The Cross River State Government has lost five million United State Dollars (US$5m) over non payment of N104m counterpart fund.
The US$5m was to be used for funding of activities that include provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene, capacity strengthening, delivery of medicines, integration of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), surveillance and data management.
Addressing a press conference in Calabar, the Chairman of Society for Water and Sanitation Network, Mr Tony Kekong lamented the attitude of the government and regretted that with the non payment of the counterpart fund, the state may be exposed to outbreak of water-borne diseases in the three local government areas of the state.
Kekong said the success of the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) program was reason for the reduction in sanitation related diseases.
“These efforts are not only contributing to improved health but also improved education and economic indices in the state.
“Nigeria is a signatory to the UN-inspired Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Program which succeeded the MDGs with water and sanitation as the main focus of Goal 6.
“It is also on record that Nigeria ranks as the third open defecation country in the world after India and China.
“We wish also to draw the attention of the Cross River State Government to the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which it signed with the funding agency, WSSCC and the Federal Government to expand and scale-up the program in three additional local government areas, Obudu, Akamkpa and Ogoja; disappointingly, the counterpart fund has not been released thereafter”, he alleged.
The group called on Governor Ben Ayade to hasten up and ensure that the counterpart fund was released with a view to controlling impending waterborne diseases in the state.
The state according to him was to contribute N104million as her counterpart fund to enable it draw the money for the project.
“Sadly, the deadline set by the federal ministry of water resources, the coordinating body for the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) for the payment of the first tranche counterpart fund elapsed on September 30th 2017″, he added.