At last, public water to flow again in Rivers

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* As Governor signs 330,000 cubic meters water deal that may spill 6,200 jobs

By Codratus Godson

Rivers State was on the verge of flagging off a world class water system that would be regular and metered with collection agents all over the place. The system was to repay the loans used in establishing it, but political crisis that started in 2012 stalled it.

Detail:

The Rivers State Government has signed contracts for the rehabilitation and upgrading of water supply for Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local council areas, thereby reviving the loan deal that was abandoned long ago.

The project which will upgrade 496 kilometers of pipeline will produce 330,000 cubic meters of potable water per day, the government house said on Monday after signing the agreement with contactors.

In addition, the project would create 1,200 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs.

Speaking at the ceremony, Gov Nyesom Wike advised the  contractors handling the projects not to compromise the agreed standard.

Ibibia Walter signed on behalf of the Rivers State Government, Chen Kangle for CGC Nigeria limited, Yang Gengqi for Top International Engineering Corporation and Iskandar Taslakian signed for Mothercat Limited.

Gov Wike urged the contractors to mobilise to site preparatory for the expected project flag-off on the 1st of October, 2020.

“Let me warn, in Rivers State, we do not compromise with quality of work viz-a-viz timely delivery of contracts.

“I shall be visiting all project sites unannounced, to monitor progress and compliance with specification.

” I am requesting the African Development Bank (AFDB) that will finance the project to do so with 100 per cent cost of net of taxes.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented huge challenges, as the accruable revenues both to Federal Statutory Allocation and Internally Generated Revenue has dropped.

“The Commissioner of Water Resources and Rural Development and the Managing Director of Port Harcourt Water Corporation should engage AFDB with the view to get the Bank to finance 100 per cent of the cost of the project net of taxes.

“I am aware that the loan closing date is April 2021. I am directing the commissioner and the managing director to submit application to the Federal Ministry of Finance and AFDB to extend the duration of the loan by two years to enable full implementation of all components of the urban water sector reform.

“They should further engage AFDB with a view of restoring the works at Trans-Amadi, Abuloma, Woji and Elelenwo regrettably cancelled by other development partners, ” he stated.

Gov Wike assured that he would not hesitate to fully implement the PHWC restructuring and organisational build-out report when it is ready.

He pointed out that his administration has opened a new phase of commitment to reposition water supply serviced across the state.

Governor Wike noted that through the project thousands of Rivers people would be engaged directly and indirectly throughout the life span of the project.

Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Tamunosisi Gogo-Jaja, said the project would have four new devices reservoirs located at  Rumuola,  Diobu,  Moscow Road and Borikiri in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor.

The Commissioner said there would  be eight  elevated tanks with carrying capacity of about 1000 to 1500 cubic meters of water and about 17 boreholes in about six cluster areas connected to water treatment plants.

The plan in the previous administration which designed the project was to commercialise the water scheme through metered water taps around the city.

The Managing Director of Port Harcourt Water Corporation, Ibibia Walter, said his team worked assiduously within eight months to secure the contractors trusted to execute the project.

He thanked Governor Wike for his commitment to ensure that rural dwellers access potable water in the State.

Speaking for CGC Nigeria limited, Chen Kangle, who expressed gratitude to the governor for the trust in his company to handle the projects, assured of timely delivery.

Yang Gengqi who spoke for the Top International Engineering Corporation said they have been in Nigeria since 2017 and are confident to deliver a  quality project.

For Mothercat Limited, Iskandar Taslakian, pledged to engage indigenous workers on their sites.

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