Minister of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Mailafiya
By Onwuka Nzeshi
The House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change has urged the Federal Government to diversify the economy by exploring alternative sources of revenue outside the petroleum sector.
The committee said that with the looming threat by some western countries to cut down on their importation of Nigeria’s crude oil, it was high time the country began to explore the lucrative potential of green economy.
The chairman of the committee, Hon. Eziuche Ubani (PDP/Abia), gave the advice Monday when the committee received the new National Policy on Climate Change from the Minister of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Mailafiya, at the National Assembly.
Ubani applauded the development of the policy but argued that the country could only reap its benefits if it was painstakingly implemented and all stakeholders fully aware of their roles.
The lawmaker said apart from keeping our environment healthy, the country would also generate revenue from climate change through afforestation, carbon tax and carbon sales.
He said with the policy in place, Nigeria could invest in renewable energy, become a net exporter of solar power because of the abundant sunshine in the country.
“Implementation is always the problem of comprehensive documents like this but if well implemented, Nigeria stands to gain a lot. The opportunities are enormous. It may not be immediate but the expanding opportunities are huge.
“We can get carbon zinc which we can exchange for carbon allowance for those who emit to come and buy,” he said.
According to Ubani, Nigeria must not rest on its oars because the development of the policy was just the first step of a long journey to green economy.
Nigeria, he said, must be prepared to tackle impacts of climate change on the environment and other sectors of the economy.
“We need to keep in mind that a policy framework is just but one leg of the tripod that holds national climate change governance system.
“The rest are the institutional framework, as well as broad-based legal framework that specifies responsibilities of the Nigerian State and its agencies to combat adverse climate change and also set up structures to maximize opportunities in climate change,” he stated.
Ubani said going forward, there would be need for massive awareness campaigns to enable government agencies and the rest of Nigerians know what climate change entails, what the government is doing and what is expected of the citizenry.
In the implementation of the policy, Ubani said, special consideration must be given to coastal communities whose environment have been severely impacted by climate change.
Minister of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Mailafiya, expressed delight on the successful completion of the policy framework and commended the National Assembly for its roles towards making the document a reality.
Mailafya assured the lawmakers that the Ministry of Environment would endeavour to carry along the parliament and implementation agencies in the execution of the policy.