Governors Approved $1bn For National Security – Osinbajo

Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday revealed that state governors resolved to approve money for national security after a national security summit organised by the National Economic Council.

The Vice President who presided over NEC gave the explanation at the opening of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/Secretaries to State Governments’ retreat at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He explained, “It was after a national security summit of the National Economic Council that Governors at their forum decided to approve some money for national security.”

The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Abdulaziz Yari, had at a NEC meeting last Wednesday announced that the governors had asked the Federal Government to withdraw $1bn from the Excess Crude Account to fight the insurgency.

The decision had, however, attracted controversies from groups and individuals, including the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose; and the opposition Peoples
Democratic Party.

Governors, Ministers Back Sale Of Assets To Fight Recession

There was an insight yesterday into the Federal Government’s battle against the recession that has hit the economy.
The government’s plan to exit the recession which got the backing of the National Economic Council (NEC) includes
assets sales;
advance payment of licence renewals;
infrastructure concessioning; and
implementation of fiscal stimulus.
The NEC is the highest economic decision body chaired by the vice president. Other members are governors and key ministers in charge of the economy and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor.
Some experts and leading politicians have suggested the sale of some assets, saying this will provide the cash to reflate the economy, reopen factories and put money in the people’s pockets.
Pushing this view are business giant Aliko Dangote, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Muhammad Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and Senate President Bukola Saraki, among others.
But Labour has condemned the idea, saying it will make a few to amass the wealth of all and deepen the seeming despair in the land.
Yesterday’s meeting, which started about 11.10am, was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
No fewer than 23 governors attended it. They include Governors Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Abubakar Mohammed (Bauchi), Willy Obiano (Anambra), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Abdufatah Ahmed (Kwara), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa).
Deputy governors of Rivers, Nasarawa, Katsina and Lagos represented their bosses.
A statement from the media office of the Vice President on the meeting said: “Rising from its monthly meeting today at the Presidential Villa, members of the National Economic Council, NEC, presided over by Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), expressed support for the plans and proposals of the Federal Government to steer the country out of recession.
“While acknowledging the current economic challenges and difficulties, governors at the meeting also endorsed the work of the President’s Economic Management Team and specifically commended the Budget & Planning and Finance Ministers.”
Among the measures for economic revitalisation, he said, are a plan to generate immediate larger injection of fund into the economy through assets sales, advance payment of licence renewals, infrastructure concessioning, and use of recovered funds etc to reduce funding gaps, implementation of Fiscal Stimulus/Budget Priorities.
“Council members in response commended the Economic Management Team and generally welcomed the presentation and expressed support for the plan to steer the nation out of recession.
“Under AOB, Council members expressed confidence in and unanimously commended the EMT and both the Budget & National Planning and Finance Ministers for the presentations to the Council, praising their efforts, competence and capabilities.”
The NEC also expressed confidence in the capability of Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma and Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and a few other senators on Wednesday pushed for the removal of Udoma and Adeosun for their ‘poor’ handling of the economy and the recession.
But, speaking with reporters at the State House yesterday at the end of the NEC meeting, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu said NEC praised the handling of the economy.
He was accompanied to the briefing by Ajimobi and Ogun State Deputy Governor Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga.
Bagudu said: “The National Economic Council met today at its sixth meeting of the year, which is the 70th National Executive Council meeting and the Ministers of Budget and National Planning and the Central Bank (of Nigeria) Governor made presentations and the highlights of the presentations were the sad news that the economy was in recession largely due to the dependency on single commodity which is crude oil, which prices we do not control.
“Oil price collapsed to less than $30 per barrel in first quarter of 2016 and market expectation is that it will remain low for a longer period.
“However, this crisis holds a silver lining to restructure the economy towards other areas that we believe we have comparative advantage.
“Fast track procedures through legislation and strategic implementation plan of the budget, meaningful diversification of the economy which will cut down importation.
“The members of the council responded and acknowledged with commendation the presentation by the economic team and support the plan to steer the nation out of recession.
“And, in particular, it was noted that our economic managers the National Economic Team are responding in competition with economic managers elsewhere. So it is not an easy task, it is a very difficult task and we crave the indulgence of our nation to give them a chance for the measures to take effect.”
Ajimobi said the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLR) presented the draft regulation on Land Use Act 2013 to NEC.
According to him, the regulation seeks to make provisions to streamline mortgage transactions and clearly delineate the rights, duties and obligations of a mortgage.
Ajimobi said the Minister of Finance made a presentation on Public Private Partnership (PPP) Initiatives on Affordable Housing.
Highlights of the presentation, he said, included target of N1 billion fund to operate PPP (N500 billion initial) to create a blended pool of long term funds to intervene in housing development finance and mortgage provision
He said the fund will deliver family housing for as low as N2.5 million up to N18 million delivered in a ready to occupy condition with essential services (water and power connected).
Ajimobi said: “The delivery target is 400,000 to 500,000 housing units per annum. The ultimate aim of the programme is to channel funds from savers to borrowers, so that builders have the required capital to construct and prospective buyers can access credit to purchase.
“The fund will attract low cost local and international capital, including from domestic pension and insurance funds, Federal Government funding, as well as contributions from state governments and other agencies.”
The states are to designate a liaison with whom Family Homes Fund can interface, expedite building plan approval process and security of land title, invest in enabling infrastructure, such as Federal roads.
Other benefits, Ajimobi said, include improved urban planning and development, employment generation and skills enhancement, and expansion of tax base.
Mrs. Onanuga said the NEC was briefed that the balance on Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at 20th September, 2016 was $2.453 billion.
She said Adeosun and CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele briefed NEC on best options for managing the floating forex policy introduced by Emefuele.
Highlights of the presentation, Mrs Onanuga said, included CBN -introduced cautious Monetary Policy orientation as dictated by consumer price and exchange rate, adoption of policy tightening measures for flexible forex rate to address persistent pressures caused by scarcity and speculative demands, improving market dynamics by CBN, interventions to states in the area of salaries and in commercial agriculture.
She said that the presentation also noted that controlling inflation is key to stabilising other macroeconomic indices and the current stance of monetary policy is expected to continue to help lock-in inflation expectations.
On the update on Budget Support Loan facility, Mrs Onanuga said the minister of finance reported to Council that N50 billion had so far been disbursed to state governments while the facility was ongoing.

