Enugu gets $50m loan from France for water project

The French Development Agency (AFD) has granted a $50 million loan to the Enugu State government for water projects in the state.

Mr. Charles Egumgbe, commissioner for Water Resources, made this known in an interview with journalists in Enugu on Thursday.

Egumgbe explained that the loan would be repayable at an interest rate of 2.2 per cent while the state has a moratorium of seven to eight years and a minimum of 20 years to pay back.

Describing the proposed loan as more or less a grant, Egumbe noted that two other states, Plateau and Ondo, were selected by the French agency alongside Enugu as beneficiaries for the loan.

The commissioner said that Enugu State was doing everything possible to meet the conditions for accessing the loan including promulgating water laws and the establishment of a water regulatory agency, to meet international standards.

He blamed the current acute water shortage in Enugu on broken-down water pumps and epileptic electricity supply to the waterworks in the state from the national grid.

“The Oji River Water Augmentation was established by the Obasanjo administration to augment water from Ajalli. That scheme is having challenges. It was meant to rake in 50 cubic litres of water into Enugu.

“What we have presently is 6,000 cubic litres. The way it was established, it had two giant power generating sets. They have not functioned for the only reason that the manual was written in Chinese. They were looking for Chinese to read the manual. Up till now, it has not been done.

“As we speak, only about two pumps out of the seven pumps there are working. Today, power supply to the water scheme is a challenge. While we were trying to repair the water pumps, EEDC struck.

Without electricity, you cannot pump water. For every two hours you want to shoot water into town using generator, you spend about N2.5 million on diesel to shoot into town 4, 000 cubic metres, which you sell for about N200, 000 only.

“You can see that using diesel to pump water now makes no economic sense. As at the time the generators were brought, fuel was about N5 per litre. Today, it is N145 a litre.”

He regretted that the Ajalli Water Scheme, the biggest in the state, is quite old, having been built under the Jim Nwobodo administration, while during past administrations in the state, a lot was put down on paper but nothing was actually carried out.

Source: News Express.

*Photo shows Gov. Ugwuanyi.

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