Governor Nasir El Rufai has thanked the Federal Ministry of Finance for approving a refund of N17.32bn to Kaduna state for capital expenses it had spent on the Zaria Water Project. He also hailed the project for ending water scarcity in the city by restoring public water supply after three decades.
The Governor who made this known on Thursday at the commissioning of Phase II of the Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project, which was held in Zaria, also praised the Federal Government for supporting the project.
The project which comprised the Transmission Mains, Service Reservoirs, Booster Stations and Distribution System, was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Governor El Rufai reminded the president that Phase I of the Project was earlier commissioned on 27th May 2017, by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the then national chairman of the All Progressives Congress(APC).
According to him, the new 150 million litres per day Zaria Water Treatment Plant was solely funded by the Kaduna State Government.
El Rufai also pleaded with the Federal Government to refund an additional N24.4bn to Kaduna state government, promising that the refund will be ploughed back into the Greater Kaduna Water Supply Project.
“While we await receipt of this N17.32bn refund, I wish to appeal to Mr. President to approve that Kaduna State be refunded the full sum of N24.4bn from federal coffers. These refunds will be ploughed back into the Greater Kaduna Water Supply Project,” he added.
The governor revealed that the Kaduna State Government, the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank have together spent N81.3bn on the Zaria Water Supply and Expansion Project.
According to him, Kaduna state government funded Water Treatment Plant at the cost of N24,697,247,405.99 and funded Consultancy Services for Water Treatment Plant at N914,100,251.91. El Rufai further said that Africa Development Bank(AfDB) funded the rehabilitation and construction of water and sanitation facilities at the cost of $101m at the exchange rate of $1 to N306.50, translating to N30,956,500,000.00.
The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) funded the construction of water facilities at the cost of $81m, amounting to N24,826,500,000.00, the governor added.
El Rufai who described the Federal Government as an indispensable partner for large water projects, pointed out that if it “did not construct Galma Dam, there would be no Zaria Water Project.”
The governor disclosed that the Federal Government had spent N11.80bn spent on the construction of Galma Dam, urging the FG to construct the Itisi dam so that it the Kaduna State Government can execute the Greater Kaduna Water Project.
“We are designing the Greater Kaduna Water Supply Project to expand water supply in our state capital. This could cost up to USD 600m. There is no doubt that once again, we would require collaboration with our development partners to realise this aspiration.
“A primary condition for the Greater Kaduna Water Supply Project is the construction of Itisi Dam by the Federal Government,” Governor El Rufai told the president.
The governor described the commissioning of Phase II of the Zaria Water Project as another milestone in reversing the shortage of water in Zaria and ending the pain endured by the residents of the city.
“Anyone younger than 30 years who resides in Zaria has probably never seen water flow from the public grid. Thanks to the completion of the new water treatment plant in 2017 and the construction of transmission and distribution infrastructure that is being commissioned today, what was once a dream is now reality,’’ he said.
El Rufai disclosed that Kaduna state government made savings of about USD30M in implementing the project. “These savings are to be used to extend the transmission and distribution pipeline to Soba local government area, due to the advantage of proximity to Sabon-Gari local government,’’ he promised.
El Rufai congratulated the contractors and consultants that have helped complete Phases I and II of the Zaria Water Supply and Expansion Project.
The governor also praised former Vice-President Namadi Sambo who initiated this project and negotiated its financing when he was Governor of Kaduna State.
“That his immediate successors allowed the project to stall cannot diminish or erase his efforts to make it happen. In recognition of his contribution, we invited him to the commissioning of 150MLD Water Treatment Plant in 2017,’’ he added.
El Rufai also thanked His Highness, the Emir of Zazzau, Dr. Shehu Idris, “for his role as an advocate of this project. Through the long night of severe water shortage, he campaigned for this project whenever prominent persons visited him.’’
He called on the people of Zaria and its environs to help in safeguarding this multi-billion naira infrastructure investment, adding that they “should ensure that we protect all the structures and equipment from vandalisation.’’