The Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Adamu, has inaugurated a seven-man committee with a mandate to develop a blueprint that will transform the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) in the country, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Adamu said that little or no achievement had been recorded since the river basin authorities were set up in 1976, owing to policy inconsistencies and reversals, among other factors. He added that the River Basin Development Authorities ,regrettably, have been unable to achieve their full potential due to policy in consistencies and reversals over the years.
The RBDAs have witnessed various changes in mission, organisational structure and manpower settings, often without the required legal instruments and these challenges made them not to deliver their respective mandates over the years.
Adamu said that a total of 148 dams have been built by the RBDAs nationwide with a combined reservoir capacity of 9.8billion cubic metres for various beneficiary users, but mostly for irrigation and water supply purposes. That only 15 per cent of the 3.1 million hectares of irrigable land is equipped with facilities for all-year-round farming in this country.
He further said some other challenges of the RBDAs include funding inadequacy, causing investment gaps, obsolete plant and equipment, operation and maintenance challenges and stressed the need for the river basin authorities to function efficiently after they have undergone the desired transformation.
The Minister revealed that the ministry had developed a ten-point action plan aimed at strengthening the river basins in a way that they would deliver on their mandate of integrated rural development in the country.He urged the committee members to identify immediate infrastructural and other investment needs that will enable the river basins to deliver on their mandate.
He also expressed optimism that the new blueprint will help reposition the 12 RBDAs so as to meet the demands of the new agricultural revolution for the country.
Responding on behalf other members, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Nurudeen Rafindadi, pledged that members will brainstorm on the viable ways to reposition the river basins. He said that the performance to be recorded in the ministry and in the water sector would be largely due to the activities of the RBDAs.
Other committee members are: Ibrahim Musa, Jimoh Afolayan, Muhammad Hadeija, Tauheed Amusan, Sixtus Abetianbe, and Musa Ibrahim.