By Maxwell Adeleye
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday said his administration remains committed to bridging the daily deficit of potable water in the State without inflicting tax burden on the people, just as he revealed that huge investments have been made in the sector in the last 23 months.
Speaking at Lagos House in Ikeja when he received a delegation from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its President, Dr Frank Udemba Jacobs, Governor Ambode said the State requires about 720 million gallons of water per day, but currently has capacity to produce 210million leaving a deficit of about 500 million gallons.
It would be recalled that the present administration since assumption of office had intensified investments in the water sector especially by putting measures in place to revamp the 48 Mini Water Works across the State to produce at hundred per cent, while works on the Adiyan Major Water Works had reached advanced stage.
The Governor said ever since coming on board, conscious efforts have been made towards improving on the business environment by investing in critical sectors such as infrastructure, security, traffic management, among others, saying that investment in the water sector too had been huge.
He said: “Just like every other infrastructure that we are trying to create in the city, water is one of them and obviously it is clear that we have a deficit. The city actually needs a minimum of 720million gallons of water per day and right now, there is a shortfall of almost about 500million and so our investment in water sector is continuous and very deep.
“The truth is that despite being surrounded by water, the infrastructure that drives the water to become a drinkable item is huge and we do not want to tax people to death and at the same time within the limited resources in a recession, we are faced with that challenge of wanting to redistribute the limited resources in the various sectors and sometimes the gap is yet to be filled in that sector.
“I do recognize the fact that we need to be on top of our game in terms of providing water and I also recognize the fact that we are not yet in a place where we ought to be but again, we must understand that within that shortcoming, government tries as much as possible to find a way to create laws or create an enabling environment to allow water to be available everywhere,” Governor Ambode said.
While responding to enquiries by the delegation on charges on water, Governor Ambode said the intention of laws regulating the water sector was not to bring any inconvenience to the people, and that government would be willing to put measures in place to resolve any issue amicably with the aim of making businesses to continue to operate in the State.
The Governor also reiterated his commitment to continue to engage with the private sector through various platforms as well as the Corporate Assembly which the State had already put in place to interface with the business community.
Earlier, MAN President (Jacobs) said the delegation was at Lagos House to further build on the existing cordial relationship with the State Government.
Jacobs commended Governor Ambode over his untiring and exemplary efforts at making Lagos the centre of excellence especially in areas of infrastructural transformation, adding that the investments had greatly helped to create conducive environment for the manufacturing sector to thrive in the State.
He said: “We applaud Governor Ambode’s policies and programmes and pledge to continue to work with government in moving the State forward.”
Governor Ambode, who also received Mr. Edward Kallon, UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Residential Representative in Nigeria, said as the fifth largest economy in Africa, his administration would collaborate with necessary organizations such as UN to scale up the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), adding that his plan for the State is to emerge as the third largest economy within the next three to five years.