The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved National Water Policy, National Irrigation Policy and a draft National Water Resources Bill meant to streamline the use and management of water in the country.
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this known Wednesday when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the National Water Policy seeks to provide strategies that will improve the management and delivery of water resources in the country.
He said the National Water Resources Bill was also meant to consolidate all the existing laws which included the Water Resurces Act, the River Basin Development Authority Act, the National Water Resources Institute Act, the National Hydrological Service Act amongst others.
The Minister stated all the Acts were being put together to form a National Water law that conformed to international standard and international best practices.
“FEC approves National Water Policy, Irrigation Policy, Draft Water Resources Bill.
“National Water Policy seeks to provide strategies that will improve the management and delivery of water in the country in particular reference to water supply.
“It is followed by the enabling law, that is National Water Resources Bill, which essentially consolidates all the existing laws, the Water Resources Act, the River Basins Development Authorities Act, National Water Resources Institute Act, National Hydrological Services Act and other Acts put together to form a national law that conforms international standard and international best practices.
“By so doing we have been able to streamline many of the overlapping laws.
Sometimes we have conflict in laws like the one with (National Inland Water Ways Authority) NIWA; some laws are related to environment, some related to mining.
“These bills seek to sort out all these issues so that we have a standard national law and this will enable us set up a proper regulatory agency to regulate the water sector.”
According to Adamu, with the new national water policy, the nation’s door is now opened for the private sector “to come in a big way to invest in water supply schemes in the country.”
He said the Irrigation and Drainage Policy would bring together water users associations across the country and “generally improve not only irrigation infrastructure but irrigation management in the country.’’.
According to the Minister, Nigeria has the potential of 3.14million hectare of land for irrigation.
He said that only 130,000 of the land had developed formally while only 70,000 of the developed land is being utilised.
Adamu expressed the hope that the introduction of the new irrigation policy would help in utilising all available land for irrigation farming across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to him, we feel that introducing this policy will help us to work along at the federal and sub-regional with states so that we can have all encompasses policy.
“This will help our agricultural agenda for now and also support the national irrigation policy that we introduced under our road map, which is supposed to be from this year to 2030.
“It won’t go well without this policy and it is a good thing that we have brought the three together,” he said.
The minister also expressed optimism that the three approved national water policies would help in the smooth implementation of the Federal Government’s agriculture agenda meant to ensure food security.
Also addressing the correspondents, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated that the issue of assets sale being speculated in some quarters was not among the matters discussed during the FEC meeting.
According to him, the Federal Government is still working on the most comprehensive manner to reflate the economy, assuring that government’s position on the assets sale will soon be made known.
“What the government will do is to reflate the economy; everything you have heard so far is just suggestion, until the government makes its position known.
“All these assets sale, assets leasing, whatever is being bandied about there are nothing but speculations.
“The government is yet to come out with its position on how to bail out the economy.’’