FG Set To Begin Disbursement Of N90 Billion Budget Support Fund

children's day, Gov. Udom, child abuse
Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Emmanuel Udom.

The National Economic Council (NEC) says disbursement of the N90 billion budget support proposed by the Federal Government to state governments to ease their economic hardship at interest rate of nine percent will start from next FAAC meeting.

This was disclosed to State House correspondents by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Emmanuel Udom, while briefing on the outcome of the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The Central Bank Governor was also said to have briefed council that from Monday next week it will collapse the regulated and the unofficial foreign exchange windows into one entity.

Also, the School Feeding Programme for pupils in junior secondary schools in the country is at the cost of seventy naira per day.

Special Adviser to the President on social Investments, Mrs Mariam Uwais, told council that the programme is designed to fulfill federal government’s social protection role to its citizens.

The loan, according to the federal government, will cover a period of one year.

However, the loan will be extended to the state governments after they meet 22 stringent conditions put together by the federal government under the fiscal sustainability plan.

So far only five states are said to have completed the process for borrowing from the budget support loan while one state has declined from taken from the loan.

Only $2.2 Billion Is Left In Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account – NEC

Nec meetingThe Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, on Thursday said Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account as at 15th of September stands at $2.257 billion.

Briefing State House correspondents after the National Economic Council (NEC), Governor Ajimobi said states of the federation have started benefiting from the Special Intervention Fund approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The NEC meeting, which was presided over by the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, was briefed on the bail out by the Central Bank Governor (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele.

Mr Emefiele said 18 states had been able to draw from the fund, while a number of other states are being processed for the soft loan facility.

The soft loan facility is part of President Buhari’s relief package designed to help states pay backlog of salaries and also ease their financial challenges caused by the drop in federal allocation.

NEC also received an ongoing report from its ad-hoc committee of five governors on the management of ECA and federation account related issues which is still on going.

The refund of expenses to states that executed repairs on federal roads under the past administration also came up.

Reports, however, indicate that some states have not complied with the reimbursement requirements and are yet to receive any payment from the Federal Government.

NEC also approved a plan to roll out an agriculture plan for the states of the federation beginning with 12 states and the FCT and called for a closer interaction between farmers in states and local governments.

NEC Sets Up Committee To Investigate NNPC Accounts

NNPC_TowersThe National Economic Council (NEC) has set up a committee to investigate a shortfall of N3.5 trillion in remitting by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into the Federation Account since 2012.

This is coming after a briefing by a Director of Funds in the Office of the Accountant General on the status and management of the Federation Account, which indicted NNPC of remitting only N4.3 trillion out of its earnings, estimated at N8.1 trillion within the same period

Briefing State House correspondents after NEC meeting chaired by Vice Presi‎dent Yemi Osinbajo, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who briefed alongside his counterparts from Kaduna, Zamfara and Akwa Ibom States, explained that the committee is to look into the missing N3.5 trillion and report back to the council at its next meeting on the whereabouts of the fund.

Members of the committee, who are to report back to the council on the 23rd of July when the council is to reconvene, are governors of Kaduna, Nasir Elrufai, Edo, Adams Oshiomhole, Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom and Gombe’s Ibrahim Dankwabo

Oshiomhole added that the council will also look at the Excess Crude Account and report back on the rationale to which it would continue operation or done away with at the next sitting of the council in July.

Another issue that would also be looked into according to the Edo State governor is the differences between what former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, declared as the balance in the Excess Crude Account and what this administration met in the account.

Oshiomhole stated that while Okonjo-Iweala, had claimed that the past administration left 4.1 billion dollars in the account, only 2.0 billion US dollars was found in it by the owners of the account; the three tiers of the government.

He stressed that there was the need to look into the account to see who authorised withdrawals from the account and what had necessitated such withdrawals.

NEC Ends Use Of Non-Revenue Officials For Collection Of Taxes

namadi_samboThe National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by the Vice President Namadi Sambo has directed the discontinuation of the practice of using non-revenue officials for collection of taxes and levies by states and federal agencies.

