
The committee also expressed strong opposition to the Ministry of Health’s request to borrow N82 billion ($200 million) to purchase mosquito nets earlier this week.
Nigeria’s debt profile has risen dramatically in recent years, owing to President Muhammadu Buhari’s quest for debt relief for underdeveloped countries.
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