Organised Private Sector, Lagos Govt Reaches Agreement After Stalemate On Water Regulation

Following a protracted stalemate over the regulation of water abstraction, licensing and permits, the Organised Private Sector (OPS), made up of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), among others, has finally agreed to comply with the State Government’s resolve to regulate and sanitise the water sector for environmental sustainability and access to water in line with the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal Six.

The Executive Secretary of Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LSWRC), Mrs. Funke Adepoju, who revealed this in a statement on Wednesday said with the development, the Commission is now strategically positioned to enforce the provisions of the law towards ensuring the safety of residents in terms of safe water consumption and also protecting the environment.

She said, “Pursuant to the Lagos State Environmental Management and Protection Law (2017), the LSWRC is empowered to regulate, control and monitor abstraction, production, distribution, consumption, supply and use of water quantity as well as the quality of service”.

“For about three years, the OPS had vehemently opposed regulation of abstraction, licensing and permit for operators in the water sector. However, after series of meetings and concessions, the body has now decided to collaborate with the State government”, she added.

Speaking further on the development, Adepoju thanked the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his magnanimity that gave rise to the amicable resolution of the opposition to the issues of regulation of water abstraction and commended the leadership and members of the OPS, especially MAN, NECA and NACCIMA.

Her words: “Mr. Governor, recognises the huge contribution of the OPS to the economy of Lagos and thus to encourage businesses, he has granted concessions as requested by the OPS on charges relating to water abstraction, licensing and permits”.

“This is a clear demonstration of the commitment of Mr. Governor to protecting businesses and encouraging them to thrive, especially with post-COVID-19 and its attendant effects on the economy. Big credit also goes to MAN, NECA, NACCIMA and other associations under the umbrella of the Organised Private Sector for agreeing to support the State government’s quest to sanitise the water industry and facilitate the improvement of integrated water resource management”, the Executive Secretary stated.

She recalled the pledge by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello at the Y2020 Lagos Water Conference, where he alluded to the enthronement of the regulatory regime in the water sector as one of the environmental regeneration programmes of the current administration designed to create a safe, healthy and conducive environment for residents.

Adepoju explained that all issues around water abstraction, collection of licenses and permits for all stakeholders in the water sector, especially those using water for in-process, those abstracting more than 10,000 litres/day, Housing estates/facilities with more than tenement of 50, bottled and sachet water producers, commercial premises, among others, have now been amicably resolved.
She said in view of the need to safeguard the health of residents and protect the environment, the Monitoring and Enforcement Unit of the Commission would intensify its activities in order to ensure that operators comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and producers engage in wholesome practices, while at the same time ensuring the financial viability of the sector.

On the other hand, the absence of regulation, according to her, portends great danger for the availability of potable water and protection of the environment.

“All these form the basis of the interest of the State Government, through the LSWRC, to regulate the activities of operators in the sector, and it is gratifying that the State government and the OPS are now pursuing a common goal on this issue”, Adepoju said.

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