…To engage FG over suspended UBE, health care funds
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Governors of the 36 States of the Federation have resolved to engage the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
Similarly, the States have decided to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in order to forestall their intention to embark on an industrial action.
These were contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 15th teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, held on Wednesday and signed by the Forum’s Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
The NGF communiqué equally revealed that data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country show that 20 local government areas in the country account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded.
The Governors, in their communiqué made available to Journalists yesterday, disclosed that discussions are ongoing with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education to facilitate access to unrealized funds from the UBE Fund.
The UBE Fund was suspended
based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
According to the NGF communiqué, “The Forum will continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing the UBE Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo”.
The Governors’ Forum said that it is also awaiting an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from States in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on State finances.
According to the NGF’s communiqué, “29 States have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19.
“Testing remains the number one priority for the government. 32 States in the country now have molecular laboratories while investments are being directed to the remaining 4 States.
“Data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country show that 20 local government areas in the country account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded.
“In the light of this, all State governments will be required to scale up risk communications campaigns in these areas through State and local structures”, they said.
The governors equally resolved to scale up the implementation of the Risk Communications Community Engagement (RCCE) strategy developed by the Presidential Task on COVID-19.
It expressed the firm belief that strategy will provide necessary impetus on communicating with the public so that communities can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a sustainable approach.
The State governments, the communiqué said, will also be able to Identify and engage with all the relevant multisectoral partners as the success of this strategy.
The State Commissioners of information are to head this exercise nationwide.