As Economic Retreat Ends, FG, States Enter Into 71 Agreements

The two-day retreat of the National Economic Council (NEC) ended Tuesday in Abuja with federal authorities and the country’s 36 states agreeing on at least 71 proposals they believe will reinvigorate Nigeria’s wobbling economy.

The NEC is chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and its membership include the 36 state governors and some Ministers and heads of relevant government agencies.

At the end of the meeting, with theme: ‘Nigerian States: Multiple Centres of Prosperity’, participants took far-reaching decisions to urgently rescue the economy from collapse.

Decisions were taken in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals, revenue generation and fiscal stability, infrastructure and services, investment, industrialisation and enabling monetary policies. Proposal were also made on survival of the states and on how to invest in the Nigerian people.

A steering committee to implement the proposals was formed at the meeting. It is to be headed by Vice President Osinbajo.

Also constituted was an implementation monitoring committee headed by Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning.

President Muhammadu Buhari had delivered an address at the opening of the retreat, saying there is unanimity of opinion in Nigeria that the nation’s economy is in bad shape.

The president said four key areas, namely agriculture, power, manufacturing and housing, requires urgent attention to revive the economy.

Below are the proposals agreed at the meeting.
NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL RETREAT HIGHLIGHTS

Theme: Nigerian States: Multiple Centres of Prosperity

The following are highlights of the just concluded NEC Retreat:

1. Agreement reached for concerted and consistent efforts to diversify revenue sources

2. Expand compliance on VAT, adopting a gradual plan for rate increase

3. Increase expenditure through borrowing, which should be invested in infrastructure

4. Federal and State Governments to focus on fiscal responsibility as a critical element in macro-economic balance

5. Increase investment in infrastructure through public private partnership (PPP)

6.Develop financial inclusion strategies to cater for the poor and vulnerable population

7. Maintain a minimum level of capital expenditure of 30% in the budget

Thematic Areas – Agriculture

1. The Federal Government to re-position Bank of Agriculture to enhance its capacity to finance agriculture.

2. Funding for Agricultural sector is considered critical and sources of intervention funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria should be considered

3. A single digit interest rate for agricultural loans should be considered while duties and taxes for Agricultural products and equipment should be waived

