The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed concerns over the country’s slow progress in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on sanitation.
During the National Workshop on Safely Managed Sanitation in Abuja, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, revealed that Nigeria is off-track and significantly lags behind in achieving the SDG on sanitation.
Highlighting the economic impact of poor sanitation, Prof. Utsev disclosed that Nigeria loses approximately $3 billion annually due to issues arising from the use of unsanitary or shared toilets and prevalent open defecation practices. These challenges contribute to economic losses and pose significant health risks to the population.
Despite the daunting challenges, the Minister assured that the government is taking proactive steps to address the situation. The National Workshop on Safely Managed Sanitation serves as a platform to discuss strategies and actions needed to improve sanitation management across the country.
The Sustainable Development Goal target 6.2 for sanitation aims to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030, with a specific focus on ending open defecation and addressing the needs of women, girls, and vulnerable populations.
Prof. Utsev emphasized that access to safely managed sanitation is not only a basic human right but also an essential foundation for social and economic development. However, progress toward achieving the SDG sanitation target is off-track, with only 46% of the Nigerian population having access to basic sanitation services, and 25% practicing open defecation.
To meet the SDG target by 2030, Prof. Utsev stated that Nigeria needs to make five times the current progress and triple its investment in the sector. The Federal Government is committed to realizing SDG 6 targets for sanitation, recognizing its significant contribution to national developmental goals, including food security, poverty alleviation, economic growth, job creation, and inclusivity.
The Minister also highlighted the opportunities across the sanitation value chain that could contribute to reducing healthcare costs, improving productivity, creating jobs, and fostering economic growth. The economic impact of poor sanitation, including health care costs, loss of productivity, premature deaths, and poor educational outcomes, underscores the urgency of addressing sanitation challenges in Nigeria.