Federal government raises panel to recover N614 billion loan from 35 states


Zainab Ahmed

The National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday resolved to constitute a team to recover N614bn budget support loan facility given to 35 out of the 36 states of the federation.

This is part of the resolutions reached during NEC meeting presided over by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and attended by most of the 36 state governors at the council chamber of the State House, Abuja.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who briefed journalists alongside Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule and his Edo State counterpart Godwin Obaseki, said the council has agreed to constitute team to recover the money.

“As at today, the budget support facility advanced by the Federal Government to the states, is in a total sum of N614bn and this is to 35 states. This means an equivalent is N175bn (N17.5bn) per state.

“Council agreed to constitute a team of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to finalize modalities to commence repayment of this facility to the Central Bank,” she said.

As at 20th August 2019, the minister said the Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $95,329,245.24, stabilization fund account N21, 729,976,810.66 and natural resources development fund was put at N95,896,886,829.69.

Ahead of the budget submission, a presentation on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) was made to the council.

The minister said that the purpose of the presentation was to get inputs and recommendation from the council for further presentation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and implementation.

She said there has been eight successive month of economic growth since emerging from recession and that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) remains the basis for the Medium Term fiscal strategy.

“Macro-economic stability has been achieved with growth in end Q3 2019 at 3.01%, continued increased in Real GDP from 1.89% in Q2018 to 2.01% in 2019, there has been significant growth in non-oil sector, contribution of the non-oil sector to GDP has increased 90.4% in Q1 2018 to 90.9% in Q1 2019,” she said.

For his part, Nasarawa State Governor Sule gave an update on the report of NEC committee on export promotion presented by the Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru.

He said the report was sequel to the Zero Oil Plan envisioned in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is developed by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

He said the implementation of the plan was expected to add an extra $150bn (minimum) to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non- oil exports over the next 10 years; create 500, 000 jobs annually and lift 20 million Nigerians out of poverty, contributing towards SDG – “No Poverty”.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State said the council was presented with an update by Minister of Health on Polio Eradication which showed that 21st August, 2019 marks exactly three years milestone without a case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in Nigeria.

He also spoke on NEC ad-how committee on security and policing. He said Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum presented report on it.

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