LAGOS, NOVEMBER 1, 2016 – Foreign exchange crisis facing the country has pushed the construction of the Lagos Adiyan II water treatment plant from N54 billion to N64 billion.
State Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Samuel Adejare, while answering questions at the monthly press briefing of the ministry on Monday in Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria also debunked insinuations that the government was planning to privatise the Lagos State Water Corporation.
The commissioner disclosed that the initial cost of constructing the Adiyan II water treatment plant was N54 billion and that the foreign exchange crisis in Nigeria had pushed the cost to N64 billion.
“I want to say categorically that we are not privatizing Lagos State Water Corporation. I want that to be clear to every Lagos residents. We know it is expensive to build water treatment plants. We are currently constructing on Adiyan II. Already, we have Adiyan Water Treatment Plant I already working. We also have Iju working.
“We have Isasi working. We just finished one at Ikota Ikosi. We have other mini-water works. But we are building Adiyan II. Initially, the Adiyan II project was N54 billion. But foreign exchange crisis has pushed it to over N64 billion. This is huge cost for the state government to bear alone.
“Due to cost implication and foreign exchange crisis, we plan to work with private concern. Some private interests want to come and build the plant with their money. When they complete the plant, they will charge very sensible rate. But we will sit down and negotiate the rate with them.
“We are also going into contract with them. Our arrangement will be under Public-Private Partnership (PPP). We are not privatizing water supply in the state. We have not finished Adiyan II. We are vigorously pursuing the completion of the Adiyan II project,” he stated.
Adejare said the government was so sure that the population of Lagos had hit above 25 million So, saying this necessitated plans by government to consider building another water treatment plant at the Lagos East Senatorial District.
He disclosed that the State Executive Council just approved the first one to be constructed in the area, adding: “That is the one we will use as a model for others. That is Odomola II water treatment plant. It will supply water to Victoria Island, Lekki, Ajah, Ibeju and Epe, among others. We are going to get water from Osun River.”
“The State Executive Council has just approved the Odomola II project. We are also building water plants in other parts of the state. We are committed to bringing water to our people. Currently, Lagos State Water Corporation charges 5k per litre. Water vendors will fetch the same water and sell it at N20 per litre.
The bottle water is not better treated than our water. This is not sustainable. What water corporation is charging cannot sustain its service. In fact, in the last two months, the corporation cannot pay its salaries. 5k per litre cannot bring them any revenue,” he lamented.
According to Adejare, “We must face the facts and we must be realistic about it. We are not privatizing Lagos State Water Corporation. We are only going into public-private partnership arrangement. We are not directly dealing with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) or the World Bank. The cost is much. It is about $300 million.
This government cannot put down the money at once. We have commitment in other sectors – the environment, education, health. We are ready to engage strategic investors. That is how it is done elsewhere.
“We are battling with water-borne diseases around. If civil society organisations insist on the status quo, we are at risk of water-borne diseases. It is better we have water at appropriate pricing and reduce the risk of water-borne diseases. We are paying exorbitantly for water.
Insurance firms are charging us. Instead of 5k per litre, they are charging N5 per litre. The rate we are negotiating is not up to N1 per litre. It is about 64 kobo per litre. I can assure that the interest of our people will be utmost on our minds during the time of discussion.”