President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to fix Nigeria’s water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector.

The sector has been in a sad state over the years with high-prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country causing preventable deaths.

The president has now declared a state of emergency on the sector and this aligns with the inauguration of the National Action Plan for Revitalisation of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector.

Speaking at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja on Thursday, Buhari directed government at all levels to redouble efforts and work towards meeting the nation’s water supply and sanitation needs.

“The Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs) targets (6.1 & 6.2) for WASH are even more demanding as they require WASH services to be provided in adequate quantity and quality on premises at affordable prices.

“This cannot be achieved if we continue with ‘a business as usual’ approach. It is on this premise that I fully endorse the decision taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in April this year to declare ‘a State of Emergency on our WASH Sector,” President Buhari said.

He added, “Our country now ranks No 2 in the global rating on Open Defecation as about 25 per cent of our population are practicing open defecation.”

“WASH services at the rural areas are unsustainable as 46 per cent of all water schemes are non-functional, and the share of our spending on WASH sector has been declining from 0.70 per cent of the GDP in 1990 to about 0.27 per cent in 2015, which is far below the 0.70 per cent at the West African regional level.”

The occasion was attended by representatives of various state governments and development partners.

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