Bimbola Oyesola, Geneva
Nigeria yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland called for assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other international communities towards addressing the recurrent Budget Deficit by the present administration.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige in his address at the on-going 106th International Labour Conference said the present government challenge is how to attract the required resources to finance a recurring deficit national budget occasioned by the volatility in the global oil market and insurgency especially in the North East of Nigeria.
The Minister in his speech to the ILC tagged response to the report of the chairperson and the Director General of the ILO noted that “In this light, the assistance of the international community will be very critical.”
Expressing Nigeria’s commitment to the Green Initiative being championed by the ILO this year, Ngige said this becomes more important as climate change poses the greatest threat to the world especially Africa.
“The adverse effects can be found everywhere in our ecosystem which have manifested in the difficulties associated with the generation of sustainable income, employment opportunities, eradication of poverty and the promotion of better livelihood for the citizenry”, he said.
He noted that the manifestation of the adverse climatic condition in Nigeria was the recent outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis which resulted in the death of over 1000 people predisposed by the extreme heat waves which assisted an uncontrollable meningitidis bacteria multiplication.
According to him, Nigeria cannot but agree with the Director-General, Guy Ryder, that the mitigation of climate change is the most paramount element in shaping the present state and future condition of work.
He however lamented that in spite that Nigeria was a signatory to the Paris Agreement since the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71) and shall continue to contribute to the implementation of the initiative, shortage of fund has been the major challenge confronting the country in addressing all these problems.
He stated, “Indeed, combating climate change is one of the cardinal objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in Nigeria. The administration’s commitment to fighting climate change is crystallized in the increasing and substantial budgetary allocations to this sector over the last two years.”
Noting various efforts being put in place by the present administration to support the Paris Agreement, Ngige said the Government has also taken major steps by putting in place huge investments in the development of infrastructures targeting Solar, Wind and Hydro as cleaner sources of energy.
“In addition, a Sovereign National Green Bond (SNGB) aimed at raising special funds from the capital market that would be used for green projects especially renewable energy (solar), as well as afforestation projects that would help reduce emissions in line with National Determined Contributions (NDC) would soon be launched”, he said.
The minister added further, “It is also noteworthy that even before the Paris Agreement of 2015, Nigeria has put in place various measures to tackle the challenges of climate change. For example, a roadmap was developed to exit gas flaring in the country by year 2020 and accelerated actions have been taken to reduce desertification through the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW). Machineries have also been put in place to tackle flooding and cleaning up of oil pollution in the Niger Delta region in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
“We remain committed to the pursuit of an African continent built on security, inclusive growth and sustainable development through Africa’s Agenda 2063.”