Commercialisation of RBDAs will boost food production


From Uche Usim, Abuja

Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu has applauded the Federal Government’s decision to partially commercialise the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs), saying that move will aid in attracting investment for their rehabilitation and ultimately guarantee effective and efficient service delivery.

He noted that the RBDAs were strategic players in the actualisation of national food security, jobs and wealth creation through various agricultural activities, adding that the move would help in reinforcing their functions.

Inaugurating a nine-member Project Implementation Committee (PIC) for the partial commercialisation of four pilot RBDAs in the country in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister described the exercise as a golden opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the reform agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari through integrated River Basin Management ‘as a vehicle for enhancing food security, jobs and wealth creation as captured in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the Government.’

The four pilot RBDAs are Sokoto-Rima, Ogun-Oshun, Upper Niger River and Niger Delta River Basin Authority.

Adamu, who emphasised that the process was not the privatisation of the RBDAs’ assets, expressed happiness that the implementation of the processes leading to the partial commercialisation of the RBDAs commenced successfully with the appointment of a Transaction Adviser and conduct of a pilot study of four out of the 12 RBDAs to evaluate their critical assets and commercial viability towards partially commercialising them.

The Minister further hailed the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Transaction Adviser for their efforts and commitment towards achieving the partial commercialisation of the RBDAs to make them sustainable, while charging the TIC members to ensure a seamless discharge of their assignment.

In his brief remarks at the occasion, Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh noted that pursuing the partial commercialisation and introduction of PPP in some projects of the RBDAs would lead to the optimisation of the RBDAs’ assets and the key resource of water along the value chain of Agriculture, Irrigation, Small scale power generation and potable water for consumption.

Okoh, who gave the committee six months to complete its assignment, tasked members with the responsibility to; review the approved recommendations and the proposed implementation strategy by the Advisers for the partial commercialisation and introduction of PPP in some projects of the Pilot RBDAs; work out the modality and drive their implementation of the recommendations and monitor and review the implementation as well as make appropriate recommendations to the Minister.

Other duties assigned to them are to; advice on steps to be taken for the sustenance of the commercialisation and introduction of PPP in RBDAs; liaise with relevant stakeholders to ensure smooth and seamless implementation of the recommendations and recommend ways and means to ensure optimal utilisation of RBDA facilities

Also on the list are to; make recommendations to NCP and the Minister on ways to adopt the commercialisation and introduction of PPP implemented in the 4 Pilot RBDAs for the remaining RBDAs and lastly, make any other recommendation for the consideration of NCP and the Minister on the enhancement of the viability of the RBDAs and unlocking their potentials.

The nine-member committee is drawn from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, BPE and the four pilot RBDAs.

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