There is considerable progress in the implementation of ideas generated at last year’s retreat of the National Economic Council, according to a Monitoring Report presented to the Council at the July meeting earlier today.
At the NEC meeting presided over by the Acting President, YemiOsinbajo, SAN, the report of an Ad-hoc Committee on Ecological Fund was also received with recommendations on how to manage the Fund. Prof.Osinbajo noted the report and stated that the Federal Government will now consider the recommendations and take its decision on the matter
The NEC Retreat which was held in March, 2016 adopted 71 resolutions across six thematic areas, which included; agriculture, solid minerals, investments, industrialization and enabling monetary policy. Others are infrastructure and services, investing in our people and survival of states & beyond.
The monitoring activities started in the 1st quarter of 2017 determined the level of implementation of the resolutions and the extent to which the Federal Government and States have invested towards achieving the objectives of the resolutions.
National Economic Council (NEC) is composed of Governors of the 36 States including the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Central Bank Governor.
Below are the highlights of deliberations of the 79th NEC meeting:
NEC (6TH IN 2017) 79TH NEC MEETING – THURSDAY,
20TH JULY, 2017
A. PRESENTATION ON REFORMING NIGERIA AT THE SUBNATIONAL LEVEL BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, TRADE AND INVESTMENT
· The Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment made a presentation to Council on Reforming Nigeria at the Subnational level, emphasizing the need to bring Enabling Business Environment Reforms to all tiers of Government and indeed to all Nigeria.
· He informed Council that there is a strong correlation between Ease of Doing Businesses Ranking and Economic prosperity.
· According to the Minister, the Businesses Enabling Environment Agenda being coordinated by the Presidential Enabling Businesses Council is at the heart of Government Agenda, whose mandate is to:
- Removed critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing businesses in Nigeria, aimed at moving the country upwards in global businesses ranking.
- Areas of focus in removing the bottlenecks include; starting a business, entry and exit of people, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, paying taxes, trading across borders and the ease of getting construction permits.
· Council was also informed that the 4th subnational Doing Business rankings for Nigeria is scheduled for 2018, with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd having taken place in 2008, 2010 and 2014 respectively. Appropriate templates are already being drawn up to prepare States for the exercise.
· Council was informed that some States such as Kaduna, Ogun, Cross River and Anambra have already commenced work to improve the ease of doing business in their respective domains.
· Council were also informed that a National Steering Committee has already been constituted to ensure synergy across all stakeholders to ensure the coordinated delivery of the reform objectives.
Council urged that the Ministry should work with an already existing Committee being chaired by the Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning in this regard.
B. PRESENTATION BY THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING ON NEC RESOLUTION IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING 2016/2017 REPORT:
Ø The NEC Retreat which held in march 2016 adopted 71 Resolutions across 6 thematic areas
Ø The NEC directed the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMS) lea by the HMS BNP to monitor the implementation of the 71 resolutions.
ØThe 6 thematic areas are:
· Solid minerals
· Investments, Industrialization and enabling Monetary policy.
· Infrastructure and services.
· Investing in our people.
· Survival of States and Beyond.
The monitoring activities began in the 1st quarter of 2017.
Today the Monitoring Committee Chairperson, HMSBNP presented the monitoring report to Council
Among others, the objectives/purpose of the monitoring was to:
· Determine the level of implementation of Resolutions.
· Determine the extent to which Federal and State Governments have invested towards achieving the Objectives of the resolution of the Council.
· Determine progress made against planned activities and also asses what was planed and what was achieved during project implementation.
· Identify lessons learnt and provide an opportunity for peer review of knowledge sharing on good policies during project implementation.
Highlights of the exerciser include that:
· IMC monitored 27 States.
· 33 States submitted work plans.
· Almost all the States implemented Resolution 4 and 10, crop production partnership and opening rural feeder roads respectively.
o Intervention funded and partnership projects between States, FG or development partners were successful.
o State based Enterprises (SBES) complained of foreign exchange distortions, irregular power supply and uncertain cash plans as major factors inhibiting performance
(i) Challenges of rural banking (farmers and vendors etc) CBN and participant banks should be tasked to find innovative, efficient and sustainable means of handling BVN registration and other non traditional banking services to the informal groups are as part of its financial inclusion strategies.
(ii) Work plan – there is need to complete and update the workplan of States to reflect projects and programmes implemented by State for effective planning, result tracking and performance evaluation.
(iii) Peer Review – there is need for increased cooperation among States to achieved economics of scale and maximize comparative advantage.
(iv)There is need for the continuous monitoring exercise and feedback mechanism for improved performance and policy dialogue.
