The 36 State governors under the aegis of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) have endorsed proposals to borrow about N17 Trillion from the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the Accumulated Pension Funds.
The endorsement was part of resolutions at the end of the 22nd NGF meeting which was contained in a communiqué personally signed by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of NGF and the Ekiti State Governor.
According to the communiqué, Governor Nasir El Rufai, Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC) Adhoc Committee on Leveraging Portion of Accumulated Pension Funds for Investment in NSIA, briefed the Forum on a proposed National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) under the auspices of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) such that a total sum of N2 Trillion Naira at 9% interest can be accessed through the NSIA.
The NGF Chairman noted that the CBN Governor had a similar proposal to access N15 Trillion Naira for national infrastructure funding through INFRACREDIT at a lower interest rate of 5%.
“Members of the Forum resolved to endorse the two proposals that canvassed for infrastructure development by both the Governor Nasir el Rufai Committee and the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, noting that both were not mutually exclusive and could be adopted simultaneously with one streaming into the other,” Fayemi said.
Fayemi, further stated that the governors have resolved to meet with President Mohammadu Buhari as soon as possible to address security challenges across the country particularly in the light of the carnage in Borno State.
He also explained the delayed release of Saving One Million Lives (SOML) funding, saying that the delay was due to observations made by the World Bank on the technical quality of the SMART Survey.
According to him, survey it difficult to use the result for fund disbursement, and the total amount won by the States was more than the funds remaining in the funding envelope.
He proposed the option of using a prorated approach to disburse the fund and urged the Honourable Minister of Health to convene a meeting of the SOML Steering Committee to resolve the issue.
On COVID-19 vaccines, Fayemi said the Forum was informed that about 44 million Nigerians would immediately qualify for the vaccines, which includes medical personnel and the most vulnerable group among which are those over 50 years of age.
According the chairman, the governors also resolved to among other things “Support the necessary reforms that will result in a police force that works for all.
“As an immediate to medium-term measure, members agreed to pay close attention to the conduct of police officers across the country in order to get them and other internal security operatives fully back to work as they have not been functioning to full capacity since the EndSARS protests with the attendant security exposure to the safety of lives and properties of the ordinary citizens;
“Maintain its stance that stamp duties belong primarily to States and the various collection platforms are channels of payment to the States; while aligning with the guidance provided by its lawyers and experts.
“Direct State Attorney Generals to review the Water Resources Bill and send their input to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat as quickly as possible.
“Agree to keep active and operational the State COVID -19 Task Force Teams and Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) in addition to ensuring the prompt release of funds as outlined in the State Incidence Action Plans (IAP), keeping temporary treatment centers open, ramping up COVID-19 testing across the country, and support the planned “COVID-19 Testing Week’ to be launched by the PTF;
“Commit to achieving the second Eligibility Criteria (EC) requirement of publishing online their approved FY21 Annual State Budget, prepared under the National Chart of Accounts, by 31st January 2021.
“Governors also restated their commitment to implement reforms associated with the programme including the deployment of a Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to support effective land administration and an efficient property tax system” he added.
He stated that the governors also resolved to inaugurate the NGF-NESG Economic Roundtable (NNER) Steering Committee, whose technical committee is to commence the implementation of the strategic plan; which includes but not limited to the national mapping of subnational endowments; global mapping of sub-national entities for global competitiveness and development of competitiveness toolkits.
He said it was also resolved to encourage the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to hasten the implementation of the truce elements in their resolutions so as to allow schools reopen immediately.