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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Labour, CSOs want part of budget dedicated to climate fund

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and civil society organisations (CSOs) have advocated for 0.5 per cent of the national budget be dedicated to the climate change fund.

Bukola Saraki Elected Senate President
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki

The groups stated this recently in Abuja while making their submission at the public hearing on the Climate Change Bill at the National Assembly.

The bill is aimed at establishing a framework to ensure that effect of climate change is nipped in the bud through adequate policy formulation and implementation.

This is even as the National Assembly has expressed its support for the Climate Change Bill, noting that it is aimed at making the environment safe.

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, stated this while declaring open the public hearing on the Climate Change Bill at the National Assembly Complex.

Represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Climate Change and Ecology, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Saraki noted that the initiation and implementation of the bill would make Nigeria and the environment a better place to live in.

He, therefore, called on experts and stakeholders in the environment sector to support the bill and make input for the good of Nigeria.

Speaking while making the presentation on behalf of the Labour and CSOs, the head of Climate Change Desk of the NLC, Hauwa Mustapha, reiterated that both the labour movement and CSOs are in full support of the bill.

According to her, the initiation of the bill was a clear demonstration of the seriousness of the government to nip in the bud the devastating effects of climate change.

Hauwa, however, said: “We are recommending that not less than 0.5 of the annual budget should be dedicated to the Climate Change Fund.

“This amount should be allowed to stand as a climate change fund apart from other annual contributions from ecological fund, green bond, individuals and corporate organisations.

“There should be specific part of private organisation whose mode of production has a link with climate change discourse. We should also recognise that there will be grants and other donors from within and outside the country.”

Speaking further, she said: “We are concerned about the status of the Council vis-a-vis the agency.

“We believe that in some point that the Council has been given too much power against the Agency; for instance, in the area of funds allocation. We believe that the funds for climate change should be domiciled in the Agency and not the Council. This is because by the definition of the Council, it does not have a statutory office as such; they are a pool from different MDAs. Therefore, the issue of funds should be resident within the Agency which will be an organised setting rather than the Council.

“We believe that there seems to be some existing departments or agencies that are doing some things in relation to climate change. For example, we are recommending that the current Climate Change Department should be expanded and properly funded to take over the function of the agency.

“In the same manner, we are also concerned in the area of exclusion; we suggest that gender should be mainstreamed through the process of implementation of either the council or the agency. The issue of gender should recognised and be properly engaged.

“In terms of funds, there is a mention in the draft bill about the budgetary allocation, but there was no specific mention of what that budgetary allocation should be.”

She also noted that the bill failed to recognise the need for job transition from the current status to the green economy.

“We are talking about movement from carbon emission production sites to green jobs and in this process, certainly, people are going to lose their jobs and at the same time new jobs are going to be created. Our concern is that this bill has not recognised the need for job transition from the current status to a green economy,” she reiterated.

Speaking earlier, the chairman, Senate Committee on Climate Change, Samuel Onuigbo, explained that harmful events such as gas flaring, bush burning, drought, desertification, floods, famine, damage to critical infrastructure significantly destroy the environment and ultimately affect the climate and threaten development across all sectors of the national economy.

He implored Nigerians to “remain steadfast and committed to the common drive to bequeath a user-friendly environment to the Nigerian populace especially on climate change-related matters”.

By Hassan Danmaryam

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