Godwin Obaseki
  •  Kachikwu assures NEC fuel scarcity will end in 48 hours
  •  Adeosun threatens to withdraw budget facility to states

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) Thursday in Abuja gave the federal government the green light to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight the insurgency in the North-east.
The ECA currently stands at $2.317 billion.

Making this disclosure while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the 83rd monthly National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said the chairman of NGF and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, made the offer on behalf of his colleagues during the meeting.

According to Obaseki, the governors mandated the federal government to take the money from the ECA as their own contribution to the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The balance in ECA, as reported to the council by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, was $2.317 billion as of December 13, 2017.

Obaseki said: “The NEC also resolved through the chairman of NGF to support the effort of the federal government in the area of security.

“Pleased with the achievements made by the federal government till date in the fight against the insurgency, the governors of Nigeria through their chairman announced at the NEC meeting that the governors have given permission to the federal government to spend $1 billion in the fight against the insurgency. This money is supposed to be taken from the excess crude account.”

Obaseki also said the council discussed the fuel shortages across the country, adding that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, assured the council that within the next 48 hours, adequate fuel supply would be restored to all parts of the country.

“We also discussed the issue of fuel supply. As you know, there have been challenges in fuel supply in the country and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources assured the council that within the next 48 hours, fuel supply will be restored nationwide.

“And because there is enough fuel in our strategic reserves, the ministry has released fuel from our strategic reserves and expects that distribution will reach all parts of the country within the next 24 hours,” the governor explained.

Obaseki also said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, briefed the council on the forthcoming retreat of secretaries to the state governments between December 17 and 18.

He said the retreat was conceived to ensure the alignment of state policies with those of the federal government, with a view to creating a synergy between state and federal policies and consequently facilitate the effectiveness of overall national policies.

In his briefing, the Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwabo, said the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, gave the council an update on the budget loan facility to the states.

According to him, the loan facilities for June, July and August had been released while the finance ministry was currently working on the September payment.

However, Damkwabo said the minister told NEC that the issuance of budget support facilities to states was predicated on certain conditions which she said many of the states had failed to meet.
Against this background, the governor said the minister warned that her ministry would withdraw further support to states which fail to comply with applicable conditions.

“The Minister of Finance informed council that the budget support facility to states was based on certain conditions as agreed under the fiscal responsibility plan.

“But she complained that most states were yet to comply and added that non-compliance would make her ministry stop any further support to any of the states that do not comply,” Damkwabo said.
Dankwabo, who also said the council was informed that the ongoing audit of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) would hopefully be concluded in 2018, gave an update on government accounts up to December 13.

According to him, the AGF reported that the balance in ECA account was $2.317 billion, the Stabilisation Account at N7.78 billion while the Natural Resource Account was put at N106.984 billion.

Also at the briefing, the Minister of Water Resources, Adamu Suleiman, who recalled that 30 per cent of the Nigerian population in 1992 had access to pipe borne water, the figure had now dropped to 7 per cent, implying that the nation was heading towards a crisis in terms of water sanitation.

The minister said the country requires N1.9 trillion in the next 15 years to boost water supply with a view to meeting its sustainable development goals (SDG) on water supply and sanitation by 2030.

He said his ministry has rolled out an action plan designed to improve water supply sanitation from 2018, which he said would involve a five-year recovery programme and 13 years of a revitalised strategy supported by international agencies, all of which he noted was a product of wide consultations geared towards meeting the SDGs.