The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has revealed plans to engage leaders of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors, (NARD) over its planned industrial action.
The decision formed part of the communique issued at the end of the virtual meeting of the governors on Wednesday where they deliberated on a number of national issues including the COVID-19 pandemic.
NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi said among other things the forum will work our modalities to reach a truce with the resident doctors to avert another crisis in the health sector.
He explained that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education is also facilitating access to unrealized funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) fund while also waiting for an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from states in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on state finances.
He added that testing remains the number one priority for the government while 29 states have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19.
Read Full Statement Below:
ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 15th TELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 19th AUGUST 2020
We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NGF Chairman provided an update on the following:
Discussions are ongoing with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education to facilitate access to unrealized funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund. The Forum is also awaiting an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from States in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on State finances.
29 States have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19. Testing remains the number one priority for the government. 32 States in the country now have molecular laboratories while investments are being directed to the remaining 4 States.
Data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country show that 20 local government areas in the country account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded. In light of this, all State governments will be required to scale up risk communications campaigns in these areas through State and local structures.
The NEC Security Ad-Hoc Committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti, Katsina, Borno, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Kogi, and Lagos met with Mr. President on 11th August 2020 to present the concerns of governors on the security situation in the country. At the meeting, the President called for better inter-service coordination and assured governors that necessary security equipment was being provided to the security agencies.
The Forum also received updates from the following:
The Forum received an update from H.E Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who’s leading the NGF Committee interfacing with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation on the implementation of Executive Order 10. The Committee is currently working on a template acceptable to all parties for the implementation of financial autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.
The NGF HelpDesk Programme Manager, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajogbasile provided an update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme. The NGF in collaboration with the World Bank has negotiated a flexible payment term for the acquisition of a Software as a Service (SaaS) e-procurement solution for all States in the country. States can now make 30% advance payment for the solution after signing the framework contract. The software which is aimed at improving public procurement in the country has many advantages over traditional models of business software installation including lower upfront cost, quick set up and deployment, easy upgrade, accessibility and scalability.
States were also encouraged to publish a Consolidated Revenue Code, Public Procurement Law and Debt Management Law on or before 30th September 2020 to be assessed under the SFTAS 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA)
Thereafter, members of the Forum resolved as follows:
Scale up the implementation of the Risk Communications Community Engagement (RCCE) strategy developed by the Presidential Task on COVID-19. The strategy will provide the necessary impetus on communicating with the public so that communities can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a sustainable approach. State governments will also be able to identify and engage with all the relevant multisectoral partners as the success of this strategy. Commissioners of information are to head this exercise nationwide.
The Forum will continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing the UBE Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
State governments will continue to provide appropriate support to the independent verification teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) who are currently in States to conduct the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment for the SFTAS programme.
The States are to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors NARD in order to forestall their intention to embark on industrial action.