4. Develop strategic partnerships between Federal and State government. Each State should make specific commitments to crops in which it has comparative advantage and request Federal Government intervention

5. National targets for self-sufficiency should be set for identified crops, which should be monitored. Tomato paste – 2016, Rice – 2018, Wheat – 2019

6. The Federal and State Governments should roll out agricultural extension services nationwide

7. The Commodity Exchanges should be established for price regulation and avoidance of losses due to lack of markets. The Abuja Commodity Exchange should be revitalised

8. The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) should be re-established

9. Federal Government should develop an Agriculture Implementation plan whereby State Governments are encouraged to identify at least two crops in which they have comparative advantage

10. States should open up of rural/feeder roads to facilitate transportation of agricultural produce to be supported by the Federal Government

11.The Federal and State Governments should establish minimum price guarantee for farm produce

12.The Federal Government should provide immediate funding to upscale efforts of Agricultural Institutes of Research and Development across Nigeria

13. State Governments should also be encouraged to fund research and development in agriculture through technical colleges, universities and research institutions

Thematic Area – Solid Minerals

1. Ministry of Solid Minerals Development to complete and present the solid minerals development roadmap. This framework should address issues of illegal miner, licenses, taxes and royalties by 31st March 2016

2. Federal government to engage with state government on the roadmap and agree any amendment that may be required by 30th June 2016

3. Initiate relevant legislative changes that maybe necessitated by the agreed roadmap by 31stJuly 2016

4. Conclude the revalidation/recertification of all mining leases by 30th September 2016

5. Agree with states and local government on respective responsibilities for developing feeder roads and other critical infrastructure for solid minerals development

6. Federal Government and States to set deadlines to achieve self-sufficiency in Bitumen/Asphalt and tiles (to discourage/stop importation)

7. Make and communicate final decisions on operationalization of Ajaokuta steel plant by 30th June 2016

8. Establishment of joint committee to address issues of data on quantity and quality of minerals exploited and exported

9. Setting up of mining cadastral zonal offices for proximity to States for the purpose of issuing licenses and easy monitoring by States

10. Discourage use of wood for cooking by promoting use of coal briquettes

11. Guarantee access to finance solid minerals development via intervention funds and private sector capital

12. Block revenue leakages in the sector through effective monitoring of activities in the mining sector

13. Organise artisanal/small-scale miners as a mechanism for reducing illegal mining and Establish Mines Surveillance Taskforce by September 2016

Thematic Area – Investment, Industrialisation and Enabling Monetary policies

1.Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment (MITI) to develop a matrix of actions to be taken by Federal and State Governments towards achieving the targeted improvements in Ease of Doing Business ranking by 30th April 2016

2. Present an incentive scheme for States taking actions towards improvement of the investment climate in their States including grants by 30th September 2016

3. Forge strong links between the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the State Investment Promotion Agencies

4. States to collaborate more actively on regional basis on investments and industrialization

5. The Federal Government should work with the States and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for trade and investment through the implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to encourage industrialization

6. Make environment conducive for the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises to create jobs for the unemployed and undertake deliberate policies to create access to funds

7. State and Federal Governments must emphasize the patronage of “Made in Nigeria” products. “Import competition” rather than “import substitution” should be emphasized

8. Governors to set up task forces to monitor implementation of trade/ investment policies and strengthen planning institutions by linking federal and sub-national planning; in this regard, a monthly meeting between the Minister of Budget & National Planning and State Commissioners for planning will be institutionalised

9. States to set up one-stop shop for investors where they do not currently exist to attract investment and improve on IGR Safeguard competitive market economy

10. Promote regional cooperation on investment and industrialisation

11. Implement institutional and structural reforms as a way of improving the efficacy of monetary policy including greater consultation with the National Economic Council

12. Predictability and consistency of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s communication to key stakeholders is required to manage expectations

13. The Central Bank of Nigeria should carry the States along in some of their reforms in areas of SMEs and Agricultural funding initiatives

14. Long-term development goals should anchor policy decisions

15. Effective regulation & supervision to improve confidence in the soundness and stability of the banking system

Thematic Area – Infrastructure and Services
1.Develop infrastructure delivery plan considering current financial capabilities driven principally by the goal of improvement of the quality of life for the populace

