REALLY? “Nigeria Loses $3 Billion Annually To Poor Sanitation” – Federal Government

The country is reportedly falling behind and is categorized among those significantly lagging in this crucial domain.


Prof. Joseph Utsev, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, disclosed this information during the National Workshop on Safely Managed Sanitation conducted in Abuja on Tuesday.

Prof. Utsev highlighted the severe economic impact of poor sanitation, revealing that Nigeria loses approximately $3 billion annually due to issues arising from the use of unsanitary or shared toilets and the prevalent practice of open defecation.

These sanitation challenges contribute to economic losses and pose significant health risks to the population.


Despite these daunting challenges, the Minister assured that the government is taking proactive steps to address the situation.

The National Workshop on Safely Managed Sanitation is a platform to discuss strategies and actions needed to improve sanitation management across the country.

He said:-

“The Sustainable Development Goal target 6.2 for sanitation seeks to ‘achieve by 2030, access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.’

“We acknowledge that access to safely managed sanitation is not just a basic human right, but an essential foundation for social and economic development.

“With only six years to the SDG target date of 2030, progress on achieving the global SDG sanitation target of safely managed services is off-track and regrettably among those furthest behind.”

According to Utsev, this came with high disparities in access across wealth quintiles and locations.

He added:-

“In Nigeria, only about half of the population (46 per cent) has access to basic sanitation services and about a quarter are practising open defecation, with only 18 per cent of the population having access to safely managed services.

“Achieving the SDG target 6.2 will, therefore, require us to make five times the current progress and triple our investment in the sector.

“The Federal Government is committed to the actualisation of the SDG 6 target for Sanitation, and our commitment is motivated by the realisation that it would contribute significantly to the achievement of our national developmental goals and the key priority areas of this government.”

He outlined some priority areas, including food security, ending poverty, economic growth, job creation, and inclusivity.

Utsev noted that the opportunities across the sanitation value chain could contribute to a reduction in healthcare costs, improved productivity, job creation and economic growth.

On the cost implication of poor sanitation, the Minister said:-

“The World Bank report in 2012 on the economic impact of poor sanitation due to the use of unsanitary or shared toilets and open defecation cost Nigeria an estimated N455bn, equivalent to $3bn in losses annually, with open defecation accounting for a third of this amount.

“These costs include health care, loss of productivity, premature deaths and poor educational outcomes. Social costs of open defecation which cannot be quantified in monetary terms include loss of dignity, lack of privacy and increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence especially for women and girls.”

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