Caveat: This is not a research work, but an “activation” (for a duration of 6 months) for the Follow The Money team of CODE to help track and build knowledge around how USD 49.8 million will be used to procure and distribute 750,000 cookstoves and 18,000 Wonderbags to help reduce the 98,000 deaths that happen yearly from indoor cooking – largely affecting women and children in Nigeria.
It has been 185 days since the Federal Executive Council approved the the 9.2 billion Naira (USD 49.8 million) for the procurement and distribution of 750,000 clean cookstoves and 18,000 wonderbags to rural women, less than 50,000 clean cookstoves are available at the warehouse (the velodrome of the National Stadium), and just NGN 5 billion has been released to the Ministry of Environment from the Ecological Fund Office. Furthermore, only NGN 1,253,778,750 ( USD 6.2 million) has been released from the Ministry of Environment to the contractor, Integra Renewable Energy, but the clean technologies are yet to reach the women they are meant for.
“But in January, we heard in the radio that these wonder stoves will help us stop felling trees indiscriminately, and also reduce heart problems contracted by our mothers while cooking with firewoods, but why have they not started distributing it to our rural women” Halima Andanu asked during one of our media engagements on a radio station two weeks ago. On the memo that was approved by the government, it should have taken the contractor 12 weeks (90 days) to deliver the clean alternatives. “We have to wait for [the] government’s waiver at the port to clear some of these goods through customs, and this can cause a delay. Likewise the 15% that was given to our organization to start bringing in the stoves was agreed on after about 95 days since approval” said the representative of Integra Renewable Energy, the contractor that was procuring the clean energies at the 3rd stakeholders meeting on #WomenCookstoves.
On Tuesday, May 26, the Federal Government of Nigeria held a grand commissioning of the project that has not gotten to the hands of the beneficiaries. While the attention of most attendants at the event was drawn to the fact that the government has purchased the clean cookstoves, the fact still remains that less than 50,000 of the clean cookstoves are available, and no one knows when they will be distributed. Since January 14, 2015, the FTM team had requested for work plans, costed work plans, and the proposed beneficiaries of this intervention, but we are yet to get a response from the office of the Minister for Environment.
On May 29, 2015 this dispensation will end its tenure, and another Minister for Environment will inherit these conversations around this particular intervention – please be prepared. “We still have NGN 3.7 billion with us at the Ministry that we have not given to the contractor” affirmed Laurentian Mallam, the Minister for Environment. Furthermore, what has happened to the remaining NGN 4,287,250, 000 (USD 21.5 million) is still unknown. “I am just resuming into my office, and our office got the invitation to attend this stakeholders meeting two days ago” said the representative of the Ecological Fund Office (the office that was responsible for the disbursement of the NGN 9.2 billion) at the 3rd stakeholders meeting held on May 16, 2015.
As global investment in clean energy heightens at US$310 billion, this outgoing government intervention will add to this new energy finance as it expects to expand rapidly, especially as the country looks to reduce its reliance on greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels and adjust to the impact of climate change. “NGN 9.2 Billion will build a clean cookstove factory in the six geopolitical zones of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, and engage thousands of vulnerable women and young men with meaningful employment” a clean energy expert ascertained.
Furthermore, even if the latter was an alternative, it is still the amount of the funds we’ll see on papers and on the headlines in the news, the beneficiaries are yet known, and when the other stoves will arrive still puts us in the dark on how the NGN 9.2 billion will affect the lives of our rural women. Perhaps, it would have been better if the government had been transparent on this initiative (meaning letting everyone know their work plan), and added to a repository of knowledge around clean energy funding. We are still optimistic as we hope the project implementers will become responsive. As promised “at the next stakeholders meeting on June 9, 2015, we would have been prepared to give information and updates on work plans, and beneficiaries of this project” insisted representative of the Ministry of Environment at the last stakeholders meeting on May 22, 2015.