Lagos State Government has said it has no plan to privatize the State Water Corporation.
State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare made the clarification yesterday while responding to rumour making round that the government is partnering financial institution to sell the corporation.
Adejare said rather than privatizing, the state government would be partnering with the private sector to build water works under a Public Private Partnership arrangement in which the private sector partner would build and charge reasonable amount.
According to him, “I want to say categorically that we are not privatizing Lagos State Water Corporation. I want that to be clear to every Lagos residents. We know it is expensive to build water treatment plants. We are currently constructing on Adiyan II. Already, we have Adiyan Water Treatment Plant I already working.
“We also have Iju working. We have Isasi working. We just finished one at Ikota Ikosi. We have other mini water works. But we are building Adiyan II. Initially, the Adiyan II project was N54 billion. But foreign exchange crisis has pushed it to over N64 billion. This is huge cost for the state government to bear alone.
“Due to cost implication and foreign exchange crisis, we plan to work with private concern. Some private interests want to come and build the plant with their money. When they complete the plan, they will charge very sensible rate. But we will sit down and negotiate the rate with them. We are also going into contract with them. Our arrangement will be under public-private partnership (PPP). We are not privatizing water supply in the state. We have not finished Adiyan II. We are vigorously pursuing the completion of the Adiyan II project”.
This move, he said became necessary as the cost of building single water works had skyrocketed due to the exchange rate volatility, whereas government has limited resources with competing needs across sectors.
“We cannot afford to stick to the status-quo as we are battling with vector-borne diseases and we need to sort out the issue of appropriate pricing. Currently Water Corporation charges 5k per liter against N100 per liter charged by the local water vendor,” Adejare said.
He said aside the Adiyan Phase II waterworks, the state government was also looking to build another water treatment plant at Lagos East senatorial district, disclosing that “the State Executive Council recently approved the first one we are going to construct.
“That is the one we will use as a model for others. That is Odomola II water treatment plant. It will supply water to Victoria Island, Lekki, Ajah, Ibeju and Epe among others. We are going to get water from Osun River.”
While restating the policy of Lagos State Government on cleaner and sustainable environment, the Commissioner said government was committed to the removal of all environmental infractions and would not relent in bringing about a sustainable environment as well as a livable state to enhance aesthetically beautiful state.
Adejare said that the State Government was committed to achieving well-organised markets where sellers, goods and services will be sectorised.
According to him, “this will eliminate the belief and tendency that it is when goods are sold on the streets and on setbacks that selling can be achieved”.
He also reaffirmed the policy of zero tolerance on street trading and hawking in the state, warning violators of the state’s environmental laws to desist or incur the wrath of the law.
He stated that no one was permitted to convert the roads, medians, set-backs and walkways into markets, warning that the activities of street traders and hawkers were degrading the environment.