The Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, has solicited for other funding sources outside the annual national budget to enable her ministry construct more dams across the country.
Ochekpe, who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Water, made the request during the ministry’s 2015 budget defence at the National Assembly in Abuja.
While highlighting the achievements of the ministry in 2014 based on the funds made available to it, the minister emphasised on the need to build more dams to meet up with the needs of the growing population.
Ochekpe was quoted as saying in a statement that the construction of additional dams would help conserve more water for irrigation farming, hydro power generation, as well as provide safe water for domestic and industrial uses.
According to her, the ministry has made impact on the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government through the provision of water from the existing dams for irrigation farming.
Ochekpe told the House members that water projects were capital intensive and solicited for other sources of funding to enable the ministry carry out its mandate.
She promised that the ministry would intensify efforts on the water sector reform with the support of stakeholders and its development partners.
The statement added that the committee and the ministry agreed, among other things, to explore alternative sources of funding, enact a legislation to give legal backing to the payment of water rates, and strengthen the utility boards and water corporations to generate revenue and to complete ongoing projects.
The Chairman, House Committee on Water, Mr. Aliyu Patigi, was quoted as decrying insufficient appropriation for the ministry.
He said that water was the key source of livelihood hence the amount appropriated for it should be increased.
Patigi noted that the ministry needed sufficient funds to implement projects under its purview and called on the appropriate authorities to further review its budget.