Facts have emerged on why Taraba was selected to benefit from the twenty three billion naira United States Agency for International Development (USAID) intervention for Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services (E-WASH) pilot programme in Nigeria.
Taraba was selected along with Imo, Sokoto, Abia, Niger and Delta states as beneficiaries of the $65m dollars USAID intervention in Urban WASH programme aimed at ensuring effective and sustainable provision of Water in the selected states.
The general Manager of Taraba State Water Board, Mr Sani Buba Siam who disclosed this on Thursday at a media round table meeting organized by the board for journalists in Jalingo noted that the state was picked for the programme because it is one of the most responsive Water Boards in the country.
The GM further revealed that the responsiveness of the state’s water board has equally attracted a multi billion naira intervention by the African Development Bank (ADB) in water supply to the state.
The E- WASH programme, which would be in the form of technical assistance and capacity development, according to Siam, would run for four years beginning from 2018.
He disclosed that the Taraba State government has already granted the board partial autonomy and has commenced the legal process of making the agency fully autonomous .
According to Siam, “only one in every six persons living in Taraba state has access to portable water. This is a very disturbing statistics. The state government has intensified efforts to make sure that this trend is corrected. That is why this intervention by the USAID is such a priority to us.
“You recall that there is currently an ongoing project funded by the African Development Bank in the area of water supply. This is aimed at ensuring at least eighty percent coverage of Jalingo. However the state government feels that this is not enough and has come up with the Taraba water ways which is a state project to further boost the water supply to the state.
“Unfortunately, our water agency in the state has been operating at a lose all along, where we spend seven to eight million Naira monthly and earn between two and three million Naira in return.
“That is why the state government has decided to make the agency an autonomous agency. So far we are enjoying partial autonomy already and the process in underway to ensure full autonomy and financially independence.
The E-WASH program, expected to last for four years is aimed at making states water agencies more financially viable and independent so that the people in turn would enjoy stable and sustained water supply and a cleaner and more hygienic environment for the states.