Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, Governor of Gombe State, has stated that his administration will continue to strengthen mutual cooperation and partnership with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) and the World Bank in order to increase water supply to urban and rural communities in the state.
Yahaya stated this yesterday when he received a delegation from the World Bank, led by the World Bank’s Task Team Lead, Mr. Gérard Soppe, and the National Coordinator of the SURWASH, Mr. Abdulhamid Gwaram, at the Gombe Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, as part of high level engagements to canvass for developments that benefit the people of the state.
He described the relationship between Gombe State and the FMWR as a long standing one, which has seen the development of a clear link in the implementation of projects such as the PWASH, SURWASH and the regional water supply scheme among others.
The governor said: ” I am very happy to say that with what we did in Gombe so far and what you found there base on the arrangements that we had, at least I can say that a framework has been built on which we can now expand and work hard to meet our target.”
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He said his administration, in conjunction with the FMWR, is working hard to link both the rural and the urban settlements in Gombe State with water, sanitation and hygiene.
The governor added that his administration has approved the payment of its obligations to the project since a framework has been put in place.
Yahaya disclosed that Gombe State has done credibly well on fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability, which have placed the state ahead of its equals.
He said: “By the situation we find ourselves, we have no option than to look for anyone that will partner with us so that we can improve on our general conditions and situations in Gombe State and I am sure for this one, we shall leave up to expectations and beat all the deadlines.”
He expressed confidence that with the team of crack professionals working in his administration, especially in urban water supply, the collaboration to deliver on the projects for the benefit of the people of the state would be successful.
“We have a challenge, especially with the rural water supply. I know the African Development Bank (AfDB) has some setbacks in this regard but I know that of the World Bank will be different and Gombe is ready to key in,” he said.
He assured that his administration would not relent on its resolve to partner with any government or non-governmental organisations for the benefit of the people of the state.
Earlier, the World Bank’s Task Team Lead, Soppe, has commended Governor Yahaya for mustering the political will to implement the SURWASH project in Gombe State, and assured that his institute would support Gombe and other pilot states to ensure efficient functioning of the results-based structure of the SURWASH programme.
The national coordinator of SURWASH, Gwaram, had earlier explained that the $700 million project was initiated by the federal government in partnership with the World Bank to provide protection for human health, supporting economic growth in the short, mid and long-terms for sustainable, inclusive economic recovery that would improve livelihood of the poor and the vulnerable.
He said that the programme, which would run for six years, became effective from January this year and is expected to usher reforms in governance and service provision through increased access to drinking water and sanitation services and construction and rehabilitation of WASH infrastructure.
He added that the programme would operate in Gombe and six other states of the country.
“SURWASH will provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services. The programme will deliver improved water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities and assist 500 communities to achieve open defecation free status,” he said.
The meeting was attended by the Commissioner of Water Resources, Hon. Mijinyawa Yahaya; Special Adviser on Budget Planning and Development Partners Coordination, Dr. Ishiyaku Mohammed, and the Gombe State Project Coordinator of SURWASH, Mr. Usman Abubakar Aliyu.