By Lawrence Olaoye
The National Economic Council (NEC) has constituted a committee to collaborate with the federal government to address the issue of violence and impunity in the crisis of farmers/herdsmen crisis in the country.
The panel is to be chaired by the NEC Chairman and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
Briefing newsmen after the Council meeting yesterday, Kano state governor, Ibrahim Ganduje, said “On the farmers and herdsmen crisis, council constituted a working group to collaborate with the federal government in addressing the issues of impunity regarding killings and violence.
The committee consisting of nine governors under the chairmanship of the Vice President, will work in accordance with commensurate commitment to ensure that all perpetrators of violence are brought to book.
The committee consists of governors of Zamfara, Kaduna, Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Ebonyi and Oyo States. The committee has started its meeting right after this NEC meeting.”
He continued “Honourable Minister of Finance reported to council that the balance in ECA as at 15th January, 2018 stood at $2,317 billion, Stabilisation account: N9,730 billion Natural Resources Devt Fund: N115,108 billion”
On Budget Support Loan Facility, he said “The Honourable Minister of Finance informed the council that N700 million has been disbursed to 11 states and the states that are having outstanding payments are required to meet and complete the necessary obligations before the disbursement is effected.
The minister told the council that the criterion for disbursement is tied to government fiscal sustainable plan which the NEC and state governors had already approved.”
Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi, who also briefed newsmen said “Council considered an update on the need for domestic funding for the treatment of persons living with HIV in Nigeria. The Honourable Minister of Health and Director-General of NACA made presentations seeking increased funding for HIV services in Nigeria in order to achieve the goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS by the Year 2030.
The presentation stated that such an increase would reduce the dependency on donor funding for HIV services and the attendant development indicators.
“They also called for investment in HIV treatment that will lead to increased life expectancy in the country and a proportionate increase in GDP. They added that the need to invest in HIV/AIDS treatment is important because donor funding is on the decline because of economic circumstances.
“Reducing the gaps between those who require HIV medicare and treatment and those who are actually able to access it is another reason adduced to increasing investment in HIV.
“The presentation asked NEC to consider and approve the resolution of the 59th Council on Health that at least between 5 per cent to 1 per cent of the monthly federal allocations to states be earmarked for financing the implementation of HIV/AIDS sustainability roadmap.
Council was also asked to consider and approve the universal free antenatal services and abolition of user fees associated with the prevention of mother to child transmission services.
Council was also asked to request that the state health insurance scheme including HIV is an indicator for both testing and treatment particularly as related to community health insurance programme.
Council noted and approved the recommendations above as requested.
Let me also state that the honourable minister presented an emergency situation on Lassa Fever especially in Ebonyi State where some health workers died from Lassa Fever last week. So, the honourable minister briefed that it was agreed that the federal government was going to intervene very quickly in the cases of Ebonyi State and Ogun States where this epidemic has developed.
The third one is an update on Economic Recovery Growth Plan The honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning informed the council that the federal government is addressing economic situation in Nigeria through the ERGP covering between 2017 and 2020.”
He added that “Council agreed that each state will have a contact point which means that we will have 36 states plus FCT that will now start the process to implement these programmes with the Honourable Minister for Budget and National Planning.’