Equal to the task: financing for a state of emergency in Nigeria's WASH sector

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Finance, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene
Gallons of water lined up for sale in the Garki Village Primary Health Centre which is required because of lack of clean water supply to the centre. Abuja, Nigeria
Image: WaterAid/ Simi Vijay

In this report we consider the financing challenges facing the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in Nigeria. Based on research and analysis from Development Initiatives, the report highlights past human development progress made by Nigeria in the WASH sector and the challenges facing the country over the coming decade. These include the capability of key institutions; the availability of relevant data; power deficits and outages; and limited equity and sustainability in the delivery of services. The growing population, rapid urbanisation and climate change add to the challenges facing the Nigerian authorities at federal, state and local levels.

These challenges led to President Muhammadu Buhari declaring a state of emergency in the WASH sector in 2018 and launching the National Action Plan (NAP) for the Revitalisation of Nigeria’s WASH Sector. In the report we analyse the NAP and consider the key steps necessary for its success and for Nigeria to get on track towards achieving universal access to sustainable and safely managed WASH services by 2030, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water (Goal 6.1) and sanitation (Goal 6.2).

We recommend several key actions to support the delivery of the NAP, including: improving access and budget data availability and transparency; tackling financial absorption constraints; addressing the problems relating to operations and maintenance (currently undermining the sustainability of services); making more equitable allocations of existing funding (by state, local government area etc.); strengthening the enabling environment for the public and private sectors; involving civil society to strengthen transparency and accountability; and mobilising a ten-fold increase in resources from the Government and donors.