The idea of throwing huge amounts of money at any challenge without planned and targeted actions is something that we have to free our country from. The document below on the magnitude of funds thrown at a variety of environmental issues is a case in point. As the Daily Trust puts it, the country plans to spend about
N4 billion for environmental preservation in 2014.
The first thing that surprises one from a quick evaluation of the budget is that the whole catalog of what the budget will be spent on shows the usual pitfalls of the approaches to natural resources management in the country – top-down approach, lack of coordination and lack of consultation.
Furthermore, the list of items on which money will be spent is illogical. For example, at the top of the list
N 2.8billion is earmarked for erosion and flood control, while N0.1 billion is also allocated to “installation of additional automated flood early warning systems”. Another example of illogicality is where tree planting is allocated N 0.4 billion in one part of the document while tree planting also shows up under ‘forest resources development, management and tree planting nationwide’ with an allocation of N0.07billion. I just marvel whether the Osun State School Tree Planting Programme would not achieve better results if replicated in other parts of the country. Little wonder that Dr. Christopher, in his comment below “… said the budget for the environmental sector was full of inconsistency and would not deliver anything new to Nigerians.”
It sounds somehow ridiculous that the government is planning to procure 3 water hyacinth harvester machines when the magnitude of the water hyacinth infestation in the country is considered. Dr.Uk U.N., et al. (2007) noted that based on national survey conducted in 2001, over 30 States out of 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria had been infested by water hyacinth. The same authors reviewed several approaches for controlling invasive weeds, such as hyacinth, and seem to favor biological control method after reviewing its efficacy in several countries, such as Argentina, USA, India and the Sudan.
When the idea of “The Great Green Wall Sahara Project”, one of the items on the budget is considered, one cannot but ask whether the 11 frontline drought and desertification states were consulted. If they were consulted, would it not have the desired impact if the budget for this highfalutin project is given to the frontline states.
Comments by DEPO ADENLE.
01 January 2014
by Isiaka Wakili and Alex Abutu
President Goodluck Jonathan has budgeted a sum of N3.930 billion for the preservation of environment.
The project is to be carried out by the Ministry of Environment in 2014.
This revelation is contained in the 2014 Appropriation Bill which the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, recently presented, on behalf of the president, to the two chambers of the National Assembly.
According to the bill, the Headquarters of the Ministry of Environment has a total allocation of N8.312 billion out of which N5.411 billion is for total capital and N2.9 billion for total recurrent.
The details of the budget proposal indicate that the President wants the National Assembly to approve N2.8 billion for erosion and flood control, N700 million for industrial pollution prevention and control, N400 million for tree planting and another N30 million for wildlife conservation.
All these are in addition to the N673.499 million which the ministry will spend on research and development, N112 million on monitoring and evaluation and N24.942 million on anniversaries/celebrations.
The ministry has also introduced such new projects as: green village development to combat drought and desertification in the 11 frontline states, N102.250 million; installation of additional automated flood early warning systems, N102.157 million; renovation and partitioning of the ministry’s central store in Abuja, N10 million; procurement of physical and electronic storage system, N10 million.
The ministry is also embarking on the purchase of law books worth N10 million and establishment of infrastructure in the ministry with N15 million; contribution to international agencies, N30 million; procurement of three water hyacinth harvester machines, accessories and spare parts, N127.501 million; and upgrading/renovation of facilities in the ministry’s auditorium at the Green, Brown and Forestry Building, Abuja, N80 million.
Also proposed as new projects are: forest resources development, management and tree planting nationwide, N70 million; natural resources conservation and development of management plans for forest reserves, N30 million; the Great Greenwall Sahara Programme, N86.122 million; access contribution to multi-lateral environmental agreements, N40 million; establishment of ozone village, N120 million.
The ministry is also set to carry out, as part of its new projects, accreditation programme for environmental consultants, N10 million; advocacy for public and environmental sanitation, N25 million; completion of integrated waste management facility, N90 million; bio-technological rehabilitation of an environmentally degraded site in South-west, N50 million; mapping of charcoal producing areas, N35 million; establishment of solar drying centre with agricultural value chain, N50 million; among others.
Although listed as new projects, most of the items had featured in the 2013 budget with either higher or lower appropriation: industrial pollution prevention and control got N166 million in 2013, erosion and flood control got N7 billion, tree planting got N129 million and wildlife conservation got N20 million.
Dr Okon Christopher, an environmental activist, said the budget for the environmental sector was full of inconsistency and would not deliver anything new to Nigerians.
“There is nothing different from what was budgeted for the sector in 2013. What is the essence of budgeting when the money will not be made available for implementing the programmes and project contained therein?” he asked.
“If you look critically at the budget you will find that it failed to take into account existing projects which already had funding. The Great Green Wall project was allocated N158 million in 2014 while there is already a N13 billion presidential release for the project since 2013. The country got a World Bank loan of $600 million to tackle erosion but this was not reflected in the budget rather, another N2.8 billion was allocated to erosion control in the budget proposal,” He noted.