The National Economic Council has proposed a budget of a 100 billion naira for the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
Chairman of the sub committee on farmer herders crisis, Governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi told State House Correspondents that it was agreed that the Federal Government would bear 80 percent of the amount while participating states would support with 20 billion naira and provision of lands for the programme.
He reiterated that states are free to use any animal of their choice in the implementation of the programme and that a date for the effective take off of the programme will be decided at its next meeting in October.
The Edo state Governor says Nigeria has so far lost 1.3 billion dollars worth of crude oil to theft and pipeline vandalism in the first quarter of 2019.
Mr Obaseki who chairs a thirteen man NEC sub-committee mandated to investigate the impact of the attacks on oil installations in the creeks of the Niger Delta, warned that from the committee’s findings, the nation stands to loose as much as 2.7 billion dollars by the end of the year if the situation is not urgently checked.
The Edo Governor disclosed a number of recommendations by the Council to include the need to restructure the maintenance and ownership of pipelines in the country, prosecution of criminals and creation of special court to handle the cases.
The committee according to him also recommended that the NNPC work with the National Intelligence Agency to track countries benefiting from the stolen crude oil.
The Council he says have resolved to submit the recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari.
At a separate briefing, the inspector General of police, Mohammed Adamu declared that there a drastic reduction in the spate of kidnapping, banditry and cultism in the country compared with the last quarter.
Members of the National Economic Council (NEC) are currently meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and some governors.
Professor Osinbajo is chair of the meeting which also has in attendance the governors of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi, Plateau, Simon Lalong, Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, the Deputy Governor of Adamawa state, Martins Nasir.
President Buhari asked Governors to rally the Local Government Chairmen in their states, to work towards improving education, and ensure that the next four years should focus on improving Internally Generated Revenue, Value Added Tax, and Agricultural Output.
In attendance were the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, state Governors and their deputies.
Others present include, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Read Full Text Below:
KEYNOTE ADDRESS OF HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, ON THE INAUGURATION OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL (NEC), HELD ON THURSDAY 20TH JUNE, 2019, COUNCIL CHAMBERS, PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ABUJA
I am delighted to be with you this afternoon to inaugurate the National Economic Council (NEC).
2. NEC is established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended. By virtue of Section 153 and paragraph 18 of the 3rd Schedule to the Constitution, NEC has the mandate to advise the President on economic policy of the country and in particular, co-ordination of the economic planning efforts, and programmes of the three- tiers of Government.
3. I am very happy to observe that during our first term of office, the Council made very significant progress, holding an unprecedented total of 38 meetings and setting up 10 Ad-Hoc Committees to address various issues of national concern. In the course of its deliberations, it came up with a total of 173 resolutions, cutting across eight areas, namely; a. Agriculture and Solid Minerals;
b. Investments Promotion and Industrialization;
c. Monetary and fiscal stability;
e. Health and Education;
f. Revenue Generation;
g. Security and
h. Support for States.
4. The resolutions were designed to energize the various sectors of the Nigerian economy to which the eight areas relate. Initiatives brought about by the NEC resolutions are either implemented already or at different stages of implementation across the country. Together, they have proved to be of utmost importance in dictating the pace of national development.
5. I therefore urge the NEC Coordination Team to press forward with key initiatives that will strengthen the implementation mechanism, enhance cooperation across States and further promote joint deliberations, peer learning and experience sharing, under a very strong Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.
6. Your Excellencies, I want you to pay special attention to the four major issues of security, education, health and agriculture in the coming years of this tenure. As you are no doubt aware, our successes in these four areas will go a long way in lifting our people out of poverty and secure our future for sustainable growth and development.
7. On Security, government will continue to rate security of lives and properties as top priority on our agenda. We are firmly committed to securing the territorial integrity of our nation, while confronting the remnants of terrorists, bandits and other criminals across the country. There must be collective and deliberate efforts by all to improve the security of lives and properties across the country. Security is a bottom to top operation. Everybody must be involved for total success.
8. On education, I want to stress in particular the need to take very seriously and enforce very rigorously the statutory provisions on free and compulsory basic education. Section 18(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended places on all of us here an obligation to eradicate illiteracy and provide free and compulsory education.
9. Section 2 of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act provides that every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age. It is indeed a crime for any parent to keep his child out of school for this period. In my view, when a government fails to provide the schools, teachers and teaching materials necessary for basic education, it is actually aiding and abetting that crime.