This is one of the recommendations by the  ministerial implementation committee set by NEC on the harmonisation of taxes, following the report by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria on multiple taxation across the federation and its effect on the economy

Briefing State House Correspondents on the development the governor of Anambra State, Dr Willie Obiano, said that the council is also to direct the Inspector General of Police to dismantle all road blocks mounted on high ways for revenue collection across the country.

Also, the NECl commended the move by the Ministry of Power to train over 3,700 staff on the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme.

The Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, had told the governors that for over 23 years there has not been any training for the technical manpower needed in transmission,generation and distribution sub-sector.

The governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, who spoke on the matter said the sum of 1.3 billion Naira is to be spent in funding the scheme.

NEC Begins Approval Process For 30-Year Infastructure Framework

namadi_samboThe National Economic Council (NEC) in Nigeria has begun consideration of a proposed 30-year National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIMP) and directed State Governors to make their input before the final document will be satisfied by the Council.

The NEC Meeting was held on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa and was chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo.

At the end of the meeting, the Vice President told reporters that the  National Infrastructural Master Plan( NIMP) (2014 to 2043) was a blueprint for accelerated infrastructure development in Nigeria in the next 30 years based on the need to raise infrastructure stock as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) from current 35 per cent to a minimum of 70 per cent.

The NIMP predominantly identifies the rehabilitation of major cross National transport links (road and rail), improvement of cross modal connectivity links
upgrading of major airports, Improvement of urban transportation, continuation of privatisation and upgrading of power assets and implementation of key gas pipeline infrastructure projects as quick-win projects to be incorporated in annual budgets.

Other aspects that the NIMP will focus on are; the development of staple crop processing zone, expansion of broadband connectivity, the development of Public Health Facilities and Diagnostic Centres, development of priority minerals, including Iron Ore and Coal, upgrading of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Education Facilities, rehabilitation of Security Facilities And Infrastructure and development of mortgage markets in Nigeria.

The National Planning Minister, Bashir Yuguda, pointed out that in putting the frame work together, the ministry considered states and individual Gross Domestic Products (GDP), population, landmass and resources amongst others.

The NEC commended him for a comprehensive report but directed the National Planning Commission and States Planning, fFnance Ministries to review the document in line with comments and observations from the Governors as well as reflect the actual required funding in view of the value of Nigeria’s rebased GDP.

Other dignitaries at the meeting were Governors Gabriel Suswan of Benue State and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State.

Nigeria To Establish Grazing Reserves To End Clashes

grazing_reservesDisturbed by the ugly clashes between cattle grazers and farmers in various parts of the country, Nigerian  government on Monday approved the constitution of a committee to work out modalities for establishing grazing reserves across the country.

Consequently, a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) made up of governors of the 36 states of the federation and some ministers has been set for Thursday, this week to give teeth to the proposed policy aimed at finding a lasting solution to the clashes that had led to the death of over 50 persons since the beginning of 2014.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, after a  meeting chaired byVice President Namadi Sambo,  cited recent communal clashes between Fulani cattle grazers and farmers in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau States and other parts of the country, noting that government has resolved to address the issue head-on.

He disclosed that the grazing reserve would also help to check the smuggling of arms and ammunition across the Nigerian borders by foreigners who come into the country disguised as cattle grazers

Dr Adesina announced that the government had put in place short term measure including the creation of new functional grazing reserves, deployment of satellite imagery, remote sensing and GPS maps to track movement of animals across the country.

Amaechi-Led NGF Calls For Okonjo-Iweala’s Resignation

The Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called on the Minister of Finance  and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to resign her appointment or manage the economy well.

They said the non-compliance with the revenue projections of the Federal Government 2013 Budget, was a direct breach of the provisions of the Appropriation Act, 2013.

These decisions were part of the resolutions of the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led NGF, which met on Tuesday evening.

