The article was written by Chuks Oyema-Aziken and was first publishe here

 

In continuation of the Regional Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Business Roundtables to sensitise and increase private sector participation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) NDC Support Programme held the third and fourth in the series for the North-Central and North-East Regions in Keffi and Gombe respectively.

The roundtable seek to communicate the NDC targets and facilitate enhanced organised private sector’s involvement in the process.

At the North-East meeting held at Jewel Hotel, Gombe, participants noted that
the major challenge for the region is the issue of insecurity and it attendant socio-economic consequences on businesses and livelihood related issues.

The National Association of Small Scale Industries(NASSI) expressed concerned that they are not properly captured in the scheme of things in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and wants more engagement and involvement as their memberships run into millions.

Other decisions are that flowing from above, large number of NASSI members need awareness and information; Bauchi- NASSI expressed concern about the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and the lack of government interventions to support their recovery; No palliatives for their members like the welders and fabricators; Need for more involvement of the private sector, particularly the SMEs in policy & legal framework formulation and implementation; Government’s foreign exchange policies and the practical experiences of businesses are at variance posing greater risks to businesses.

They also noted that suppose interventions from the NIRSAL has not provided the kind of assistance expected by small industrialists; CBN’s covid-19 Interventions should not be considered as loans, as current banks interests rate ranges between 5-9% with 3% going to the CBN, which is ridiculous, as the CBN is not supposed to be profit making entity. Interventions be grants, not loan; FX risks represent a great obstacle to small businesses and makes it difficult to factor in climate concerns couple with negative impact on dividends; Need for a robust communication tools designed to address all local interest groups in languages that they understand and enables them to participate;

It was agreed that participants would be invited to participate in the validation of the Draft NDC Communication Strategy to make suggestions on the mode of communicating the NDC messages to their respective memberships; R& D and the involvement of the academics is critical to promote RE, Agric, ICT; Call that the Roundtable should be conducted for more than 2days and integrate capacity building sessions on project design, proposal writing etc; Concerns that the roundtable platform is small for awareness creation, and participation should be broaden to include all members of the affiliations and not only their executive.

The Roundtable and presentation was commendable as avenues to promote government policies and encourage interaction with relevant stakeholders; The Roundtables should promote diversification economy, investing in people & building a competitive economy; Private sector need to be guided on where to invest on sustainable manners and advocate that the DCC undertake match-making with potential investors; Quarry Rehabilitation Case Study was shared by Ashaka Cement-Lafarge with excellent model that can be replicated. Asaka is invited to next Roundtable for the North-West to share story, experiences and lesson learnt; A North East Council for Chambers of Commerce has been established and will invite the NDC Programme to communicate to the larger Council when it meets next; Concerns on how the NE can benefits from the numerous climate financing windows and the carbon finance from the existing projects within the zone.

Participants were encouraged to engage the DCC bilaterally for more information; Costs of business in the NE is high and need for special interests and attention, in addition to the North East Development Commission; Costs of translating the communicating materials are high.

There was suggestion, that going forward, organisers should develop questionnaire on climate actions and seek participants understanding and opinions ahead of such interactions.

It was also agreed that participants develop interesting low-emission Concept Notes/Project Information Notes focusing on any of the NDC sectors and share with DCC for possible match-making with funders/investors.

The roundtable has so far held in the North-Central Region in Keffi, South-West in Lagos in September 2019 and South-South edition held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in February 2020.

In Keffi, Acting Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Halima Bawa-Bwari, said that the workshop is aimed at communicating government’s efforts in the implementation of the NDC with particular emphasis on increasing the role of the private sector in the current revision, design and implementation of the 2015 NDC.

“It further aimed in developing a common understanding of the status of Nigeria’s NDC implementation, strategies in and support received since the ratification of the Paris Agreement. it will be very useful that we take adequate steps to communicate these government steps to the private sector across all regions of the country and also seek the active participation of private sectors in its actualisation,” she added.

The Acting Director said the NDC and its targets are aimed to ensure sufficient climate resilience is built across critical sectors while the country continues to pursue its economic growth at a low carbon pathway.

“In the spirit of ensuring whole-of-society approach, inclusiveness and leaving no-one-behind, the Federal Ministry of Environment will continue to encourage organisations and citizens to fully understand and play their respective roles in responding to climate change by choosing emissions reduction actions within their operations by adopting efficient ways of doing things, lowering their carbon footprints through the use of greener products and services.

“Governments in its part will support informed greenhouse gas management decisions by providing information directly to the public and/or by creating or supporting organisations that help the public and private sector reach emission reduction targets.

“I want to therefore assure you that government is committed to domesticating the elements of this global agreement and the NDCs targets into its national developmental programmes and plans including the Post-Covid recovery plan.”

National Coordinator of the Nigeria UNDP NDC Support Programme, Mr. Huzi Mshelia, disclosed that the predominant business activities in the zone include mining and agriculture, which he described as high energy intensity and high greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting. He noted that the NDC industry targets “should take note of this vast and special interest to accordingly reflect in the revision process”.

While emphasising that critical needs for the private sector is to be very competitiveness, skilful, highly resourceful, sufficiently capacitated and well synergised with government programmes, participants expressed hope the NDC process can provide such baskets of expectations.

The forum also underlined the need for the private sector to create necessary synergise amongst themselves and act as a force through deliberate optimisation of the NDC opportunities.

It was also identified that 95% of the businesses operating in the zone are SMEs based with no well-structured opportunity to partner with public sector. They hope the NDC process can provide such bridge to connect with public sector interventions.

Doing things differently – change management, behavioural change, embracing new technologies and incorporate new skills into design – are some of the needs recognised for the private sector to make the transition.

Other key messages that emerged from the forum are listed to Include:

  • Need for clear guidance on the NDC process and how to practically engage and benefit from the process;
    No harmonised policy for investment as most policies are fragmented – for example, energy policy not in tandem with industrial policy;
  • Awareness amongst governments entities-ensuring that the emission reductions criteria are entrenched from the beginning of projects;
  • Issue of collecting data for establishing baseline is still a concern and affect efficient planning;
    Weak institutions for the implementation of the policies;
  • Need to create the necessary interlinkages between the products from the mining industry (dry cell batteries, computers components, ammonium fertilisers) with the NDC process and broader industrial policies;
  • Need to strengthen planning across industry and government;
  • The need to develop a standardised template for collection of data is imperative;
  • That a Climate Change Regulatory Framework is imperative if Nigeria actually wants to attain its NDC targets;
  • Awareness creation for the private sector must be prioritised and made continuous;
  • Education institutions to be part of the NDC implementation to ensure sustainability and ownership at early ages for young persons;
  • Need for mechanisms for evaluation of the policies and the NDC should be established and shared widely;
    Human security dimension and its impact on the NDC implementation should be studied and factored as contingency;
  • Insecurity in the zone is a major challenge to food security and by extension to the NDC;
  • The NDC should not only focus on emission reduction but also making a business case for agriculture through targeted funding;
  • Need to consider the provision of free scholarship for students studying agriculture in the universities and other tertiary institutions;
  • Promoting partnership between university research centres with private sector on agricultural development;
  • Need for further enlightenment on how the private sector and SMES can benefit from the Green Bonds issuance;
  • Need for dedicated capacity development sessions on access to climate finance and the leveraging of carbon assets should be organised; and,
  • Several interests expressed to join the Private Sector NDC Working Groups established as platforms for continued engagement with various interest groups during the revision and implementation processes.

The remaining three sessions –North-West and South-East – have been scheduled to hold in October 2020.

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