THE World Bank has said it earmarked $350 million to increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in rural communities and towns across Nigeria.
The bank said this is aside the $250 million it was spending on the Third Urban Water Sector Reform Project aimed at increasing access to pipe-borne water supply schemes in urban areas.
World Bank’s Country Director Rachid Benmessaoud spoke in Abuja, the nation’s capital, at the first national stakeholders’ consultation workshop on Nigeria’s rural WASH project hosted by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu.
The World Bank chief, who said Nigeria had made little progress in combating poverty due to its low human capital, added that low access to WASH services was a major reason for the poor performance.
He said: “Nigeria has made little progress in combating poverty due to its low human capital, even in comparisons to its regional peers. Low access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is a major reason for this poor performance.
“A lack of WASH services leads to high infant mortality, takes away rights that are life-long held and reduces educational attainment, some of which in turn diminish laid down productivity.
“Since the launch of the WASH Poverty Diagnostics, our team has provided continued support to the ministry in the development and the implementation of the action plan.
“The $250 million third urban water sector reform project represents our latest engagement in the urban water sector. A partnership that has now spanned over 50 years to increase access to pipe-borne water supply services while increasing the investment money capacity of the participating states and improving the financial viability of the service providers.”