10. This is therefore a call to action. I would like to see every Governor rise from this meeting and rally his local Government Chairmen towards ensuring that our schools offer the right opportunities and provide the needed materials and teachers for basic education, at the minimum. If we are able to do this, the benefits will surely manifest themselves.
11. Ensuring proper education during the first nine years of schooling means that our children start off their lives with some discipline and education. They will be safeguarded from roaming the streets, and protected from all the evil influences that assail idle hands and idle minds.
12. Whatever they choose to do thereafter, children with basic education will be better prepared to learn and to appreciate their own role in society. This will also go a long way in solving our security and other anti-social problems, which are often the manifestations of early delinquency. I therefore think every Governor here should make a firm commitment to be personally involved in ensuring that every child of school age actually goes to school throughout the crucial nine years of basic education.
13. On our own part, the Federal Government will strive to extend the school feeding programme which will not only encourage school enrolment but also enhance the health and learning capabilities of pupils. We will also assist States as much as possible to access the counterpart funding provided by UBEC for the development of basic education.
14. As I already indicated, public healthcare is also a major sector of concern where States and Local Governments have crucial roles to play. Health is an area where the neglect of one person quickly amounts to the neglect of many. It is in our collective interest that each and every citizen gets at least a minimal access to healthcare, including primary, preventive and emergency care.
15. Funding is again a major problem in this regard, so we must take more seriously the idea of universal health insurance and strive to make it work in our respective domains. We must also find ways of assisting the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, who cannot even afford to pay the premium. We must therefore resolve to increase budgetary allocation to health and ensure prompt fund releases to keep the hospitals and primary healthcare centres in operation at all times.
16. The Federal Government is now implementing the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund. By this, we hope to achieve at least 65 percent increase in the share of the population covered by primary healthcare by 2023, up from the 12.6 percent we cover at the moment.
17. Accordingly, it is imperative for us to do more on diversifying the economy, and this necessarily entails the sustenance and even acceleration of the agricultural revolution, which is already firmly rooted in some States. Of our nearly one million hectares of land, about 77% is confirmed suitable for agriculture.
18. The potentials are therefore huge, both for the domestic and international markets. Mechanisation and agro-allied industry are very big areas still largely untapped and awaiting investment, both by government and the private sector. I therefore urge you to take agriculture most seriously as a very viable developmental enterprise.
19. While the Federal Government has primary responsibility for security and will not shy away from it, the States also have a critical role to play; in particular Your Excellencies, as State Governors. You can definitely make a difference, not just by assisting the security agencies in your respective States, but also by keenly pursuing policies and programmes that forestall communal, tribal, religious and societal conflicts; policies and programs that promote education, information, dispute resolution, vocational training and youth employment.
20. I have no doubt that if these four areas – security, education, health and agriculture – are actively implemented and closely monitored by NEC and the Governors’ Forum, we shall in the near future see a more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
21. Your Excellencies, the Federal Government in the last four years has demonstrated unwavering inclusiveness in dealing with every State, notwithstanding the political leaning of the Governor or the predominant party in power at the State level. I want this to be your model at the State level. No matter which party we belong to, let us shun divisive policies and join hands together for the upliftment of our people.
22. Going forward, States must in the next four years find ways to increase internally generated revenues, improve VAT collection and increase agricultural output without disrupting business activities. I also want you to work with the Federal Agencies and the service providers in ensuring that broadband infrastructure is made available all over the country. Information and Communication Technology is the future of work and we must not allow ourselves to be left behind.
23. Let me restate the high expectations on NEC as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that are expected to drive growth and development, secure our environment and take the country to the next level. Your Excellencies, the challenges that confront us in the next few years, especially in the areas of security, human capital development and employment for our youths are monumental and historic. But we are more than equal to the task.
24. I have the honour and privilege to formally inaugurate the National Economic Council today, and to wish you all a very successful tenure.
The leadership of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has criticized the federal government for failing to re-constitute the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), almost three years after it was dissolved.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja, President of the NMA, Francis Faduyile said the non-constitution of the regulatory body has encouraged lots of unprofessional practices in the medical sector.
Faduyile also decried the inability of the government to pay the salaries of medical doctors who work at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Federal Medical Centre in Umuahia, a situation the body claims has resulted in ongoing industrial action.
Three years ago, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the immediate dissolution of the MDCN council alongside the council of other agencies and parastatals of the Federal Government.
From then on, the NMA and other stakeholders in the medical profession had consistently reminded the government of the dangers of not constituting the Council and how it had negatively affected medical practice in Nigeria.
Dr Faduyile told journalist in September that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NMA asked the government to urgently reinstate the council in order to enhance the operations of MDCN.
