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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Subsidy palliative: NEC approves grain distribution, civil servant allowance, electric vehicles

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The National Economic Council (NEC) has thrown its weight behind the planned distribution of grains and fertilizer to Nigerians by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria to mitigate the impact of the removal of petrol subsidy on citizens.

The decision was part of resolutions reached today at the 4th meeting of the Council chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima at the State House Executive Council Chambers, Abuja.

The decision was taken after a presentation by the NEC Adhoc Committee on cushioning the effect of petrol subsidy removal was made by Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.

Speaking after deliberations on the presentation, Sen. Shettima read the resolutions of the Council noting, “we will also pursue vigorously, the mass deployment of CNG-powered vehicles and establishment of Autogas conversion plants/kits in all States in the short-term and deployment of electric buses and cars with charging infrastructure across the country.”

The meeting also resolved to support enhanced engagements between State Governors and the leadership of the labour unions across the States, and proposed the provision of the cost-of-living allowances to be paid to civil servants in both the State and Federal Civil Services.

The Council agreed to support federal Government’s efforts to scale up infrastructure especially to give attention to fixing dilapidated highway roads across the country.

Other highlights of the 134th NEC meeting are as follows:

UPDATES:

I. OUTSTANDING BALANCES AS AT END OF JUNE

· Excess Crude Account – $473,754.57

· Stabilisation Account – ₦27,524,857,142.27

· Development of Natural Resources Fund – ₦98,421,834,602.86

Monthly Statutory, Exchange Gain, Non-Oil Revenues Etc.

· Balance as at Jan to June, 2023 – ₦104,978,145,865.86

Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF)

· Balance As At Jan To Jun, 2023 – ₦835,511,263.00

II. UPDATE ON STATES’ BUDGET SUPPORT FACILITY AS AT 30TH JUNE, 2023 FAAC MEETING

OUTSTANDING LIABILITY: – ₦1,718,705,566,436.25

PRESENTATION BY FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE BY CHAIRMAN, MUHAMMAD NAMI

The presentation on revenue outlook by the FIRS was made by the Chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami. It focused on major revenue reforms implemented between 2020 and 2023. Four key areas highlighted include:

· restructuring tax operations and administration

· automation of tax administration and operational processes

· creating a customer-focused service

· creating a data-centric institution.

Short-Term plans by FIRS

· further automation tax administration in FIRS

· bring the informal sector into the tax net through partnership

· intensify data streaming from industry regulators, MDAs, industry operators and treaty partners to improve compliance

FIRS 2023 revenue projection for the second half of the year was put at N7.5 trillion and 2024 revenue projection at N25 trillion.Council resolutions:

Council commended the FIRS for its initiatives and reforms to boost revenue generation in the country, especially the projection of N25 trillion for year 2024.

Council encouraged States to utilize the peer review mechanism in the Nigerian Governors Forum and improve partnership with the Federal Inland Revenue Service to increase their internally generated revenue.

PRESENTATION ON FLOOD READINESS AND RESPONSE, INCLUDING COORDINATION MECHANISMS ACROSS STATES BY DG NEMA, MUSTAPHA AHMED

The presentation on flood readiness and response, including coordination mechanisms across states preliminary assessment report was made by the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Ahmed.

In the presentation the DG highlighted the plight of victims of the unfortunate flood disaster across affected States of the Federation could be alleviated if the much-needed intervention from the Federal Government materialized without further delay.

HIGHLIGHTED STRATEGIES

PREPAREDNESS AND EARLY WARNING MEASURES

· NEMA in collaboration with Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, organized an Executive Disaster Management Course between 23rd-27th January, 2023 to enhance capacity of disaster responders. This enabled the production of disaster early warning alerts that are disseminated to communities at risk nationwide.

FLOOD DISASTER EARLY WARNING COMMUNICATION

· Request to equip State Emergency Management Agencies (SEMAs) to efficiently and effectively respond to emergencies within the State;

· Carry out public sensitization of the public on 2023 Climate – Related Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Strategies.

FLOOD DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

· Organize State humanitarian coordination meetings to prepare for activation of Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) to coordinate search and recue and relief distribution.

· Ensure evacuation of refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats from water channels and on all avenues for river run-offs to allow free flow of excess waters.

MITIGATION EFFORTS

• Carrying out Media Public Enlightenment Campaign (i.e. Radio & TV jingles), targeting vulnerable communities (on-going);

• Advocacy visits to Federal MDAs, DRUs & other relevant disaster management partners. (on-going);

• Collaborating with National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to acquire satellite imageries of inaccessible areas in the event of floods.

THE WAY FORWARD

· Disaster management is multi-task, multi-discipline and multi-jurisdictional. Disaster management, is everyone’s business.

· To meet our aspiration for effective disaster risk management, NEMA requires the full support and collaboration of all tiers of government, the private sector and general public.

· All disasters are local; disaster hits a particular community, in a particular LGA, in a particular state. The first lifesaving responders are always from the local community before external support arrives.

· Disasters cut across political and administrative boundaries as proven by annually recurring floods and the recent pandemics, COVID-19, Ebola etc.

Council resolution:

Council resolved that relief materials be distributed to flood and disaster victims across the country by NEMA.

PRESENTATION ON STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED ON FOOD AND AGRICULTURE BY PERMANENT SECRETARY, FMARD, DR ENERST UMAKHIHE

The proposed strategies for achieving food and nutrition security include:

Support smallholder farmers with agricultural equipment, other farm inputs such as seeds & seedlings, agro-chemicals and growth enhancers among others, and build their capacity on good agronomic practices.

Training and capacity building agents, strengthen agricultural extension services.

Improve pasture development by building farm settlements for pastoralists and generally ensuring breed improvement in livestock sub-sector.

Promote out-grower scheme for cropping maize and soyabean for livestock production.

Construction of rural roads, boreholes, mini-water treatment plants, among other facilities geared towards improving the entire livestock value chain.

The way forward in addressing food insecurity is as follows:

Fast-track the operationalization of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing zones in each of the six geo-political zones and revitalize moribund agricultural industries to promote production and productivity for food and nutrition security.

Establishment of more mini earth dams and run-off water harvesting structures to promote all year-round farming.

Strengthen agriculture research institutes and colleges for increased research output and agricultural productivity in the country.

Bridge fertilizer raw material gap by fast tracking the local exploration of Di-Ammonium Phosphate and muriate of potash in line with National Food Security Council to the Solid Mineral Development Fund.

Council noted the various agricultural interventions made to boost food production across the country.

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