…Seek assessment of UBEC funds without counterpart funds
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
After reviewing the recent attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and the rapidly degenerating state of security across the country, Governors of the 36 States of the Federation have resolved to present their resolutions on matters to President Muhammadu Buhari any time from now.
The resolution to be presented to the President by the Governors was reached after a crucial meeting of their National Executive Committee, NEC, Ad-hoc committee on Security and Policing of the met last Tuesday with the heads of the nation’s security agencies to discuss and review the security challenges in the country.
This was contained in a communique issued yesterday at the end of the 14th teleconferencing meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and signed by its Chairman, who is also the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
The NGF is the umbrella body for the Governors of the 36 States of the Federation.
According to the communique, “The NGF Chairman, Dr John Kayode Fayemi provided an update on the recent attack on the convoy of the Borno State Governor Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and the rapidly degenerating state of security across the country.
“The Chairman stated that the NEC Ad-Hoc Committee on Security and Policing met on Tuesday 4th August 2020 with the heads of the nation’s security agencies to discuss and review the security challenges in the country.
“According to the Chairman, Resolutions reached will be presented to Mr. President shortly”, the communique said.
The meeting, the communique stressed, also deliberated on the ongoing negotiation between the NGF and the federal government to waive the requirement that State governments provide counterpart funds before they can access Universal Basic Education (UBE) Funds.
“The move was taken in the light of the impact of COVID-19 which has affected the capacity of State governments to provide counterpart funds required to access various national funds and statutory levies”, it said.
The communique said further, “All COVID-19 Task Forces in the various States will work closely with their Palliatives Implementation Committees to target the most vulnerable population in society for the distribution of the CACOVID palliatives, particularly in local governments that have been identified as epicenters.
“States will also take cognizance of the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infection and should start preparing preventive measures.
“The Forum will continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing UBE funds.
“The Forum had adopted the Report of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, which recommended the immediate suspension of the requirement for State Governments to provide matching funds to access grants like UBEC.
“In preparation for the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment of the SFTAS programme which is expected to start from 9th August 2020, State governments will ensure appropriate health and security measures are put in place to ensure a seamless exercise by the teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF).
“The NGF Secretariat will provide Technical Assistance to the remaining five (5) States yet to publish their Audited Financial Statement (AFS).
“Lastly, State governments with unresolved issues with their Resident Doctors were enjoined to meet with the Association at least at the local level to agree on workable solutions in the face of the current challenges in the country.