By Ogenyi Ogenyi,Uyo
Stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, sector has said that environmental degradation, waste pollution and Open Defecation, ODF, could only be effectively curbed with sufficient water availability and efficient management.
At a three day workshop for journalists and members of the civil society at Eket, participants expressed dismay over several bottlenecks hampering effective management of the WASH sector, noting that the key impediment remains abysmal funding of the sector by government.
The workshop was facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and other Civil Society Organizations CSOs.
Addressing the conferees, the Project Director of IBOMWASH, Prof. Gabriel Umoh, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, in – charge of African Human Development Centre, AHDC, commended Governor Udom Emmanuel, for assenring to the bill but regretted that much still needed to be done to effectively implement the State’s WASH roadmap.
Umoh recalled that since the framework that would constitute the roadmap was articulated by stakeholders including some officials of government, the document is still yet to get the approval of government, and appealed to the outgoing Governor Emmanuel, to grant the approval before the May 29 exit date of his administration.
“The framework for the effective implementation of the State WASH roadmap had since been articulated by stakeholders and the document presented before the State Executive Council, SEC, for approval, but up till now, we are still waiting for the final nod, and we trust that the outgoing Governor, will do justice to it before leaving on May 29.” He said.
He pointed out that funding as the major driver in water sector reforms have combined with other administrative bottlenecks to hamper effective implementation of the State WASH policy, even as budgetary allocations to the sector, though minimal, could only be seen on paper without releases by the respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, over the years.
Our correspondent however, garthered that the document has been handed over to the Commissioner for information and Strategy, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong, who is presently studying the contents with a view to ascertaining whether the articulated issues complied with the State WASH policy direction before presenting it for final approval by the SEC.