Nigeria set to develop Clean Cooking policy

•To distribute 774,000 cooking gas equipment nationwide ― Dame Tallen

Federal Government has concluded arrangements for the development of a clean cooking policy.

Minister of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor gave the assurance at the just concluded Nigerian Clean Cooking Forum organised by the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cooking in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment with support from Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS) and Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP).

Ikeazor stated that it is unacceptable that Nigeria should have the greatest number of people dying in Africa as a result of the lack of access to clean cooking.

While pledging Federal Government’s determination to develop a policy framework for clean cooking in the country, she disclosed that “there is already an inter-ministerial committee saddled with the responsibility of developing this policy.

“Furthermore, a sub-committee of the Inter-ministerial Committee on Climate Change will coordinate national efforts to address the challenges posed by the lack of access to clean cooking.”

She declared that the Ministry is committed to integrating the outcomes of the forum in its NDCs implementation efforts and plans.

The Senior Director, Market Strengthening, Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA), Colm Fay who described Nigeria as a very important market for clean cooking, expressed delight that Nigeria has prioritised clean cooking in its NDCs.

According to him, “CCA will over the coming months explore ways to increase its engagement and activities in Nigeria by consulting closely with public and private sector partners on how best to strengthen the cooking industry and accelerate progress towards the goals set by Nigeria.”

According to the Organisers of the event, cooking with firewood or charcoal leads to serious health problems like acute lower respiratory infection in children. It causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and lung cancer.

Smoke from the kitchen in Nigeria leads to 78,000 premature deaths and about 55 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents are emitted from the same source.

In her goodwill message, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen who was represented by Mrs Funke Oladipo, applauded the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves for their foresight in promoting clean cooking aimed at improving the lives of women and children in Nigeria.

She outlined the Ministry’s effort in promoting clean cooking through the distribution of 1,000 cooking gas equipment in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria and public awareness campaigns.

In his keynote address, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who commended the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves expressed the unalloyed commitment of the Legislature towards ensuring clean cooking for all Nigerians.

According to him, “there is no doubt that the clean cooking initiative is about some new details regarding the hazards associated with our rather rusty traditional firewood system of cooking.”

He urged the stakeholders to articulate ways to address grey areas in existing laws and if there is a need for a new law, such should be forwarded to the National Assembly.

He also urged stakeholders to articulate ways of ensuring that this vision is achieved and stated that the Senate is always available to support the initiatives where required.

Also speaking, Chairman Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, represented by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, who assured that the 9th Senate is favourably disposed to support policies and programmes being championed through the forum, observed that the newly enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has critical elements that seek to promote access to LPG for cooking and said should the need arise, the National Assembly is willing to amend the PIA to ensure enhanced private sector-driven LPG expansion in Nigeria.

In his remarks, Chairman Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and Executive Director, International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED), Ewah Otu Eleri, detailed the negative health, economic and environmental impacts of inadequate access to clean cooking solutions in Nigeria, disclosed that “Nigeria needs a policy, financing framework and to build partnerships with the international community for clean cooking.”

He also stressed the need for government’s intervention with a view to ensuring the use of locally sourced cooking gas and removal of VAT on imported LPG to reduce the present hike in the price of LPG.

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