By Bennett Oghifo
The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril has said that the Nigeriaâ€™s economy would improve considerably if the government invests in the nationâ€™s environment sector.
â€œWith proper harnessing and leveraging on our natural resources the root of our economic recovery will be faster when we consciously support the green economy by investing in the environment sector to increase other sources of revenue in the Nigeria economy.â€
The minister state this at a press conference in Abuja, ahead of the on-going 11thNational Council on Environment in Abeokuta, Ogun State, which began on Monday and will end on Wednesday.
Jibril said, â€œThese opportunities include repositioning of the National Agency for Great Green Wall (GGW), Environment Sound of Chemicals Management, Watershed Management, Renewable Energy, Eco-Tourism, Green Bond, Afforestation/Reforestation, Implementation of the UNEP Report and the Hydrocarbon Pollution remediation Project.â€
He said, â€œSince my assumption in office, we have vigorously pursued and sensitised the Nigerian citizens towards going green and achieving toxic-free environment. It is my sincere wish that after this National Council meeting that the decisions reached will be such that is capable of re-engineering the sector to expand the frontiers to meaningfully contribute to a speedy economic recovery.â€
He said, â€œIn spite of the challenging times, this government has demonstrated complete political will and commitment in the cause of reviving the â€œNigerian Projectâ€ by dealing with immediate issues of improving security, tracking corruption, and revitalizing the national economy.Â Â It is in the light of this that government recently launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), 2017 â€“ 2020 economic blue print.Â Â Pursuant to the ERGPâ€™s policy objectives on the Environment Sector, our deliberations during the council meeting would be guided by our present challenges, aspirations and the policy direction and focus encapsulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which defines and determines the new narrative and vision of the present administration for the sector.Â Â To this end, I urge our distinguished delegates to the meeting to be objective when considering the merits and demerits of submitted Council Memoranda by applying the stated criteria especially as they relate to the ERGP set targets.â€
The National Council on Environment is the highest policy making body on the Environment sector which facilitate intergovernmental deliberations and guides consultation on Environment issues at all levels of government.
Arising from the challenges occasioned by the recent economic recession experienced in the country which is largely due to the nationâ€™s reliance on oil as a single foreign exchange earner, this administration is seeking to diversify the economy by unlocking the opportunities in the environment sector.
It is in light of this that theme for this yearâ€™sÂ Â National Council for Environment â€œUnlocking the Investment opportunities in the Environment sector towards Nigeriaâ€™s Economic Recovery, Diversification Growth and Sustainable Developmentâ€ is quite apt in view of the policy thrust of this government.
Globally, the Green economy has become a veritable tool for economic growth and diversification in countries that are not even as endowed with natural resources as ours. It has become a fulcrum of national economic advancement as it cuts across every aspects of a nationâ€™s economy.Â Â Our challenge at this point is how to harness and leverage on the huge opportunities in the environment sector.Â