To address numerous challenges bedeviling the environment sector, the Federal Government has inaugurated the Governing Council for the National Forestry Fund of Nigeria (NFTF). The council will address problems such as forest degradation, loss of biodiversity and displacement of forest communities. It will source for resources to supplement the annual budgetary allocation of the sector.
At the inaugural ceremony on Monday, the Minister of Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, said establishing the fund has become necessary because statutory budgetary provisions have become scarce as a result of competing needs. He said it is therefore unable to meet the challenges of returning our forests to their pristine state.
While noting that the NFTF is expected to draw its takeoff (seed money) from contributions from wood exporters, states counterpart contributions, cites fines, the minister said the fund is one of the solutions to address the issues of funding reforestation and sustainable forest management programmes in the country.
He noted that the objectives of NFTF were to carry out reforestation and sustainable management of the country’s degraded forest estates, reserves and production of landscapes to achieve significant increase in forest cover, production and supply of forest products for development.
The board according to him, is expected to provide policy guidelines relating to the fund of the NFTF, ensure projection of the interests of key players and monitor fund utilization among others.
The minister, who pledged to ensure an enabling environment for the council to work effectively, said the members were selected based on their background and experiences.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Leon Aliboh, said there is urgent need to address the numerous challenges and that the council is expected to take advantage of the fund to address the age-long challenges to improve the management of forest resources.
He said the council is expected to support mobilization of resources nationally and internationally taking advantage of the NFTF.