By: Prudence Okonna
The General Manager (GM), Federal Capital Territory Water Board (FCTWB), Olanike Korede Ajanaku says it has plans to operate independently of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) from being a government body to being a private corporate entity following the 2017 Act that allows it.
At a seminar organized by the FCTWB in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Abuja, to wrap up its Water Supply Business Advisor Project, Ajanaku said the project was to help the Board build enough capacity to operate on its own as a cooperate body.
The GM added that, as part of the Board’s efforts to build capacity, it had to understudy the Water and Sanitation Agency Kigali (WASAK), which it did by traveling to Kigali, Rwanda to understand how it was able to migrate into a corporate body from a government agency.
Explaining the milestones achieved during the Water Supply Business Advisor Project life span, Ajanaku said the introduction of the Smart billing system which is automated has improved service delivery, the meter reading Application now has a map and there is a scale-up from Proof of Concept (POC1) to (POC2), adding that the system in place ultimately provides more security for the data belonging to the FCTWB.
‘’According to her, The ACT from 2017 has made FCT Water Board to be autonomous but we have not been able to implement it, we are gradually moving to implement it, and they are agreeing to it but they don’t want a situation where we will go and we cannot manage ourselves and we return, so, they want to really plan very well before we disengage finally. For us to disengage, we have to look at our revenue generation, can we pay our salaries, it is now going to be strictly business and not the government trying to spoon-feed us, so that is what we are trying to do.’’
The chief representative of JICA, Miyoshi Hiroki, said they dispatched different advisory to the FCT Water board; first, they supported in the area of addressing the challenge of non-revenue water but have moved on to start supporting in the area of business development so that FCTWB can operate autonomously.
Hiroki added that his team provided not only training but advisory in terms of technical assistance.
‘’If they can reduce non-revenue water, they can increase the revenue of the organization like a revolving fund. We needed to support their activity for them to generate their own revenue.’’ He added.
The Seminar presentations provided an avenue to x-ray the progress made in the different sectors of the board’s operations such as automation of the billing system to monitor real-time the meters of customers which will help the board see the improvement and upgrades made as customers respond.
It also highlighted some of the challenges to include illegal water connections and uneven distribution of water in some areas caused by low pressure, which the Board said the Greater Abuja Water project will address.
The Water supply business Advisory project which began in 2019 ought to have been completed in 2021 but was delayed due to the covid-19 pandemic