The Federal Government is considering opportunities embedded in green bond and other sources of green finance to fund access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
Green bond is a financing instrument used in funding projects that have positive environmental benefits. Proceeds from such bonds are set aside for green projects, the federal government had in 2017 issued a sovereign bond in that direction.
The Minister of Finance, National Planning and Budget, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, made this known on Wednesday during Africa’s Finance Ministers’ Meeting (FMM), which was virtually hosted by the Save Water for All (SWA) in collaboration with the World Bank, the UNICEF and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Zainab, who expressed the federal government’s commitment towards improving investment in water and sanitation, said: “We see opportunity in green bonds. We are also vigorously trying to access other sources of green financing ideal for the development of our water sanitation sector.
“We also saw an opportunity, through the COVID-19 pandemic to educate not just the people but both the executive and the parliament to understand the wisdom of investing more and more in the WASH sector since investment in water and sanitation are actually an investment in health, education and the economy.”
She added that the government has exhibited its commitment to improve access to safe water when it collaborated with state and local governments and development partners to declare a state of emergency in the water sector in November 2018.
“This declaration was quickly followed by a launch of a national action plan that indicated a strong political leadership toward reaching universal access to safe water.
“This action plan gives us an opportunity to strengthen the political leadership and also create and sustain existing partnerships and also mobilise the community to participate so that behaviour can change,” Ahmed said.
According to Zainab, “access to clean water in Nigeria is still a daily challenge for many of our people. This problem is particularly acute in the Northern part of Nigeria. It contributes to the very high prevalence of water-borne diseases and threatens lives and livelihood especially of smallholders’ farmers.”
The ministry “is a major stakeholder in this endeavour. And we are working with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to continuously increase our investment in water and sanitation, recognising the fact that investing in WASH is actually investing in human capital development and direct investment into the economy.”