(v) There is need for State/Regional peer reviews.
Council commended the HMSBNP for the report and urged the States to liaise strongly with the Federal Government in the task of National Planning and Development.
ABIA STATE GOVERNOR WILL SHARE BRIEFS EXPERIENCES ON THE
D. EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT AND RELATED MATTERS
1. Accountant General of the Federation briefed Council on the balances in the following accounts as at 19th July, 2017:
(i) Excess Crude Account (ECA) - USD 2.303 billion
(ii) Ecological Fund Account - N27.466 billion
(iii) Stabilization Account - N2.553 billion
(iv) Development of Natural Resources Account – N77.922 billion
2. PRESENTATION BY GOVERNOR OF GOMBE STATE
· Gombe State Governor presented a report to the Council on Forensic Audit of Revenue Accrued from Revenue Generating Agencies (RGAs) into Federation Account (FA), Excess Crude Account (ECA) and Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)
· The Acting President welcomed the Interim Report and noted that Council will await the outcome of the final report and then discuss the Report.
D. COMMITTEE ON ECOLOGICAL FUND SUBMITS FINAL REPORT- RECOMMENDS ROBUST GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE, STRINGENT DISBURSEMENT CRITERIA.
· The EL-Rufai led AD-Hoc committee of the Council on Ecological fund set up by the NEC April, 2017 today submitted its report to Council, recommending among other things a robust governance structure and a stringent disbursement criteria to sanitize the management of the fund.
The committee made the following recommendations:
That disbursement of the fund should be based on the following criteria;
· Physical visitation by the Ecological office team and on the spot assessment and verification of the ecological disaster.
· Technical evaluation of the disaster by experts.
· Community involvement.
· Prior to the disaster, there must be evidence of Advocacy.
· Evidence of existing prompt, Emergency response mechanism in place before the disaster.
· Monitoring and Evaluation framework must be build into the application of Ecological fund as a road map for measuring performance of the fund.
· A feedback team that will review the reports of the disbursement must be in place.
· Adequate publicity of Ecological disaster to create awareness and consciousness in the citizenry to avoid future occurrence is necessary.
· Evidence of cost estimate must be attached to application.
· Adequate justification for the project must be given.
· Due process in vendor engagement must be followed.
· At all times 50% of the FG share or N20 billion must be reserved for emergencies at the discretion of Mr President.
Council commended the El-Rufal Committee for the painstaking job and noted that the Federal Government will consider the recommendations.
E. HIGHLIGHT OF THE 2018 – 2020 MTEF BY THE HONOURABLE
MINISTER, MINISTRY OF BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING
· The Honourable Minister informed Council of the overriding need to return the budget cycle to the January – December calendar year.
· That the 2018 – 2020 MTEF is anchored on the ERGP
· The current Global Economic outlook posited that the country is expecting growth, though there are still some challenges that may impact negatively on growth from now till 2020.
· He listed policy changes in the US and Britain’s exit from EU, the climate change issue, oil price fluctuations as some of the uncertainties.
· Assured that the country is already getting out of recession even as oil prices are still sliding. The non-oil sector is growing.
· Recoveries being recorded in Manufacturing, Agriculture and Services.
· Efforts aimed at achieving peace in Niger Delta yielding fruits.
· ERGP key objectives and the execution priorities will get country back to growth.
F. PRESENTATION ON ISSUES OF RIGHT OF WAY/MULTIPLE TAXATION BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATION
· Honourable Minister of Communication presented a Memo to Council on need for harmonization of the Right of way charges in respect of telecommunication and related public utility infrastructure on Local Governments, States and Federal Highways.
· Memo spelt out roles/responsibilities of LGCs, States and telecommunication operators in the management of Right of Way (ROW) issues.
· He informed Council that most States are still charging different and higher rates, despite NEC’s resolution that mandate States to adopt and implement Federal Ministry of Works guidelines for grant of Right of Way to ICT service on Highways.
· Current practice in Nigeria where various telecommunication operators design, survey, dig, deploy and manage their individual fibers networks amounts to duplication of efforts, multiple earthworks and treaches as well as increased administrative and licensing costs.
· The Memo invited all stakeholders to consider, adopt and approve the use of shared duct strategy, managed by a designated Agency in all tiers of government for the deployment of public utility infrastructure for effective and efficient service delivery and accelerated socio economic development of the country, particularly the transformation of our various cities, towns and villages to a smart status.
Council asked the Ministry of Communication to liaise with the States and relevant stakeholders for the smooth implementation of the Right of Way project.