He disclosed that NEC had directed its National Officers’ Committee (NOC) to approach the courts to seek an interpretation of the statement “the Council shall be a body corporate in with perpetual succession” as clearly stated in MDCN Act Cap M8.
The NOC, according to Faduyile, was also directed by the NEC to take all necessary actions to compel the Federal Government to reconstitute the MDCN Council on or before 30th September, being the 10th weeks after a declaration and assurance by President Buhari that MDCN Council shall be reconstituted soon.
The National Economic Council (NEC) would meet on Friday next week, to review the performance of the nation’s economy from January 2018 to date.
This is according to the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abdul’Aziz Yari of Zamfara State who briefed State House correspondents on Monday in Abuja.
Governor Yari made the disclosure after he led governors of Borno and Kaduna, Kashim Shettima and Nasir El-Rufai, to meet with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo behind closed doors.
On what was discussed at today’s meeting, he said, “It is about the NEC, discussing of the good date for the NEC because this is the end of the year and usually, we used to have extended NEC meeting and looking at who should be invited, being the last year for the election.”
The Governor added, “That is what we discussed, and we agreed that the NEC is going to be held on Friday, December 14.”
He further gave an insight into measures being put in place by the government in Zamfara to address the security challenges in the state.
Yari explained the reason behind the deposing of some traditional rulers in the state, citing alleged complicity with armed bandits and the need to fish out the culprits.
He revealed that the state government has engaged intelligence expert for investigations, stressing that more traditional rulers would be dismissed if found culpable.
“What we are trying to do is to teach a lesson because the problem we have in Zamfara State in the north-west is a kind of peculiar problem that some of the traditional rulers are supporting the banditry activities or taking advantage or taking money from them or relationship; that is very dangerous,” the governor said.
He added, “Any one that we find wanting in this, definitely he must face punishment, and we are trying to use every avenue that we have to ensure that we fish out those that are within us – within the traditional rulers and outside.
“That is why we hired intelligence; we hired the civilian JTF and all of them so that they can help us by giving us the details.”
According to Governor Yari, the government engaged about 2600 people in its resolve to tackle banditry, but this is not enough because the people are strange to the terrain.
He said they have, however, employed indigenes who would lead the security agencies to their doorsteps and were already getting positive results.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal and state governments are committed to the decentralisation of policing in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, the objective of the decentralisation is to improve the level of policing and security in the country.
The statement was released on Thursday night, hours after the National Economic Council (NEC) backed the Federal Government’s plan to decentralise the police.
Apart from backing the plan, the NEC set up a committee comprising state governors and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to ensure its actualisation.
Other issues discussed at the meeting include the remittance of tax by state governments, the development of Micro, Small, and Medium Enerprises (MSMEs) and an update on the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee.
Read the full statement from the office of the Acting President about the NEC meeting below:
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
SECURITY: FG, GOVERNORS READY TO DECENTRALISE POLICING IN NIGERIA
*There is relative calm in Benue, says Deputy Governor
Short of constitutional amendment, the Federal Government and State Governors have resolved to explore how the operations of the Nigeria Police can be decentralised in order to improve the level of policing and security in the country.
This is one of the highlights of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting today where a Committee of state governors and the Inspector-General of Police has been set up to ensure the decentralisation. Members of the Committee include the Governors of Zamfara, Ondo, Plateau, Ebonyi, Katsina, Edo and Borno states, who will work with the IGP, Ibrahim Idris.
At the NEC meeting, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), assured that the Intelligence Community and Security Agencies will continue to sustain current efforts to mitigate the security challenges across the country.
Monguno had earlier briefed the Council on security matters.
Briefing State House correspondents, the Deputy Governor of Benue state, Mr. Benson Abounu, commended the efforts of the security agencies at mitigating the spate of insecurity in the state.
He especially thanked the security agencies for the thoroughness of Operation Whirl-Stroke, mounted by the Nigerian Army, in Benue State for their decisive operation which, according to him, has brought relative peace to the state.
Abounu, who spoke to reporters, said, “The security situation in Benue State has improved significantly. Now many Internally Displaced Persons have returned home, the State is relatively calm”.
At the NEC meeting also, presentations were made on Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax by States and MDAs by the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr. Babatunde Fowler.
Dr. Fowler informed Council that the audit of the States MDAs has commenced with respective Governors and Finance Commissioners duly notified, adding that the total outstanding VAT and Withholding debt of States’ MDAs stand at N41,047,661,213.66 for the period 2008 to 2016.
