According to Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia, water ‘is vital for all known forms of life’. Accordingly, it is used for drinking, washing, preparation of food, industrial application, sanitation, transport etc.
Interestingly, the Imo State Water Corporation was established in 1995 with the promulgation of the Imo State Water Corporation Edict 35 thereby becoming a government parastatal saddled with the responsibility of providing water for the entire citizens of the state. Presently, it receives monthly grant in the form of water rates from government which is mostly used in paying staff salaries and other incidental expenses in the corporation. Also, the supervising ministry, Ministry of Puplic Utilities and Rural Development buys diesel, chemical for water treatment and pays its PHCN electricity bills for the corporation every month.
However, for a very long time now, public water supply in the state has been very poor. This is because of increase in human population especially in Owerri metropolis, dilapidation of many water works, use of old equipment, damaged water pipelines and inability of the corporation to expand its water generation and capacity. Other problems confronting the corporation are that many of its staff look demoralized, senile, unqualified and seem to lack positive approach to work. Furthermore, due to inefficiency in water production and distribution, many subscribers in the state find it very difficult to pay water rates. This has also made the corporation not to generate reasonable fund from subscribers. Consequently, it does not remit any fund to the government after every monthly business. Therefore, the corporation can no longer meet up with the high rate of water demand by the public thereby forcing many to now rely on private water bore-holes. A visit to the corporation therefore shows that it really needs total overhaul for efficient service delivery.
Generally, policy formulation is for the political class to do while its implementation is left for the public service. One of the characteristics of the public service is obedience to government policies. Therefore, every government has its own policy and it is for the public service to cue in accordingly.
However, the responsibility for the success or failure of policies formulated lies on the political class.
The people of the state through heir votes at the polls have entrusted the state Governor His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha with their political mandate based on the trust they have in him. The rest is now is for the governor to justify the mandate through policies that will bring development to the people.
Be that as it may, it is no longer news that the Governor’s Rescue Mission Agenda includes privatization and commercialization of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in Imo State. Therefore, in line with the said policy which is aimed at improving service delivery by MDAs and make them less dependant on state government treasury, the present state government late last year, signed a memorandum of understanding with a South African firm known as the West African Utilities Metering System and Services Limited for the take over of the management of the water schemes in the state. Accordingly, it is aimed at ensuring effective generation and distribution of water in the state.
It is very obvious that with the policy, the usual unnecessary bureaucratic bottle-necks will be minimized while redundancy and lazy approach to work which is prevalent in the state public service may give way to proper use of staff for optimum output. Other things that may give way include, the age-long misappropriation and embezzlement of fund, cutting down on unnecessary expenditures while many loopholes wherein public fund ‘disappear’ from will be blocked. With the new arrangement, government has assured Imo citizens of steady and more effective water supply in the state. Recently, the present state government through the Ministry of Public Utilities did a lot of reticulations on the water schemes in the state whereby the old AC water pipes where replaced with the PVC type. Already, this has improved water flow even to areas water had not flowed in the past years.
However, we are aware that it is always difficult for humans beings to adjust to transformational policies. ‘You can’t make an omelet without the breaking of egg’.
Therefore, the vision and policy of the governor in this respect must be supported and encouraged for him to transform the state to a greater height because Imo must be better.
Barr Emperor Nnabuihe Iwuala