Nigeria: 'Desertification, Erosion, Pollution, Others Will Continue Without Adequate Funds'

The Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan Zarma, has said the problems of desertification, erosion and pollution, among others, will continue to ravage Nigeria's vast environment if adequate funds are not provided to the ministry and its agencies.

The minster appealed for improved budgetary allocation to the environmental sector to facilitate the execution of more intervention projects.

The minister, according to a statement signed by the Director Press, Saghir el Mohammed, made the appeal while defending the ministry's 2019 budget estimate before the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat, in Abuja, recently.

He said: "Sufficient allocation of funds to the ministry will help us raise the level of environmental consciousness in the minds of Nigerians, while implementing best global practices to address environmental issues."

Zarma stressed that inadequate budgetary provision is hindering the successful implementation of key projects and ecology-preservation initiatives conceptualized by the ministry.

Presenting the 2019 budget estimate to the committee, Zarma explained that the environment pillar was hinged on three basic policy objectives that include national environment management, pollution control, waste to wealth, industrial oil management and climate change adaptation.

In this connection, he said, the 2019 budget estimate that is before the National Assembly consists of programmes and projects that are in line with the ERGP goals.

Zarma, also appealed to the committee to passionately look at the disturbing issue of inadequate office accommodation affecting the workings of the ministry and its agencies, saying "almost all of us are working in either borrowed or rented buildings."

Responding, the House Committee chairman, Obinna Chidoka, supported the call for improved allocation for the ministry in the 2019 budget.

"The envelope of the ministry is too lean to enable it meaningfully impact on our environment that is highly ravaged and devastated. We must look for ways to increase the funding of this all important sector," he said.

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