Below are highlights of NEC deliberations:
NEC (8TH IN 2018) 91ST NEC MEETING – THURSDAY, 16TH AUGUST, 2018
A. SECURITY BRIEFING BY THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER (NSA)
· The National Security Adviser (NSA), on behalf of the Security Chiefs in the country, briefed Council on the current security challenges across the country, particularly in the North West, North East, Middle Belt, South East and South-South.
· He informed Council on efforts being made by the Federal Government and urged the State Governments to support Federal Government’s efforts in dealing with the challenges in their respective States, particularly those with local perspectives.
· The NSA assured that the Intelligence Community and Security Agencies will continue to sustain current efforts to mitigate the security challenges across the country.
Council Decision Cases of bandits should be prosecuted and adequately publicised by the States and Attorney-General encouraged to personally lead the prosecution.
Council recommended that a Committee of NEC with representatives from the geopolitical zones, including Zamfara, Ondo, Plateau, Ebonyi, Katsina, Edo and Borno States be set up to meet with the IG of Police, to determined how to ensure the decentralisation of the police operations as quickly as possible.
Council also thanked the NSA and the Service Chiefs for their efforts
B. PRESENTATION ON STRATEGIES FOR OPTIMISING THE CONTRIBUTION OF MSMES TO THE COUNTRY’S TAX REVENUE PROFILE BY THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE SERVICE (FIRS)
Highlights of the presentation, among others, are:
· The presentation centred on the contribution of MSMEs to GDP, National Export and to Tax collection for 2015 – 2018. · It also highlighted the challenges impeding the optimization of MSMEs contribution to Tax Revenue. · MSMEs are classified into: Micro Enterprises, Small Enterprises and Medium Enterprises. · National Bureau of Statistics, in partnership with the MSMEs, gave the number of MSMEs in Nigeria as 37,067,419. · When adequately harnessed, MSMEs can have much impact on the profile tax revenue for the country – especially considering their direct correlation with personal Income Tax, VAT and Withholding Taxes.
Challenges Impeding Optimization of MSMEs Contribution to Tax Revenue: among others · Poor record-keeping and information management. · Inability to distinguish personal capital from business money. · Low awareness of Nigerian Tax Laws. · Little or no business research leading to close of business.
FIRS Strategies and Rates – among others
Actions Adequate man-power has been deployed to promptly attend to all tax related challenges by MSMEs.
Respective organs of Government saddled with disbursement and utilization of tax revenue should endeavour to be transparent and accountability in order to motivate Voluntary Tax Compliance by the MSMEs.
Government at all levels should endeavour to provide infrastructural facilities and enabling business environment to allow MSMEs Business to thrive.
C. REPORT ON VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT) AND WITHHOLDING TAX (WHT) BY STATES OF THE FEDERATION, MDAS OF GOVERNMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN, FIRS
Highlights of the report among others are; It is a report to Council on critical issues on the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT), status report on States Tax Audit exercise, total remittances by the States’ MDAs and contribution to non-import VAT.
Council is informed that the total outstanding debt of States’ MDAs stands at N41,047,661,213.66 for the period 2008 to 2016. Process of bringing up-to-date status of VAT and WHT remittances by all States and MDAs by the FIRS is on.
For ease of VAT/WHT collection and automatic remittances of deductions to TSA, FIRS has deployed a Software Payment Platform (SPP) to facilitate States, MDAs computerisation and remittances.
The report informed Council that remittances from States (January to July 2018) stands at N40,299,839,092.79.
FIRS has duly notified the Governors and Finance Commissioners of the ongoing audit exercise and requests the cooperation and collaboration of the States for the success and timely conduct and completion of the exercise.
The report noted that the Honourable Minister of Finance has directed the Federal MDAs and States to verify the authenticity of Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) online as presented by contractors before awarding contracts.
Federal and States MDAs are enjoined to send copies of Manual TCCs issues before August 22, 207 to FIRS for verification before awarding and making payments.
Action Points All States MDAs are encouraged to adopt the use of the Payment platform or a comparative alternative – Governors to ensure compliance. Action Points · All States MDAs are encouraged to adopt the use of the Payment platform or a comparative alternative – Governors to ensure compliance. · States Governors should direct their MDAs to cooperate with FIRS Auditors for timely completion of the States Audit exercise.
D. FAAC UPDATE:
REPORT ON EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA)
Honourable Minister of Finance also reported to the Council that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at August 14, 2018 stands at $2,250,434,918.00.