Amaechi, who read the communique of the meeting, said “Members expressed concern in the management of the economy by the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and called for a strict adherence to the Appropriation Act, 2013.

They also pointed out that the National Economic Council (NEC) is the right body to manage the economy and not the Economic Management Team (EMT).

“Forum observed that the National Economic Council is constitutionally responsible for the management of the economy and should be used for that purpose as opposed to the Economic Management Team constituted by the Presidency.”

The governors also called on the National Assembly to separate the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation from that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government for the purpose of accountability and better management of the economy.

States which were represented by their governors at the meeting were those of Rivers, Niger, Kwara, Osun, Ekiti, Ogun, Adamawa, Oyo, Lagos, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara while deputy governors of Edo, Borno and Nasarawa states represented their governors.

Economic Council orders establishment of state and local disaster management units

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been directed by the National Economic Council (NEC) to help state and local governments put in place emergency management units to manage disaster before the arrival NEMA.

Governor of Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi, made this known while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the monthly meeting of the council in Abuja.

He said the directive was prompted by a presentation made by the Director-General of NEMA,  Mohammed Sani Sidi on the need to decentralize the functions of the agency to local and state governments.

Fayemi, however, maintained that the establishment of SEMA and Local Emergency Committees (LEMCs) by state and local governments respectively would provide effective and speedy disaster management in the country.

“The Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) briefed Council on steps that are being taken to provide effective and speedy disaster management in Nigeria and the role and relationship between NEMA and various State Emergency Management Agencies, particularly in terms of clarifying the laws backing State Emergency Agencies and ensuring that all States are encouraged to set up structures and institutions that would enable them response to emergencies in a speedy and efficient manner.

“NEMA also was asked to provide technical support, not just disaster relief after the facts, but technical support for these emergencies at the local level and necessary training to aid the States establish the State SEMA and then the Local Government Emergency Management Committees.”

According to him, the council also directed the Federal Ministry of Finance and state commissioners of finance to discuss details of the government’s Ecological Fund allocations to states to provide enough funding for SEMA and LEMCs.

Fayemi also stressed the need for the country to develop a “Disaster Management Protocol” to raise the level of awareness of the people on the implication of emergency situations.

Lagos and Bauchi states already have the proposed state controlled emergency management units but will have to go a step further in creating local units.

Excess Crude Account: FG opts for out of court settlement

The National Economic Council says it will within two weeks come up with a solution on how to settle the excess crude account litigation involving the federal government and the 36 state governors out of court.

The Supreme Court has given them up to 2nd September, to reach the out of court settlement over the issue or it will continue with the trials on the matter.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said that the decision to settle out of court is following the report by the sub-committee it set up to fashion out the modalities.

The economic council also said, henceforth, all state governments must defend their projects before the National Assembly before approvals for funding by (international donor agencies) for the execution of such projects can be approved.

The council asked state governments to also set up institutions that will enable them respond to emergencies and disasters anytime they happen without having to wait for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

 

Economic council urges the quick passage of PIB bill

The National Economic Council (NEC) has resolved to work towards the early passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The council at the end of its monthly meeting in Abuja on Thursday directed the Minister of Petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to present a roadmap on the conclusion and finalisation of the bill to enable the president present it as a matter of urgency to the national assembly.

It also agreed to set up a committee headed by the Minister of Petroleum resources to monitor the nation’s oil exports and imports in order to establish a reliable system for accurate data generation on revenue from oil.

Briefing state house correspondents after the meeting the Akwa Ibom state governor Godswill Akpabio stated that the membership of the committee include the Accountant-General of the federation, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and some governors.

He said that the National Economic Council also agreed on strengthening the laws against oil bunkering to save the nation from the massive revenue loss in the sector which has been put at N1billion monthly.

On the new tax regime the council directed the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to work with governors and come up with a reliable structure for tax drive urging the president, the governors and their deputies to pay tax on official emoluments.