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Here in Nigeria and by extension, a number of countries (based on international reviews) designate and empower a professional department for reforms and development in the Environment and Sanitation space.

A line ministry such as a Ministry of Environment and Sanitation is typically assigned with the responsibility to develop policies, draft legislation, and oversee waste management. 

A waste management agency within the line ministry which is usually established, should be staffed with adequate professionals and empowered to initiate and carry out the intended reforms. 

The waste management section is usually dedicated exclusively to the waste sector and become the nucleus and driver of reforms.

Typical functions of a waste management section would encompass policy formulation; legislative drafting; preparation of national waste strategies and plans; preparation of national standards and guidelines, including clear definition of municipal waste and its fractions as well as stakeholders’ responsibilities; setting up of waste information database; monitoring and enforcement of laws especially of Extended Producers Responsibility Schemes; and coordination and consultation with stakeholders.

From my own experience, the amount and complexity of the work required by such a section is often underestimated. In a country like Nigeria that is at the beginning of the transformation of its  waste sectors, there are insufficient staff in the line ministry designated with the functional responsibility to oversee waste management; public officials often cover large environmental portfolios spanning various topics. 

In the absence of a competent and committed institutional leader, sector reforms may be sporadic, chaotic, expensive, or even counter-productive. In case of moratoriums or other restrictions on hiring preventing the establishment of a waste management section, a local consulting company could be hired for few years to work on behalf of the ministry. Among its tasks, it could be asked to train ministerial staff and create inter-ministerial capacity, while implementing the reform agenda under the auspices of that ministry.

I hope this serves as an overview of existing waste management framework across States in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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