Recession: Nigerian govt approves another bailout for states

Recession: Nigerian govt approves another bailout for states
June 29 21:14 2017

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday approved the extension of federal government’s budget support loan facility to various states of the federation in order to cushion the effects of the current economic recession in the country.

This is the fourth bail out to state governments by the present administration in order to assist them meet their obligations, especially payment of workers’ salaries and allowances.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the monthly NEC meeting in Abuja, Governor Ibrahim Dankwabo of Gombe state said the decision was taken following a briefing by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and a directive from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

“Although the Finance Minister presented that the Budget Support Loan Facility has being fully disbursed, she announce that the Acting President has directed the facility continues until other states’ claims are paid

“Council was briefed on budget support to states because of dwindling revenue and budget implementation. The program was meant for a year but because of recession, acting president said the facility should continue pending when other claims of states and local governments will be settled,” he said.

The governor also told journalists that National Economic Council received report on the forensic audit of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which contains the balances in various federation accounts as at June 28

“Committee of NEC set up to carry out forensic audit of the ECA and FAC submitted interim report. As at today, 10 of 18 have been audited; audit of five are still ongoing; three are yet to start. Council agreed that we should submit a full report at next NEC
meeting,” he said.

He said the Excess Crude Account balance stood at $2.3 billion, Stabilisation Account balance at N28.5 billion, Natural Resources Account balance at N87.6 billion, and the Ecological Fund Account balance at N28.9 billion.

Also speaking, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state said the National Economic Council also approved the rehabilitation of prisons across the 36 states of the federation following briefing by the Minister of Interior, Mr. Abdulrahman Dambazau, and the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Prisons Service.

He said council resolved that there was the need for declaration of state of emergency on the state of prisons across the country.

He said the council also stressed the need for governors to deploy all powers within their reach to salvage prisons including the engagement of private sector participation, adding that some of the inmates could be engaged for agricultural production.

The governor said the council also made some far-reaching recommendations on the briefed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) following briefing by the Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

Some of the recommendations include the setting up of a commission on SDGs, building synergies between federal and state governments on SDGs, sensitisation and advocacy at sub-national level and follow-up while governors should have commissioners or special assistants to oversee SDGs in their state.

The Director-General of National Action Council for AIDS (NACA), Sani Ali, who also briefed journalists, said three million Nigerians are currently living with HIV.

He said the National Economic Council deliberated on the need to increase HIV funding, adding that there is the need to set aside 0.5 per cent of the monthly federal allocation to fund HIV treatment as more than 70 per cent of the current one million victims being treated are funded by partners.