Immediate past Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said that the Federal Government is taking into account, environmental and social governance by providing adequate financing for environmentally-friendly projects.
Mrs Ahmed, in an exclusive chat with Channels TV, said that since December 2017, FG has been able to issue two green bonds to fund projects relating to water, power, and environment.
“It is about being able to ensure we take into account, environmental and social governance when we are making decisions and also on the part of the government, to make sure that we raise adequate financing for environmentally-friendly projects.
“In Nigeria, we have been able to issue two green bonds in December 2017 and June 2019, which means we are aware of our responsibilities as a government; the green bonds are issued to fund projects that are in the national budget, relating to water, power as well as the environment and some projects in health.”
The former Minister added that a lot of planning, with the right level of funding, is needed to tackle environmental issues.
“It is a reality that climate change presents a very high risk to the world globally and we are not isolated in Nigeria, we have seen clearly what climate change has done to the far North, there is a very high level of desertification and it is increasing.
“There is a huge cost to environmental issues if they are not planned for and financed and addressed adequately, it will affect the growth that we aspire to and if we don’t plan for them and get the right level of funding, it will affect the growth of the Nigerian economy.
“The green bond gives us an opportunity to be able to raise adequate financing to fund environmental-friendly projects that are already incorporated in our national budget.”
She added that the green bonds will create jobs and make small businesses and individuals partake in improving Nigeria’s environment.
“The output is that there are opportunities even in the challenge that exists in climate change. Climate-friendly projects have the potentials to create a large number of jobs; we also have an opportunity in raising green bonds to be able to crowdsource funding so that investors are not just large companies, but small businesses as well as individuals.
“I hope going forward that the Nigerian government will be able to issue green bonds to enable the average Nigerian invest small sums so that we all feel that we are contributing directly towards the improvement of our environment.”