Thursday, February 16, 2017

FG Budget Support Facility: Accounting Firms Begin Verification Process In States

As the Federal Government continues its monthly Budget Support Facility to the States, a verification process to ensure that benefiting State governments comply with the mutually agreed Fiscal Sustainability Plan prescribed by the National Economic Council, NEC, has started.

This disclosure emerged at the first NEC meeting this year, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. NEC is composed by all the 36 State Governors, the FCT Minister and the Central Bank Governor.

According to the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun,who briefed the Council today, eight accounting firms have been appointed and have already begun the audit process.

Below are highlights of the NEC meeting. It’s a long read, but sometimes let’s read, it is our country after all.


NEC (1ST in 2017) 74TH NEC MEETING – THURSDAY,

16TH FEBRUARY, 2016


A.     INAUGURATION OF THE NATIONAL ROAD SAFETY ADVISORY COUNCIL BY HIS EXCELLENCY ACTING  PRESIDENT

Budget and National Planning Minister made a presentation to the Council on the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 2014 – 2018 document before the inauguration.

He said the NRSS document was approved by FEC and has provided for the establishment of the Advisory Council, as a demonstration of Government’s commitment to address the challenges of road safety in the country in line with UN Agenda to reduce road accident related deaths.

Members of the 24-man Advisory Council include the following:

Six Governors representing each geopolitical zone as follows:
South-West            -       Governor of Lagos State
South-East             -      Governor of Anambra State
South-South           -       Governor of Delta State
North-West            -       Governor of Kaduna
North East             -       Governor of Gombe
North-Central         -       Governor of Kwara State

Others include:
Honourable Minister of Transport
Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing
Honourable Minister of Education
Honourable Minister of Health
Honourable Minister of Environment
Honourable Minister of Finance
Honourable Minister of Justice
Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity
Honourable Minister of Interior
Honourable Minister FCT
Honourable Minister of Information and Culture
Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning
National Security Adviser (NSA)
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)
President NACCIMA
President Nigeria Society of Engineering (NSE)
FRSC Corp Marshall


B.     PRESENTATION BY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE
Council was informed of the massive wheat production in the States of Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi and Zamfara among others.
The States however appealed to the Federal Government to make plans for the purchase of excess wheat to ensure price stability and sustainable production.
Council agreed to discuss and make adequate buy-back arrangements in order to support price stability.


C.     REPORT ON EXCESS CRUDE PROCEEDS BY THE FINANCE MINISTER
Minister of Finance reported to the Council that the balance in Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at USD 2,458,382,844.03 as at February 15, 2017

D.     UPDATE ON BUDGET SUPPORT LOAN FACILITY
Minister of Finance also reported that Eight Accounting Firms have been appointed to start the verification process of the monthly Budget Support Loan Facility to States, based on the approved Fiscal Sustainability Plan of NEC.


E.     ON ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN
Minister of Budget and National Planning assured the Council members that Federal Government has a recovery plan that will take Nigeria out of the woods.
Consultations on the plan are ongoing to firm-up the plan with clear roles for all the stakeholders and the States.
He told the Council that the plan addresses the following:
Agriculture and food security
Energy sufficiency-power and petroleum availability
Improving transportation infrastructure
Industrialization, SMEs, and manufacturing
Stabilization of the macro-economic environment

F.     ON THE EXCHANGE RATE
After a brief presentation on Forex Policy options by the CBN Governor, Council members generally expressed concern over the current situation of the exchange rate and called for an urgent review of the current Forex Policy, especially the gap between interbank and the parallel market rates.  The CBN Governor sued for patience and understanding, assuring that the situation is being closely managed.


G.     UPDATE ON THE BOARD APPOINTMENTS INTO THE NIGERIA SOVEREIGN INVESTMENT AUTHORITY (NSIA)
Minister of Finance reported that a member each from the six geo-political zone has been nominated as follows:
i North-East         -  Mrs. Halima Buba -
ii North West – Mr. Bello Maccido –
iii North Central - Ms. Lois Laraba Machunga-Disu –
iv South West – Mr. Babajide Zetilin –
v South East – Mr. Urum Kalu Eze –
vi South-South – Mr. Abue Ighodalo –

Council members unanimously adopted the nominations and forwarded them to the President for his final approval.

H.     ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS OF THE NIGERIA SOVEREIGN INVESTMENT AUTHORITY (NSIA) BY THE MD/CEO OF NSIA

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Uche Orji presented a report to Council on the NSIA annual reports and accounts for the year ended 2015 and update on 2016 activities.
In its report to NEC, Council members were informed that Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) has the highest ranking in Africa in terms of performance and capitalization.

The report highlights, among others, the following:

Financial performance 2014 to Q3 2016
Update and investment strategy on the NSIA Future Generation Fund (FGF)
NSIA Infrastructure strategy and Agriculture Fund
NSIA – Old Mutual Real Estate Co-Investment Vehicle, among others.

NSIA outlook, among others, are as follows:

NSIA plans to increase domestic infrastructure investment in 2017 as there are compelling opportunities in the environment.
NSIA will also focus on “Social Infrastructure” including investments in the form of affordable housing, and healthcare through the development of specialist hospitals.
Council, while adopting the report of the NSIA,  decided to inject a fresh $250 million into the SWF sourced from the ECA.

  I.    VALEDICTORY SESSION FOR ONDO STATE GOVERNOR
Council held a valedictory session for the Ondo State Governor Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who was attending the meeting for the last time as his tenure expires this month.
Council members commended Dr. Mimiko’s contributions to the Council and commended him for facilitating a smooth transition in the State. In his response, the out-going Governor praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership of the nation, the Vice President as chairman of the Council for his “productive leadership and personal commitment,” and the Council members for an enjoyable relationship and quality of debate.
Both Mimiko and the Ondo State Governor-elect who was also in attendance today in observer status hugged each other to the delight of the Council, attracting a huge round of applause.

   Laolu Akande
   Senior Special Assistant Media & Publicity to the
   President
   Office of the Vice President
   February 16, 2017

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