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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Bill seeks to establish environmental fund, tax polluting companies

A bill aiming to establish an Act to create the Environmental Fund and to tax companies engaged in exploitation, pollution or utilisation of environmental resources is presently receiving the attention of the National Assembly.

Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi
Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi

Sponsored by Sulaiman Abubakar Gumi (Gummi/Bukkuyum Federal Constituency), a member of the House of Representatives, “A Bill for an Act to establish the Environmental Trust Fund charged with the responsibility for, Imposing the Tax, Managing and Disbursing the Funds for Environmental Restoration, Rehabilitation, Conservation, Research and Education and Other Related Matters” appears to be a measure being put in place to address environmental degradation.

“Issues of environmental degradation stare right into our faces ranging from pollution, deforestation, erosion, effects of climate change etc. Overall, the attendant effects of climate change conditions mean that we ought to protect the environment graciously so as to secure a future earth that would continue to adequately host man,” said Gumi, an engineer.

According to him, government has established several means of addressing environmental degradation which have had limited as, according to the lawmaker, corrective measures have not matched the fast eroding levels of the environment.

“Several international conventions and treaties have been enacted to encourage nations to identify ways and means of providing new and additional financial resources particularly to developing countries for environmentally sound development projects in accordance with national development plans. Recurring advocacy in a bid to addressing environmental issues all point towards establishing Environmental Funds as legal entities to provide long term financing for environmental management activities,” he added.

Simply known as “Environmental Tax Fund Bill, 2019”, the bill is divided into five parts.

Essentially, it seeks to impose a tax on environmental degradation factors and empowers the Federal Inland Revenue Service to assess and collect such tax.

The bill proposes the establishment and composition of the environmental trust fund and management board, while explaining the purpose of the fund, which is to encourage and support the restoration and rehabilitation of projects in both the public and the private sectors that will or are likely to prevent or reduce pollution or environmental degradation, of any kind.

“Having established the fact that government would continuously encounter problems for financing the mitigation of environmental problems, there is no gainsaying that the establishment of a Trust Fund to help generate funding in this regard is not out of place. The current global action targeted towards the environment further strengthens this argument.

“The Trust Fund will help cater and strengthen already existing efforts including providing funding for their activities as well research and innovation in the sector. Trust Funds are naturally self-sustaining as such, its establishment may not be of huge financial burden to cost of governance especially in relation to its objectives.

“In view of the above, there is no gainsaying the fact that the Environmental Trust Fund sought in this Bill shall help to alleviate the funding gap currently confronting the achievement of efforts geared towards to addressing environmental challenges in the country,” submitted Gumi.

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