2.Develop financing model for infrastructure projects

3. Integrate training and job creation components in infrastructure projects

4. Implement empowerment and entrepreneurship policies to foster inclusive growth

Thematic Area – Investing in our people

1. Federal and State Governments to work collaboratively to ensure sustainability of the school feeding and other social protection programmes

2. Cooperation from the States’ Ministries of Education and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEBs) for the Teacher Corp program

3. Provide logistics support on the proposed upgrade of 75 existing National Directorate of Employment (NDE) facilities (across the various States) to Empowerment Centers

4. Cooperation and coordination with the States on their specific job creation efforts

5. State Government support on identified needs such as infrastructure and/or space for innovation hubs

6. State Government support for artisan training, scoping and support for existing artisan cultures, use of existing training facilities

7. Institutionalize a single register as a platform for targeting the authentic poorest and vulnerable for safety net programs; for government, donor agency, organizations or individuals

8. Creating a delivery mechanism that ensures efficient, consistent timely and direct payments in the remotest parts of the country

9. Boost productivity and financial inclusion for the poorest and most vulnerable

Thematic Area – Revenue Generation and Fiscal Stability
1. There is need for deliberate effort to generate relevant data on the respective economies of the states and the nation generally in order to drive revenue generation

2. FIRS and SIRS need to invest in relevant technology to support efforts to improve tax collection

3. There is a need to develop incentive schemes for federal and state revenue generating agencies

4. FIRS and SIRS need to actively collaborate on initiatives to improve tax collection, including joint audits of major corporate tax payers

5. All state governments are encouraged to establish efficiency units to review/enhance the quality of expenditure as well as plug revenue leakages

6. Focus on property and consumption taxes will help in improving revenues in a fair manner

7. Tax-payer education should be intensified to expand the tax base and avoid political back-lash from intensifying tax collection

8. State Government are encouraged to rationalise number of Ministers, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries

9. Cost control measures should be identified and implemented on an ongoing basis; in this regard various examples from Nigeria and other countries are recommended

Thematic Area – Survival of States and Beyond

1. Strengthen States Peer Review Mechanism under auspices of the Governors Forum and the National Economic Council (NEC) to promote sharing of good practices between the Federal and States Governments
NEC RETREAT – IMPLEMENTATION STEERING COMMITTEE FORMED:

• To oversee the work of the implementation committee
• To provide appropriate steers to the Implementation Monitoring Committee to ensure that the resolutions agreed at the retreat are duly followed up

HE Prof. Yemi Osinbajo
Vice President and Chairman of NEC
Chairman

HE Abdulaziz Y. Abubakar
Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Zamfara State
Member

HE Adams Oshiomhole
Governor of Edo State
Member

HE Abdulfatah Ahmed
Governor of Kwara State
Member

HE Rauf Aregbesola
Governor of Osun State
Member

HE David Umahi
Governor of Ebonyi State
Member

HE Badaru Abubakar
Governor of Jigawa State
Member

HE Mohammed Abubakar
Governor of Bauchi State
Member

Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma
Hon. Minister of Budget and National Planning
Member

Mrs. Kemi Adeosun
Hon. Minister of Finance
Member

Dr. Okechukwu Enelama
Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment
Member

Chief Audu Ogbe
Hon. Minister of Agriculture
Member

Dr. Kayode Fayemi
Hon. Minister of Solid Minerals
Member

Mr. Babatunde Fashola
Hon. Minister of Works, Power and Housing
Member

Mrs. Nana F Mede
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning
Secretary
NEC RETREAT – IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING COMMITTEE FORMED

• To follow up the implementation of the resolutions of the retreat

• To receive steers from the Steering Committee regarding the follow up of the implementation

• To provide progress reports to the Steering Committee on the implementation

NAME
DESIGNATION
ROLE

Mrs Zainab S. Ahmed
Hon. Minister of State, Budget and National Planning
Chairman

Mrs Yosola Akinbi
Senior Technical Adviser to the Vice President on the National Economic Council
Member

Mr. L.O.T. Shittu
DG, Nigeria Governors Forum
Member

Mr. David Olofu
Commissioner for Finance and Planning, Benue State
Member

Mr. Mohammed Kauji
Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Borno State
Member

