By Lawrence Olaoye
Governors of the 36 states of the federation have approved the sum $1 billion to support the fight against insurgency in the North East.
The fund would be sourced from the Excess crude Account (ECA) which currently stands at the $2.317 billion.
The funds domiciled in the ECA belong to the states and the federal government.
This decision was taken at the 83rd National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The Council also resolved that from January, 2018, states that fail to comply with the fiscal responsibility conditions of the federal government will no longer enjoy budget support.
Governors of Edo, Godwin Obaseki and Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo who briefed alongside the Minister of Water Resources, Suliaman Adamu disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting.
According to Obaseki, the $1 billion approved by the governors for fight against insurgency was expected to be spent on the purchase of security equipments, procurement of intelligence and logistics, among others.
He said “NEC resolved to support federal government’s effort in area of security. The governors have given permission to spend $1 billion to fight Insurgency to be taken from Excess Crude Account.
“As you know the issue of security, particularly as regards to the north east, is very comprehensive response by federal forces. So, we expect that the contribution of the states to these efforts will cover the whole array of activities required to secure the country and counter insurgency. We expect that the amount will include but not limited to purchase of equipment, procuring intelligence and logistics and all what is required to ensure that we finally put an end to the scourge of insurgence.”
The Gombe state governor said that the Council was also given an update on forensic audit by KPMG which will be concluded in January 2018 after the audit of Nigeria Customs Service and Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC).
Dankwambo said the Council was also informed by the Accountant General of the Federation that the balance in the Natural Resource Development Fund Account as at 13th December stands at N106.984 billion.
The Accountant General also informed Council that the balance in Excess Crude Accounts stands at $2.317 billion as at 13th December while the Stabilization Fund Account stands at N7.78 billion.
Gombe governor added that the Council was also given update on Budget Support Facility Loan granted to states. He said while states have been paid for the months of June through August, that of September were still being worked on according to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
Dankwambo said the finance minister informed council that the budget support facility to states is based on certain conditions as agreed under the fiscal responsibility plan.
“She complained that most states are yet to comply and added that noncompliance will make her ministry to stop any further support to any of the states that does not comply.”
He quoted the minister to have said “From now henceforth, payment for budget support would be based on compliance with the Fiscal Sustainability Plan.
“The fiscal sustainability plan were certain reform issues that the members of the National Economic Council agreed on and is expected that each member is suppose to comply will such requirement.”
The Gombe governor also said that Council members demanded for monthly details of inflow of funds into the various statutory accounts, that is the Stabilization and Natural Resource Development accounts.
The Edo governor said the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu also informed the council that fuel scarcity being experienced in the nation will be cleared within the next 48 hours.
“He assured that within 48 hours fuel supply will be restored nationwide because there is enough reserve.”
Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said that the governors were also briefed on the need for urgent steps and action to be taken in order to overcome water supply challenges and sanitation in country if Nigeria desired to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
He described as abysmal states performance in the water sector, adding that only seven percent of urban cities have been enjoying water supply.
He said in 1992 about 30 percent of Nigerians were getting water from pipe borne but decried that as at today, only seven percent get water supply in urban cities of Nigeria.
He also said that the nation needed N1.9 trillion in the next three years to meet the target of demand supply in the country.