The Federal Government has introduced a plan to reduce the level of open defecation in Nigeria.
The plan was presented on Tuesday in Abuja during an event marking the World Toilet Day 2023 with the theme, ‘Accelerating Change’.
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev stressed the value of stakeholder ownership and teamwork in his speech at the ceremony, emphasizing the need to move quickly on initiatives that promote a healthier and cleaner environment.
He highlighted the ministry’s commitment to maximizing the WASH sector’s social and economic benefits.
Utsev also discussed the creation of a national WASH policy and a specific national sanitation marketing strategy aimed at advancing the sanitation industry’s supply side.
In addition to continuing attempts to develop novel financial mechanisms, the minister revealed plans to identify bankable sanitation projects with diverse returns to attract investments.
The minister said that the actions will lessen the risks associated with private investment in the sanitation subsector.
Recognizing that improved access to sanitary services affects citizens’ standard of living and overall quality of life, Utsev reaffirmed the government’s commitment to this goal.
Speaking to sanitation as a vital public health issue, he presented findings from a 2012 World Bank study that showed how poor sanitation practices have a startling negative economic impact, costing Nigeria an estimated N455 billion annually.
The minister underlined the incalculable social consequences of inadequate sanitation, which include diminished privacy and dignity as well as a heightened susceptibility to physical assault and violence, which disproportionately affect women and girls.
“The comprehensive approach not only addresses the economic ramifications, but also underscores the broader social and public health imperative for a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous Nigeria,’’ he said.