UPDATE ON STABILIZATION FUND ACCOUNT:
Honourable Minister of Finance reported to the Council that the current balance in the Stabilization Account as at August 14, 2018 stands at N21,591,091,564.37.
UPDATE ON NATURAL RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT FUND
Honourable Minister of Finance equally reported to the Council that the current balance in the Natural Resources Development Fund as at August 14, 2018 stands at N143,479,688,711.25.
The National Economic Council (NEC) has approved plans for the decentralisation of the Nigerian Police Force.
The council backed the plan on Thursday during its meeting, which was chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno told journalists after the meeting that it was important to the police because of the security threats in the country.
“These threats are increasingly asymmetric in nature and I stressed upon the need the deal with these problems in a more collective manner,” Monguno said.
“It is true that it is the responsibility of the security agencies to deal with these threats, but the complexities of insecurity in the 21st Century are such that you need a whole of govt and society to approach in dealing with these issues.”
To achieve the objective, the NEC set up a committee to be chaired by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
The committee is to come up with recommendations on how the planned decentralisation can be achieved.
According to Monguno, the decentralisation will also enable states to play a more significant role in ensuring security.
He said, “I emphasised to the council the need for the state to collaborate with and support the Federal Government in dealing with each individual threats.
“These threats differ from one zone to another and find a way of linking with security agencies so that we can find a lasting solution.
“These things cannot be overcome within a short period that is the hard truth. What we have decided to do is to work on certain methods.”
In arriving at its decision, the NEC also reviewed the resolutions and recommendations of the 2017 Security Summit.
State governors in Nigeria have called for an end to the rising cases of killings in the country and asked security agencies to take more drastic action to halt the bloodshed.
They made the call on Thursday when the National Economic Council met in the State House, Abuja.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State told reporters after the meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, that there is a growing concern, in the council and elsewhere, over the killings.
“I believe that all the appropriate agencies are aware that the concern is growing and I am confident that they will listen to the pleas of people and do something more drastic than has been done so far,” Governor Obiano said.
Still on security, the Anambra governor said the $1bn deducted from the Excess Crude Account for security purposes has yet to be expended.
The NEC has, however, taken a decision to set up a federal project monitoring unit to identify crucial areas for intervention, especially to mitigate flood and erosion situations.
Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abubakar, who also addressed reporters after the meeting, said the Federal Government has directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to fast-track the decongestion of prisons and set up a stakeholders committee to that effect.
To help decongest the prisons, the council set free 1,310 inmates with minor offences with an option of fine.
The National Economic Council (NEC) has demanded the refund of N526billion and $21b unpaid by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) and 16 other revenue generating Agencies including the Nigeria Customs Service and NIMASA.
The total sum remitted to the Federation Account amounts to about 8.1 trillion Naira.
The meeting which was held on Thursday and headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, noted that the adopted the reports of the technical audit by KPMG between 2010 and 2015 and resolves to identify instances of criminal infringements and forward to the Attorney General of the Federation as well as the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further actions.
NEC resolved to pursue strengthening of the NNPC Governance structure to stop further shortchanging of the Federal Government.
This comes after the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) queried the spending of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and asked it to clarify its expenses.
Chairman of the Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdul’Aziz Yari, stated this on behalf of his colleagues after they met in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Addressing reporters on Wednesday night, Governor Yari said the forum was concerned about the implementation of the ‘cash-call agreement’ of the corporation.
The term describes a counterpart funding contract between the Federal Government and the multi-national oil companies, allowing the NNPC to invest about 60 percent of its equity.
The NGF Chairman, however, disclosed that the governors resolved to suspend the payment of cash-call, and payment of all arrears until the NNPC clarifies its spending.
According to him, the decision was taken because the corporation could not ascertain the actual figure of debt paid so far.
The National Economic Council says the movement of herdsmen has to stop across the country, especially in the five states that have been adversely affected by killings attributed to the herdsmen-farmers conflict.
The states, according to the council, are Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara states.
“This movement by the nomadic herdsmen has to stop,” Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi who headed the sub-committee on the farmers/herders’ crisis told State House correspondents after the NEC meeting on Thursday.
Beyond seeking a ban on grazing, the council approved ranching across the affected states, which are expected to make land available for ranches.
In all, we agreed that the most profitable and modern way of rearing this cattle is by ranching,” the governor said.
“And so we’ve agreed that the five states that are involved are going to give land. Niger has also given land – though it is outside the five states, Kaduna has also given land. Plateau is giving land and ranching is already in practice in Mambilla in Taraba State and they have success stories with regard to that.
The Governor Umahi-led committee had earlier visited the affected states on a fact-finding mission.