South-East stakeholders seek increased public awareness on the NDC process

Chuks Oyema-Aziken
Business owners in the South-East have called for increased public awareness on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) process for small and medium businesses particularly on the  potential benefits to businesses.
This is among resolutions reached at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional NDC roundtable to communicate targets and facilitate enhanced organised private sector’s involvement in the process.
The meeting at Maxbe Hotel, Enugu, attracted business holders across the zone.
A press release by the National Coordinator of the Nigeria UNDP NDC Support Programme, Mr. Huzi Mshelia said the meeting stated that the predominant businesses in the  zone are small and medium businesses faced with daily challenges of lack of energy, finance, multiple levies from government agencies and changes in government policies; Incentives for SMEs to first, survive the hard operating environment and secondly, to be able to efficiently engage in the NDC process and contribute to meeting its targets should be prioritised; SMEs lack the appropriate capacities for developing bankable projects to attract green investments and funding.
They made a demand for Increased public awareness on the NDC process for small and medium businesses particularly on the  potential benefits to businesses; that Government’s preference for major businesses  as against small businesses is a disincentive, therefore more interventions aimed at small business are required; More success stories are needed to demonstrate the viability of the climate-compatible, climate-resilient business models that can be replicated. Therefore, dedicated capacity building sessions for practical learning is important.
Other points as noted by the organised private sector is that the Federal Government’s policies on increasing access to energy is at best, not very clear and inconsistent. Example with the Geo-metric Ltd in Aba, Abia State;
• The use of local production plants and technologies should be encouraged and promoted rather than  continued heavy reliance on  importation of foreign technologies.
• Private sector has to lead in investing in R&D and deepen involvement with the knowledge-driven economy rather than waiting for government to invest in R & D; Government should be encouraged  to creating the enabling environment for businesses to invest in R&D;
• Implementation of the NDC requires strong regulatory instruments, underlining  the need for a  robust climate change legal framework. It was advocated that the Parliamentarians should be engaged in the process.
• Need for deliberate policies to create the interlinkages between the mining  and services sectors to the manufacturing of local  solar panels and other renewable energy solutions;
• Climate finance is acknowledged to be critical for catalysing productivity, therefore need for more capacity building on development of climate funding proposals and  bankable project;
• Private sector encourage to form partnerships and collaborations to bundle project activities to be able to leverage climate finance and reduce  associated costs of  developing such proposals;
• SMEs should start their sustainability transformation now through imbibing environmental and social safeguards in their operations while seeking further support through partnership;
• Need to explore other form of renewable energy within the region, especially  the exploiting of  solar, biomass and small  hydro power potentials
• UNDP & DCC deeply appreciated for bringing the discourse closer to the critical sectors-small businesses.
• The high turnover of policy makers( through transfers etc.), including climate change desk officers at the state level often affects and contributes to slow implementation of programmes and plans.

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