Multinationals, Private Entities to Compulsorily Fund Climate Change Account

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  • House c’ttee urges action as bill proceeds to third reading

BY James Emejo in Abuja

As the climate change bill before the National Assembly heads for its third reading in the House of Representatives and the possibility of being passed into law,  multinational companies and other relevant private entities are to compulsorily fund the National Climate Change Contributory Fund which is envisaged by the bill, THISDAY has learnt.

The fund will consequently be assessed by both the public and private sectors in a ratio of 40 per cent and 60 per cent respectively to encourage creative initiatives on how to better solve climate change related challenges in the country.

It is not however,  surprising that multinationals are being compelled to pool resources towards addressing environmental challenges as major oil companies are partly accused of destroying the environment by their operations.

One of the cardinal objectives of the proposed bill is to provide a legal framework for mainstreaming of climate change responses and actions into government policy formulation and implementation.

In an exclusive interview with THISDAY, sponsor of the bill,  Hon. Sam Onuigbo (PDP, Abia), said it intended to deepen and broaden the country’s participation in addressing the problem and ensure “we do not continue to pay lip service to this critical issue.”

When passed, the bill will also establish the National Climate Change Council and the National Climate Change Agency among others.

Onuigbo, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Climate Change, said though there had been different policies on climate change by previous administrations, they could not achieve meaningful impact because “policies are not laws.”

According to him, “On our part as legislators, we’ve realised that unless far reaching legislative actions were taken in the form of enacting law on climate change, it would again amount to different national policies on climate change that had been in operation before we reached here.”

Onuigbo, who expressed optimism that the leadership of both the upper and lower chambers would ensure that a law on climate change is passed expeditiously.

Speaking on the utilisation of the proposed climate change fund by both the public and private sectors, the lawmaker said it is meant to “encourage investors and people who have ideas on how to solve these problems to encourage them to come up with their initiatives.”

He said: “It’s a robust bill that’s all encompassing and I know by the grace of God, the leadership of the National Assembly is poised to ensure that a law on this matter is passed expeditiously.

“The bill basically is intended to create an interface among the crosscutting departments and agencies that are climate change impacted.

“What this bill intends to do is to ensure that Nigeria’s target that we’ve set for ourselves in our nationally determined contributions are met.”

The lawmaker further warned that climate change must not be be taken with levity as the harsh impact is already biting hard on Nigerians across the divide.

He said:”And that problems of desertification, drying up of Lake Chad, herdsmen and farmers clashes, gully erosion- that we are able to take far reaching decisions collectively to checkmate these dangers that have now led to serious national security challenges.”

Onuigbo argued that the issue of climate change had nevertheless received a lot of attention from current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.