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Presidency rejects proposed ecological fund bill

By News Desk,

Citing emergency exigencies during natural disasters, the Presidency has opposed the proposed bill seeking to regulate the Ecological Fund being debated by lawmakers at the House of Representatives.

Apart from emergency exigencies, the presidency also argued that the proposed bill would further cause confusion when passed as such would take power away from the President on the fund.

As stated, the proposed bill would negate the nature and original design of the Ecological Fund Office which had been created to fill void during disaster period.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the one of the implication of bill if passed, was that it would slow down the quick response needed in dealing with natural disaster, particularly erosion problems in Nigeria.

Mustapha, in his memorandum to the Committee on Ecological Fund which held a public hearing on ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish the Regulation of Ecological Funds to Address Nigeria’s Ecological Challenges, Particularly Erosion, Landslide, Desertification, Floods, Oil Spillage, Drought, Etc., and for Related Matters.’ on Wednesday, expressed fear that the law would either clash the existing ones.

Represented by the Director, Pollution Control, OSGF, Mr Clinton Igwe, while presenting the memorandum, the SGF said that the proposed bill would replace the emergency and interventionist posture of the Ecological Fund Office as presently constituted.

“The Ecological Fund as presently constituted is not subject to the process of appropriation by the National Assembly. This gives the President the much needed flexibility to effectively and timeously respond to ecological emergencies the fund is created to address.

“If the bill is passed into law as proposed, it will impede on Mr President’s power to use the Fund for emergencies if it has to revert to the National Assembly for appropriation and approvals. It is not always feasible to predict emergencies, hence the inability to appropriate or budget for such disasters or ecological emergencies.

“As the EFO is presently constituted, salaries and allowances of staff are not paid from the Fund. Officers deployed to EFO are mainstream civil servants who draw their emoluments from the federal treasury. It is advisable to sustain less emphasis on recruitment of officers and payment of board members that could be a drain whittling down the impact of the fund on ecological interventions, by increasing government’s Overhead Cost,” he said.

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