Plateau to Become Model State and Hub for Green Economy as TEARFUND Presents Green Growth Strategy

It is no longer news that the world is speedily shifting from use of fossil fuels to other alternative sources. This shift will lead to predictable losses in revenue as well as drastic drop in oil demand. Lingering uncertainties in the oil and gas sector has reportedly pushed Nigeria to financial crisis leading to borrowing. Additional billions are being considered for borrowing. These uncertainties in the oil market alongside other factors are further making oil based economy unsustainable in the long run. Coupled with the frequent changes in oil prices, its effects on the economies of not only the Federal Government but also the economies of sub-national governments at the state level. Similarly given the current global transition to alternative sources of energies, the implication is also that national and state governments in Nigeria must of necessity develop and adopt an alternative logic to drive their economic development. There are also indications that energy transition is real and has come to stay hence renewable technologies are getting cheaper with investors becoming mindful of environmental concerns and turning their back on hydrocarbon investments. It was in the light of the foregoing that stakeholders drawn from government ministries, departments, agencies, private sector and the civil society designed a Green Growth Strategy, a development model that sustains strong economic growth, while ensuring climatic and environmental sustainability, poverty reduction, and social inclusion reports Ralph Madugu

“We invite you to Come on Board as we begin a journey to support Plateau State become a model state and hub for green growth in Nigeria.”

The foregoing was the unanimous voices of stakeholders who converged on Jos recently at an event for the public presentation/validation of the Green Growth Strategy document to the Plateau State Government.

Green growth Strategy is a development model that sustains strong economic growth, while ensuring climatic and environmental sustainability, poverty reduction, and social inclusion.

A Copy of the Plateau State Green Growth Strategy Document

It is a Strategy that focuses on addressing the root causes of socioeconomic and environmental challenges and creates the necessary channels for resource distribution and access to basic commodities and energy for the impoverished.

Performing the official presentation of the document to the Plateau State Government, Country Director of Tearfund Nigeria, Mr Paul Mershak said the convergence of triple waves-COVID-19, climate change and recession in 2020 triggered a global economic crisis with attendant pressure on Nigeria’s oil dependent economy as global oil prices crashed resulting in low demand, low earnings from oil and shrinking of the national economy by 1.8 per cent.

Country Director TEARFUND Nigeria Mr Paul Mershak

He added that most states in the country are dependent on oil revenues from the monthly allocations adding that Plateau State depends on share of from the oil revenue stands at 73 percent.

The implication, Mershak posited, is that the state’s capacity to deliver on the three point thrust of the government; economic rebirth, physical infrastructure development and peace and security and good governance is weakened due to declining revenues from the Federation Account which he said would result in deepening poverty, inequality and social crisis.

Said he: “The current oil based economic development path, which Plateau State and indeed all the states in Nigeria have followed historically, is unsustainable given the frequent changes in international oil prices and its effects on the economies of not only the Federal government but also the economies of sub-national governments at the state level.”

He added that given the current transition to alternative energies, the implication is that national and state governments in Nigeria will as a matter of necessity develop and adopt an alternative logic to drive their economic development.

Some top Government Functionaries from the Focal Ministries in Attendance

Recalling that Plateau State historically played strategic roles in shaping the country’s development path by being a “thought leader” in several aspects, the state’s huge brand assets in particular its agricultural potentials presents the state with massive opportunities for turning the tide in the revenue and debt profile in the state.

According to the Tearfund Country Director, the pursuit of a Green Growth alternative is a “smart option” going forward on the path to planning for sustainable economic development in the state.

Mershak said that it is worthy of note that Plateau State is about one of the very few states in Nigeria with a development plan.

“The existence of the Plateau State Development Plan covering the period of 2019-2023 implies that there is already a culture of planning in the state, which makes the adoption of green growth economic development pathway feasible.”

Mershak stated that the Plateau Green Growth Strategy being presented for validation today has been developed through months of robust conversations with stakeholders from frontline ministries and agencies in the state.

In setting a clear path for transition from an oil based economy, Mershak posited that the state is preparing itself to withstand the “adverse winds” which would emerge as global transitions are made from linear fossil driven economy to a sustainable circular economic pathway.

“The development and adoption of Green Growth Strategy by Plateau State as the only state within Nigerian Federation to pursue such path is not only a bold move demonstrating thought leadership but also that the state is anticipating the future.”

Receiving the document, Gov. Simon Bako Lalong said with the adverse impacts of COVID-19, climate change and global push away from fossil fuels, it has become inevitable to look inwards for an alternative economy that leverages on the state’s natural resources and alternative energy sources for sustainable growth and development.

TEARFUND Country Director Paul Mershak Presenting a Copy of the Green Growth Strtaegy to the Commissioner for Special Duties who represented Governor Lalong at the Event

Said he: “Today marks another auspicious moment in Plateau State as we witness the endorsement of the Plateu State Green Growth Strategy, a framework that will guide the state on the path to environmental stability, economic growth and social inclusion.”

The governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Irmiya Werr, who commended Tearfund and her partners for providing the financial and technical support which he opined has placed the state as the pioneer in driving the initiative for responsible approach to development, Lalong noted that the multi-stakeholder approach of developing this strategy could not have been possible without the contributions of some focal ministries, departments and agencies of government.

Lalong announced that the state is currently putting together the structures for the development of a long term development plan known as Plateau State Agenda 2050 which according to him, is essentially the blueprint for a holistic and long term approach to development in the state for thenext 30 years.

He said, “Meanwhile, permit me to announce to you all that, in matching words with action, some of the initiatives recommended in the Green Growth Strategy are already being included in the state’s proposed 2022 budgets of the following five focal ministries; Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Water Resources and Energy, and Ministry of Health. It is expected that the successes gained from these pilots will be used to upscale the adoption of the Strategy by other MDAs to achieve the development goals of the state.”

Presenting an overview of the plateau state green growth strategy Tearfund Nigeria Program Manager, Mr. Ben Osawe disclosed that the vision of the strategy is to see Plateau State becomes the green growth hub of Nigeria.

Mr Ben Osawe Presenting an Overview of the Green Growth Strategy

Speaking on why the adoption of a Green Growth Strategy, Mr. Osawe posited thus: “We noted that Plateau State’s huge agricultural potentials presents the state with massive opportunities for turning the tide in the revenue and debt profile in Plateau State. Beyond agricultural potentials and brands, there are several brand assets that could attract green investments around which the state can build its green growth strategy.”

On the Green Growth Development Timelines, Mr. Osawe announced that the Diagnosis and Assessment Phase took placed between June 9 to 10, 2021 while development Phase was from 6to 7, July 2020 and Validation Phase was on July 27, 2020.

Highlighting the overall benefits, Osawe said, “Plateau State will be thought leader in Green economy. Plateau State will come to a place of influence as pilot projects on green economy in the state begins to model with transition to green economy looks like, space will be created for Plateau State to emerge as the hub for Green Economy, Green economy ecosystem on the Plateau will create green jobs and break the nexus between unemployment, poverty and conflicts in the state. International development partners will be attracted to the state to partner on investments around green economy.”

He added that the mission is to enable plateau state transition to a green growth development pathway through supportive policies, institutions, partnerships, green investments, green projects, green technologies and robust coordinating mechanism.

This he said, is about creating the space for partnerships between the Private Sector, Public Sector and Civil Society supportive of transitions to green growth.

On what he termed as the next step, will include the commissioning of a brand specialist to brand the Plateau Green Growth Strategy, launch of a robust public communication strategy and engagement, identification, development and implementation of quick win projects and other projects.

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