…Says enhancement of social inclusion, poverty reduction, expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare vital_
To attain global sanitation targets, Nigeria will have to triple current investment levels in the sector, an objective that will require contributions of partners and stakeholders since government budgets alone won’t make the mark.
This was stated Friday evening by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who declared open the 2022 World Toilet Summit in Abuja, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, whom the VP represented at the event.
“For Nigeria, we will need to triple current investments in the Sector. But with the current fiscal constraints, this additional expenditure cannot be accommodated by Government budgetary provisions alone, we will require the contribution of our partners and stakeholders,” the VP stated.
Continuing, he noted that, “While Governments must acknowledge their role in providing the needed leadership to rally all other stakeholders in contributing to improved and sustainable access to sanitation services, the development sector, private sector, civil society, research institutions, media, and other stakeholders, must also play their roles by bringing in the technical expertise, finance, advocacy, and by promoting innovative and scalable approaches towards strengthening systems for accelerated progress.”
The Vice President, referencing the theme of the Summit, “Sanitation Innovations for Economic Development”, emphasized the need for partnership and collaboration in tackling global sanitation crisis for wholesome development.
He noted that “it will require the quadrupling of the current rate of progress to meet up with the 2030 target date.”
The VP then urged for more investments and partnership in the Sanitation sector to meet development targets, as well as in maximising the country’s sanitation economy potential.
Speaking on the sanitation economy potential, the Vice President observed that “while the demand for sanitation services is being generated through the social and behaviour change communications approach of the Campaign, we also recognise the need to strengthen the supply side of the value chain and maximize the sanitation economy potential in the country.”
As he noted, “Only a few of these (potential) are being exploited and there is need to identify scalable approaches for their realisation. It is, therefore, important that we bring in innovation and new solutions to actualize this. That means providing an enabling environment that incentivises the Private Sector and promotes sustainability.”
The VP reiterated Nigeria’s commitment towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target for Sanitation, which seeks to “achieve by 2030, access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.”
“Our commitment is motivated by the realization that meeting our sanitation targets means meeting several other development targets, including the enhancement of social inclusion, poverty reduction, expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and expanding business growth and entrepreneurship,” he noted.
“It is this search for new ideas that informed our launch of a National Sanitation Innovations Challenge tagged ‘SANIC Competition’. The challenge is geared towards harnessing creative ideas and solutions towards ending open defecation, improving access to sustainable sanitation services and building the sanitation economy market in Nigeria. Winners of the challenge will be awarded prizes and we call on all stakeholders to support this initiative.”
Noting the flooding across many communities nationwide, which wreaked havoc on lives and properties, the VP said this demonstrated the urgent need to address the nation’s sanitation challenges.
“The President recently inaugurated a Presidential Committee on a Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster in Nigeria. The Committee is mandated to come up with sustainable solutions to address the perennial flooding in the country,” he said.
Prof. Osinbajo further emphasised the Federal Government’s commitment towards the development of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Sector (WASH), stating that this has been demonstrated through many initiatives championed and supported by the Buhari administration.
He highlighted some notable examples, including the declaration of a State of Emergency and implementation of the National Action Plan for the Revitalization of the Sector, the implementation of the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme, and the launch of the ‘Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet’ Campaign to end open defecation, which is backed by a Presidential Executive Order.
The VP also noted that “The drive to end open defecation through the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign is progressively gaining traction and accelerating access to sanitation services in the country with a total of 85 Local Government Areas LGA-wide Open Defecation Free status (ODF) recorded.
“We recently achieved a State-wide ODF status in Jigawa State, this is a commendable achievement that we hope will encourage action in other States. There are of course also other thousands of certified ODF communities across the country.”
Furthermore, the Vice President stated that “a coordination platform for private sector organizations working in the WASH sector known as Organized Private Sector in WASH (OPSWASH) was also established to ensure effective coordination of private sector interventions.
In separate goodwill messages at the event, the founder of the World Toilet Organization, Prof. Jack Sim; representatives of UNICEF; the Organized Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH); and other stakeholders, commended the Federal Government’s support and determination in attaining the open defecation free status in the shortest time possible.
Highlight of the occasion was the presentation of the National Open Defecation Free Achievement Awards and World Toilet Organisation Hall of Fame Awards to deserving States and individuals. Jigawa State was specially recognized for its efforts in attaining the ODF status in all its Local Government Areas.
The annual event, hosted by OPS-WASH, in partnership with World Toilet Organization, brings together policymakers, non-profit organizations, academics, and other sector leaders to address the global sanitation crisis.