Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Governors of the 36 States have asked the Federal Government to suspend the State counterpart funds required for accessing the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) virtual meeting on Wednesday night.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) was introduced by the Federal Government in 1999. The scheme was introduced with the aim of providing free, universal and basic education for every Nigerian child between the ages of 6 and 15.
The communique signed by the NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, explained that 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.
According to him, 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.
‘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,’ he said.
He also said States are to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors NARD in order to forestall their intention to embark on an industrial action.
Fayemi further said the NGF in collaboration with the Word 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.
He added that states can now make 30 percent 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),’ he stated.