From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The governors of the 36 states of the federation have authorised the Federal Government to take $1 billion out of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to support the insurgency fight in the North East.
This is even as the Nigeria’s Excess crude Account currently stands at the $2.317 billion.
The decision was taken at the 83rd National Economic Council (NEC), meeting which is also the 10th in 2017 and the last for the year.
The meeting which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, also resolved that from next January, states that fail to comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Act of the Federal Government will no longer enjoy budget support loan.
The governors of Edo, Godwin Obaseki and Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo who briefed alongside the Minister of Water Resources, Suliaman Adamu, disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting.
Obaseki said they expected that the money would be spent on the purchase of security equipment, procurement of intelligence and logistics, among others.
According to Obaseki, “NEC resolved to support The Federal Government’s effort in area of security. The governors have given permission to spend $1 billion to fight insurgency to be taken from excess crude account.
As you know the issue of security particularly as regards to the north east needs very comprehensive response by federal forces. So we expect that the contribution of the states to these efforts will cover the whole array of activities required to secure the country and counter insurgency. We expect that the amount will include but not limited to purchase of equipment, procuring intelligence and logistics and all what is required to ensure that we finally put an end to the scourge of insurgence.”
The Gombe governor said that council was also given an update on forensic audit by KPMG which will be concluded in January 2018 after the audit of Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Communication Commission.
The Minister of Water Resources, Adamu, said that the governors were also briefed on the need for urgent steps and action to be taken in order to overcome water supply and sanitation challenges in country if Nigeria is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
He described as abysmal, states performance in the water sector, adding that only seven percent of urban cities have been enjoying water supply. He said in 1992 about 30 percent of Nigerians were getting pipe borne water but decried that as at today, only seven percent gets water supply in urban cities of Nigeria. Adamu also said that the nation needs N1.9 trillion in the next three years to meet the target of demand supply in the country.
Dankwambo said the Council was also informed by the Accountant General of the Federation that the balance in the Natural Resource Development Fund Account as at 13th December stands at N106.984 billion.
The Accountant General also informed Council that the balance in Excess Crude Accounts stands at $2.317 billion as at 13th December while the Stabilization Fund Account stands at N7.78 billion.
Gombe governor added that the Council was also given update on Budget Support Facility Loan granted to states. He said while states have been paid for the months of June through August, that of September was still being worked on according to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
Dankwambo said the finance minister informed council that the budget support facility to states is based on certain conditions as agreed under the fiscal responsibility plan.
“She complained that most states are yet to comply and added that noncompliance will make her ministry to stop any further support to any of the states that does not comply.”
He quoted that minister to have said “From now henceforth, payment for budget support would be based on compliance with the fiscal sustainability plan.
“The fiscal sustainability plan were certain reform issues that the members of the National Economic Council agreed on and is expected that each member is suppose to comply will such requirement.
“And as a follow up to ensure compliance that enhance forth, payment for budget support will be based on states that have complied. They have initially carried out certain appraisal of the compliance with the fiscal responsibility and they found out that some states are lacking behind. No detail report was given but henceforth from next month, detailed reports will be given on those who did not comply from which support will be extended to those states.
“Secondly, the support vary and the support was based on an agreed that any particular month where the total amount of funds available to be shared from the federation account is less than N600 billion then the federal government will come in to support, to fill in the gap. But any month the total revenue realized into the federation account is in exceed of N600 billion the use of the budget support system will not be available.
“So base on that the amount varies, for some months it was as high N1.1 billion and for some months it was as less as N800 million. The amount will vary base on what is collected and shared at the Federation Allocation Accounts Committee.”
The Gombe governor also said that Council members demanded for monthly details of inflow of funds into the various statutory accounts, that is the Stabilization and Natural Resource Development accounts.
Council was also briefed on the treat for secretaries to state government slated for December 18-19 by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Obaseki said, “The SGF informed council that a retreat for SSGs has been slated from December 18-19 as part of his strategy to galvanize the government. He has called for this retreat for all the secretaries to states government and the principal purpose is to begin to align federal government policies with those of states, to ensure that there is coordination, to reduce waste as much as possible and to create that synergy which is required from the states so that policies of government can be implemented faster and understood better.”
The Edo governor said the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu also informed the council that fuel scarcity being experienced in the nation will be cleared within the next 48 hours.
“He assured that within 48 hours fuel supply will be restored nation wide because there is enough reserve.”