• NEC sets up committee to negotiate with organised Labour

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja


In order to to mitigate the effects of removal of the petrol subsidy, the Federal Government has given N5 billion to each State of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory.


The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, made the disclosure while he and his colleagues, governors Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Charles Soludo of Anambra, Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Uba Sani of Kaduna states, briefed State House Correspondents on the outcomes of the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice President Kashim Shettima.


The council is made up of 36 State Governors, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and other coopted Government officials.


Zulum explained that the N5 billion subsidy palliative for each state of the federation is for the procurement of food items and fertilizers.


He explained that it was part of measures to bring temporary solutions to the high cost of living caused by the subsidy removal as government continued to work with more enduring programme.


He said the states are to purchase 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize as well as fertilizers, among other items.


He added that considering the urgency in meeting the need to mitigate the skyrocketing food prices across the country, the federal government had last week released five trucks of rice to each state of the federation.


He also said the NEC agreed that the frontier states bordering Niger Republic are to be assisted with more palliative materials than other states, considering the influx of refugees into their domains from the beleaguered neighbouring country.


According to Zulum: “NEC met today and expressed serious concerns as regards increasing cost of food items, increasing cost of transportation amongst others as a result of subsidy removal.


“In order to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, the federal government released five trucks of rice to each state last week.


“Furthermore, in order to cushion the effect of food shortages across the country, the federal government has approved the sum of N5 billion to be given to each State for the procurement of 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers.


“This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52% of this money is given to States as grants, while 48% of the N5 billon is to be paid back on an instalment basis within a period of 20 months to the CBN by the States and the local governments areas in Nigeria.”


The Governor disclosed that NEC also insisted that the $800 million loan being secured by the Federal Government from the World Bank be strictly used for intended purpose and based on accurate and acceptable social register.


He added: “Council has also noted the package that was announced by the president in order to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, amounting to about N500 billion.


“This fund has to be distributed to the following sectors: MSMEs and industrial sector; about N125 billion will go to cash transfers, agricultural sector as well as gas expansion (CNG) for buses.


“Because of the increasing cost of fossil fuel, the federal government intends to establish more gas stations in Nigeria, procure more gas powered buses, CNG buses, as well as electric buses in order to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.

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“National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will also liaise with States in order to distribute foodstuffs to the people immediately, especially those affected in the frontline States that are bordering Niger Republic because of influx of refugees.


“The Council has also tasked the States to dialogue with the labour unions’ leadership. A committee made up of Anambra State governor, NGF Chairman and others have been nominated to interface with labour.


“The most important thing that the Council has taken note of is that all these palliatives that are being mentioned now are temporary solutions. Council has decided to invest in medium and longer term sustainable solutions that will ensure availability of food and non food solutions in Nigeria, especially investing in commercial agriculture and also investing in irrigated agriculture.


“NEC is calling on Nigerians and Labour to be calm and law abiding as the President is determined to address the issues at hand.”


The NEC Committee to dialogue with labour unions comprises the Nigerian Governors Forum Chairman, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludo; Chairman of Progressives Governors Forum, Hope Uzodinma of Imo State; PDP Governors Forum Chairman, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, and Abia State Governor, Alex Otti.


It was also reported to NEC that federal government’s financial status stood a as follows:

*Excess Crude Account from 19th July to 14th August, 2023- $473,754,507


Stabilisation Account from 18th July to 14th August, 2023 – N30,346,557,405.12


Natural Resources Account from 18th July to 14th August 2023 -N115,175,616,159.65


NEC also resolved to setup a five-man Ad-hoc Committee on flooding across the country, comprising of Governors of Jigawa, Kogi, Anambra, Bayelsa, Lagos and Yobe State. The following were also coopted into the Committee: Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Minister of Water Resources; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management; Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).


The Terms of Reference of the Committee are to “review the current flooding situation in the country and design a template for compensation of victims”.


The NEC Secretariat was nandated to develop and forward a Template with accompanying letter to all the affected States to collect data on Preliminary Assessment of the impact of the flood in the affected Communities, harmonize the data and produce report of their findings to the Committee.


In the meantime, NEC underscored the need to expedite release of fund to affected States as recommended by designated Committees constituted by the Federal Government to that effect, especially towards addressing the needs of the victims as well as offset debt incurred by some States to assist their citizens.


NEC also mourned the death of some military personnel in Niger State and observed a minute silence in honour of deceased, while commiserating with their families.







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