- …urges States to boost IGR
The National Economic Council (NEC) yesterday disclosed that it inherited a total of N13.6 billion from the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as loot recovered from family of former Head of State, late Gen. Sani Abacha.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State who briefed State House Correspondents after the NEC meeting at the presidential villa said the balance of the loot as at November 2015 stood at $26, 389, 000.00 while the pounds sterling has a balance of £19, 000, 033.00.
NEC which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo comprises of the governors of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), minister of Budget and National Planning as well as the Attorney General for the Federation.
Speaking at the briefing, Governor Ortom who was joined by the Governor Taraba State Darius Ishaku, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto and the minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma.
The Benue State Governor said that the council received updates on recoveries from monies stolen by late head of state by the Accountant General of the Federation Admed Idris.
“We were also briefed on updates on Abacha loots in council. The Accountant General of the Federation reported that the dollar account as at November 2015 ending has a balance of $26, 389, 000 (Twenty Six Million, Three Hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand Dollars) while the pounds sterling has a balance of £19, 000, 033. That is where we are today,” he noted.
In his remark, the Minister of National Planning said council during its meeting urged state governors to look inward to generate revenues they would need to run their states in view of the continuous fall in oil prices.
He said in addition to exploring IGR to get resources to run their states, council also called on states government to block wastes and be prudent in the management of their resources.
Udoma explained that “council today, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning made a presentation to the council on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategic Paper (FSP).
“The reports highlighted the government’s fiscal policy strategy and direction for the next three years.
The National Planning Minister noted that “We also brief council about government revenue and expenditure projections for the next three years. We briefed council about our view in terms of the global outlook and micro-economic frame work and the key assumptions underlining our projections .
“The presentation urged the states to adopt the MTEF and FSP which has now been approved by the National Assembly, which is the only body that can approve it.
“But we urged them to adopt it as a basis for the developing of their annual budgets. We also emphasised the need for states to be guided by the assumptions of the MTEF and Also the need for states to be conservative in their expenditure and their expenditure projections for 2016-2018, in view of the declining oil price.
“We also urged states to look towards enhancing their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) and blocking financial leakages in the system and generally we emphasised the need in planning for the economy for the federal and state government to work very closely with government because we are dealing with one economy.
The Taraba State Governor in his remark said the council was also briefed by the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris on the reports of the Excess Crude Proceeds.
“The Accountant General of the Federation reported to council that the Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $2.257 billion as at the end of November, 2015.
“He also reported a slight change against the previous balance with an interest which is due, of $599, 137, 467 into the account as accrued interest.
“We were also briefed on the report of the federal government agencies that are collecting revenue in foreign currencies and were remitting the monies in Naira equivalent into the federation account , which is not allowed.
“So the Ministry of Finance is working on the details to pass it to the council with a comprehensive report on the agencies that are involved, which will be later be made known to the public.”
Also speaking, the Sokoto State Governor, Tambuwal said the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele briefed the council on monetary policy of the Federal Government.
According to him, “the CBN governor gave an update on monetary policy measures on foreign exchange strategy and he told the council the challenges being faced by many countries as a result of the global economy recession.
“He also reported that the drop in the oil prices has caused serious pressure on Nigeria’s reserve which currently stands at $29 billion.
“He also briefed the council on monetary policy among others as follows:
“The deduction of cash reserve ratio from 25 percent to 20 percent. The measure on forex market and Bank Verification Number (BVN) considering the introduction of debit card for travelers instead of cash exchange demands to reduce cash for illicit businesses, and also looking at option to diversify the economy away from oil.”
Asked if President Muhammadu Buhari would go to the National Assembly to present the budget, Udoma said that that would be made public in due course.