…saying lack of regulation undermining economic prospects in water sector
By Taiwo Oluwadare
The National President, Association Of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners Practitioners (AWDROP) who doubles as the founder and CEO of Global Initiative for Nigeria Development (GIND) Development Nigeria, Engr. Michael Ale has said what is Germaine in the controversial Water Resources bill is, ‘regulations’, as he noted that regulation in the industry will promote economic prospects in the sector.
The water and sustainable developmental expert while speaking as a discussant on an AIT program, Focus Nigeria penultimate Monday via Skype noted that there must be enacted law that will regulate water sector saying lack of regulation of the sector is undermining the economic prospects.
Recalled that the the Water Bill was earlier rejected in 2018 and it was returned as an executive bill this year. After its return, the bill has been trailed with controversies with a suspicion that it is a plan to dispossess states of their lands and water resources. This perception in many parts of Nigeria has made the bill to be rejected again when it was reintroduced this year at the National Assembly.
But reacting on the television program, Ale said: “Water is a resource that belongs to everybody. We have breweries, farmers and others that use water for their businesses but many of them abuse the resource because they get it free and have no plan for replenishment. And this can affect our ground water and can also affect us from having quality water we want. For example, if a company is extracting more than what is required in a particular environment, the whole neighborhood will suffer its consequences.
“Especially, if it’s a foreign company and it is not licensed to extract water but make money from it, the company will send such money back to its country and that boils down to a capital flight.
“The angle people are criticizing in the bill is social aspect. But from professional aspect, we haven’t looked into it. Both Federal and States governments should do the regulation. For example, Lagos State been regulating water resources for the past eight years but having challenges with their federal counterparts in the state because Federal Government’s laws using to regulate the industry is different from their state’s counterpart and that is why there must be uniformity of laws regulating water sector in the country”.
Speaking on the land ownership and water control, Ale said ” Let me remind Nigerians that the name ‘Nigeria’ originated from Niger, meaning we are in water Niger area (River Niger area), meaning that anywhere we have water resources, there’s economic boom. Like Lagos Ocean, it is international water that links other countries and it has laws regulating it. Likewise, River Niger, a Nigerian bound water must have laws regulating it.
“My take is, not all content of the bill is bad. Controversial areas can be expunged while aspects that can be beneficial to the country’s economic activities be retained. This is because, if the bill passed, it will generate more income for government and professionals and it will enhance supply of quality water.
” Just like NNPC and DPR in petroleum sector, DPR regulates or manages petroleum resources. Also in water management, government is not saying they are taking away land ownership from states but taking control of the water resources to make it free from abuse. This is because, anything that is not controlled is abused.
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