Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday disclosed that the nation’s excess crude account (ECA) balance as at March 16, 2021, stood at $72,412,384.88
This is just as the Federal Government also disclosed that all states except Kogi haf received their COVID-19 vaccines.
Ahmed who made the financial figures public in Abuja, during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja further stated that Stabilization account balance as at March 16, 2021 was N24, 994, 821,242.14 while Natural Resources Development Fund Account balance as at 16th March, stood at N90, 744,488,087.88
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who chaired the meeting, commended the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for smooth coordination of the nation-wide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Making a presentation to the National Economic Council, the NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Fiasal Shuaib, said all States except Kogi had received their Vaccines, noting that Kogi was yet to receive due to the non-repair of their Cold-Chain Store coupled with the State’s concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccines.
According to him, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had been co-opted to support the PTF on Vaccine Accountability to ensure the safekeeping of the vaccines.
Shuaib who revealed that there was a plan to commence weekly record of a dashboard showing level and efficacy of the inoculation by the end of Monday, March 15, 2021, said there was a need for tight security around the vaccines in the States to avoid being vandalized by hoodlums.
He assured that the second tranche of the Vaccines would be received in the country before the second dose of the vaccines intake is concluded.
The Council also received an update from the National Economic Council (NEC) ad hoc committee interfacing with the presidential taskforce on COVID 19 to ease the lockdown of the economy by the Chairman of the Committee Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor Delta State, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
On the implementation of broadband access in the country, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami, sought the support of NEC in the formulation and implementation of policies that will ease broadband penetration in Nigeria.
He said: “All States should support us by adhering to the N145 Right Of Way (ROW) charge per linear meter. The long-term benefits are far more than the initial fees being collected. Before the NEC consensus to peg the ROW charge at N145, there were instances the fees varied between N5000 – N10,000.
“We need a Point of Contact in each State as the interface on broadband and digital economy issues, and each State is also encouraged to have an institution or department to handle requests regarding broadband and the digital economy”
Highlighting some of the benefits derivable in increasing broadband access in the country, the Minister noted that the World Economic Forum predicted that over 60 percent of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that within the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70 percent of new value.
Pantami added that “the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy in both the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) and the entire year 2020. This was based on the Q4 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released.”