Dr. E.A. Onwiodokif
Comm. for Economic Planning, Akwa Ibom State
Member

Mrs. Aisha M. Bello
Comm. for Budget and Planning, Kano State
Member

Mrs. Aderenle Adesina
Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Ogun State
Member

Mr. Mark Okoye
Special Adviser, Economic Planning and Budget, Anambra State
Member

Mr. Tunde Lawal
Director, Macroeconomic Analysis Department, Fed. Min. BNP
Member

Mr. Kayode Obasa
Director, Economic Growth, FMBNP
Member

Mr. A.B. Saadu
Director, Special Duties
Member

FG To Stimulate Economy With N350bn In Next Quarter

The Nigerian government says it will inject N350 billion to stimulate its economy, which is facing a severe crisis occasioned by falling oil prices.

Nigeria’s economic growth in the last quarter stood at 2.1 percent. The total growth recorded in 2015 was 2.8 percent, the slowest since 1999, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS.

Briefing journalists at the end of a two-day National Economic Council (NEC) retreat at the conference hall of the Presidential Villa, the minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said the N350 billion would be spent mostly on capital projects and job creation.

“From the Federal Ministry of Finance in anticipation of the approval of the budget, we have virtually lined up about N350billion which we would be pumping into the Nigerian economy in the forthcoming months.

“We explained our rationale and the processes that we have put in place, safeguards to ensure that this money actually achieve the desired objective, which is to stimulate the economy.

“We are already discussing with some of the contractors who will be paid these monies and the objectives from the overall criteria is how many Nigerians would be re-engaged.

“We are specifically looking at contractors who have laid off staff and how many Nigerians are you going to put back to work as a result of this money that we are planning to release.

“We believe this would bring significant economic activity,” she said.

Ms. Adeosun said the retreat, which was the first by the present administration, deliberated extensively on the drop in revenue, particularly as to how it affects the state government and their ability to pay salaries and fulfil other obligations.

According to her, the general resolve of the council was that there was a need to bring in more cost efficiency in the operations of government, specifically the setting up an efficiency unit within the state governments, to rationalize expenditure and to increase IGR.

She said there was a need to generate data because data is the basis of any revenue collecting efforts, just as there was a need to develop incentives for both federal and state revenue generating agencies to ensure alignment of interest between the two arms of government.

The governors, Ms. Adeosun said, were tasked to focus on property and consumption taxes in their states to help improve their revenue in a fair manner.

“Tax payer education must be intensified and to expand the tax base and ensure that there is a buy-in in the revenue collection agencies from the populace” she said.

State governors were also encouraged to, where possible, rationalize the number of commissioners and general political appointees as well as adopt cost control measures to be able to sustain their states.

NEC also discussed the need to review the counterpart funding needed to access the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) fund from 50 percent to 10 percent.

The states currently need to have a counterpart fund of 50 percent to access the UBEC grants,

Upon review, it would become 10 and 90 percent contribution.

According to the minister, this will release an estimated “58 billion naira that is currently un-accessed”.

The minister said the council discussed that with N53billion, Nigeria could revamp at least 1,000 of the worst classrooms in each of the 36 states.

She said the council also discussed getting a “legislative approval to change the need for counterpart funding on the part of state governments”.

National Economic Council Announces Two-day Retreat To Discuss Volatile Economy

The National Economic Council (NEC) says it would hold a two-day retreat next week in order to stimulate the Nigerian economy.

The retreat is set for Monday, March 21 to Tuesday the 22nd to steer out policy actions for states and the federal government.

In a statement by the Laolu Akande, senior special assistant on media and publicity to the Vice President, the team said President Muhammadu Buhari would deliver the keynote address during the formal opening session on Monday.

Akande added that this is by no means the emergency economic conference as suggested by some parties.

“The objective of the NEC Retreat is to provide a forum for in-depth discussions by NEC members of the policy actions that the state and federal governments can consider in order to stimulate local production, cut costs and enhance public revenues among other measures to stimulate the economy,” he said.

“Contrary to suggestions, the retreat is not an emergency national economic conference. The idea was mooted at the last regular NEC meeting in January, where members requested an intensive session to review economic trends and evolve strategies to cope.”

Akande said the Vice President and chairman of NEC, would preside over the retreat with governors from the 36 states of the federation attending.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the budget and national planning minister, Udo Udoma, are among other top government functionaries expected to speak at the retreat.