Governors Unite On Controversial Water Resources Bill

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Governors of the 36 States have resolved to present a common position on the controversial National Water Resources Bill 2020 after a review by their Attorneys General and Executive Councils.

The resolution was contained in a communiqué released on Thursday at the end of the 17th Teleconference Meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Water Resources Bill is untimely

Opposition thickens over Water Resources Bill
The communiqué signed by the NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State read in part: “Forum members while commending the Minister of Water Resources for taking an integrated approach on water resource management as a national good, resolved that the proposed Bill and other relevant laws including the River Basins Development Authorities Act 2004; the Natural Water Resources Act 2004; and the Nigeria Hydrological Resources Act 2004 will be reviewed by their Attorneys General and Executive Councils of States after which a common position of States will be presented to Water Resources.”

Before the decision, the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu had briefed the Forum on the National Water Resources Bill 2020.

The Minister stressed that the basic philosophy behind the Bill is to integrate water resources management in the country by bringing all laws related to water resources management into one consolidated code.

He said that the new bill which is consistent with the Land Use Act will promote equitable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface and groundwater resources.

Members of the forum resolved to hail the World Bank for facilitating ongoing activities geared towards accelerating the uptake of the CARES programme during the COVID-19 period and meet with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the terms of the program.

The World Bank Country Director, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri in the company of the Bank’s Lead Specialist on the Nigeria CARES Program, Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa had provided an update on Nigeria’s COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Programme for Results at the meeting.

The program objective is to fund investments at the State level aimed at protecting livelihoods and food security for vulnerable families and facilitating economic recovery for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

The Bank called for greater support for State Focal Persons and the institutions responsible for implementing the program, including the Social Safety Net, the Community and Social Development Agencies (CSDA), and the FADAMA and SME platforms.

Governors were also called to establish a State CARES Coordination Unit in their Ministries of Budget and Planning to ensure proper coordination with other ministries, departments and agencies.

The governors also agreed to schedule a more intensive session on economic management with their Commissioners of Finance and Budget and Planning, following the presentation of Bismarck Rewane, member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).

Rewane had made a presentation on managing state economies: challenges, opportunities and policy solutions for State governments.

The presentation highlighted the deteriorating economic condition in the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and called for an informed response from governments to steer the country to a v-shaped economic recovery in 2021.

At the meeting, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, provided updates on behalf of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, in his brief, highlighted the role of government in monitoring controls as the country welcomes international travellers.

This, the governor said, includes the requirement for travellers to present credible COVID-19 PCR test results in order to safeguard the health of the populace

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