Governors of Nigeria’s 36 states, on Thursday, met under the aegis of the National Economic Council (NEC), made a presentation on how they can partner effectively with the Federal Government to implement its recently approved N2.3tr stimulus programme.
At the virtual meeting, the 105th, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, the governors, welcoming the plan, expressed their commitment to working with the Federal Government.
The Vice President hinted of the possibility of two state governors joining the committee for the implementation phase of the plan, a move he believes, would bring synergy.
According to a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, state governments will also be actively involved in the process of executing projects in the plan, especially such projects based in the domains of respective States, in collaboration with other stakeholders and partners.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had while receiving the report of the Economic Sustainability Committee, described it as a National Plan which has gone through wide consultations.
The meeting was also attended by ministers and heads of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, who is also the Chairman of the NGF adhoc committee on the collaborative implementation of the NESP, commended the Osinbajo-led ESC for a job well-done, assuring that state governors were committed to the successful implementation of the plan.
Specifically, El-rufai said in the agriculture sector, each state is to contribute 20 hectares of land for cultivation, adding that in the area of mass housing, “NEC welcomes the plan to build 300,000 housing units across the country with an average of ten thousand homes per State.”
He therefore called for a nationwide mortgage system to support the plan.
The 2021 to 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was presented to the council by the Ministry of Finance, State Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
She also reported to council that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA), as of Tuesday, July 7, 2020, stood at $72,406,952.48; while that in the Stabilization Account, was N40,310,991,995.15. The Minister further put the balance in the Natural Resources Development Fund Account at N131, 598,414,041.89.
There were other presentations at today’s NEC including on Polio and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also briefing journalists on the recommendations of the interim report of the NEC adhoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown, the Committee Chairman and Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa said “the committee recommended that the Honorable Minister of Health should ensure the continuous provision of all essential health services in-order to ensure that people do not die from other diseases needlessly”.
According to the report presented by the governor to council, “the Presidential Task Force (PTF) should provide the operating guidelines to the States to enable them domesticate same given their peculiarities, norms and traditions, especially in opening of markets, religious places and schools etc.
Okowa noted that the major recommendation arising from the meeting is the proposed health workers allowance planned by the Federal Ministry of Health, adding that the ‘hazard’ allowance should not be imposed on States. Instead, he said there should be general guidance to enable each negotiate with its health workers based on its ability to pay.
He added that the Committee’s interim report presented to NEC recommends “that there should be rapid testing, tracing, isolation and treatment, and the NCDC and PTF should provide each State with laboratory testing facilities and ensure effective sample collection.”