Principal Consultant, Bilvisco Investments Ltd, Williams Omojasola has said that the Osara Water Distribution Project, sited in Kogi Central Senatorial District, would generate over 1000 direct employment for Nigerians.
Speaking to newsmen at a media parley held recently in Lagos, Omojasola stated that the project would cost about N20 billion, noting that Bilvisco has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kogi State government.
According to him, the partnership with the state government would eradicate the critical water crises in the district, and provide cheap potable water to the people.He said: “We went into a preliminary study of what the water crisis is all about and we discovered that the people of Kogi Central actually need a very urgent intervention in terms of provision of potable water to take care of the water crises.
“We got our local partner here, Advance Engineering Consultants, to carry out a study on the water situation and submitted a preliminary report to the government, which was approved by Kogi State Ministry of Water Resources.“We also launched out and brought a group of interested investors from South Africa, Turkey, Germany and Saudi Arabia to invest in the project.He noted that the project would solve the problem of acute water shortage being faced by the people of Kogi Central, where women wake up as early as 4am to trek several miles in search of water.
However, Omojasola noted that the water would be channelled from an existing dam called Osara Dam located at Itakpe area of the district, with a pipeline of about 55 to 60 kilometres and 45 kilometres, of the distribution network.He said the project would take about two years to complete, noting that Bilvisco would bring in a team of civil and water engineers from Germany to carry out a further assessment in preparation for the project commencement.
Speaking on how to recuperate their funds, Omojasola said: “From the agreement we had with the state government, we are to build, finance, operate, and then transfer it back to the state government.“We are to recoup our funds through a programme we call the User Charge Mode (UCM), where we charge beneficiaries through the use of meters as they use water.
“We believe this is the first metered water project in the country and we are looking at an alternative source of energy because we don’t want to depend on the national grid. We intend to use renewable energy to power the plant.”
In his remarks, Director, Logistics Operations, Bilvisco, Tajudeen Bello said the technology to be used for the project is top-notch and would still be in good condition after 25 years when they would hand the project over to the government.
He noted that Bilvisco’s agreement with the government was for the firm to operate the project for 25-year to recover their funds.
He maintained that the project would serve over one million people and Bilvisco plans to subsidize the cost of access to potable water for the poor.He reiterated that the project would generate great employment opportunities for locals, as 70 per cent of the workforce would be sourced locally and only 30 per cent would be expatriates.
Meanwhile, he disclosed plans that Bilvisco would also move to Kebbi State, to develop fishponds in many local governments of the state.His words: “We look forward to Kebbi State being the highest fish breeding state in West Africa. We have experts, as well who are into fishing that would take care of that.
“We are also discoursing with Kano State government. We have carried out a technical survey of the water situation in Kano as well. By the time we are done with Kogi Central, we should respond to the water situation in Kano as well.“Also, as a form of corporate responsibility, we are going to sponsor youths in Kogi Central that are interested in water management in terms of education.”