The Federal Government has said that state governors would be involved in the implementation of the N2.3 trillion stimulus projects meant to provide economic succour to the people as a result of the ravaging Coronavirus.
This was one of the resolutions reached after the National Economic Council’s (NEC) virtual meeting chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa yesterday.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, who presented the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) 2021-2023 to the Council, also disclosed that the nation’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance as at 7th July stood at $72,406,952.48; Stabilization Account N40,310,991,995.15 and Natural Resources Development Fund Account N131, 598,414,041.89.
State governors at the meeting also told Federal Government not to impose specific amounts to be paid as hazard allowances to health workers on states, but allow them to negotiate based on their capacities.
According to a document made available to newsmen by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, the Council also resolved to co-opt some governors into the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) as the implementation of the Sustainability Plan proceeds.
According to him, the Vice President, after listening to the presentation of the governors on how they intended to collaborate with the Federal Government on the implementation of the stimulus projects, hinted on the possibility of including two of them in the ESC.
“Besides, 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,” he stated.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who is also the Chairman of the NGF ad hoc committee on the collaborative implementation of the NESP, commended the Osinbajo-led ESC for a job well-done and noted that state governors were committed to the successful implementation of the plan.
El-Rufai said: “In agriculture, each state is to make available 20 hectares of land for cultivation and with the contribution of lands from states, governors will appreciate land clearance as an incentive.
“In mass housing, NEC welcomes the plan to build 300,000 housing units across the country with an average of 10,000 homes per state,” el-Rufai noted while also calling for a nationwide mortgage system to support the plan.
Also briefing journalists on the recommendations of the interim report of the NEC ad hoc 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 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 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.”
“The hazard allowance should not be imposed on states, but presented with general guidance to enable each state negotiate with its health workers based on its ability to pay,” Okowa said.