By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Abuja, Dec. 4, 2020 The 36 state governors are to meet President Muhammadu Buhari, as soon as possible, to address security challenges across the country, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) said.
The forum disclosed this in a communiqué signed by its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, after its 22nd teleconference meeting in Abuja on Friday.
According to the communique, Buhari will particularly speak in the light of attack on farmers in Borno State.
The communiqué said the governors deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly on national security and the killings of some 43 rice farmers in Garin Kwashebe in Jere Local Government Area, Borno.
The communique said that the governors also endorsed two proposals on infrastructure development funds’ loans.
”The proposal were from Gov. Nasir El- Rufai-led National Economic Council (NEC) ad hoc Committee on Leveraging Portion of Accumulated Pension Funds for Investment in the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), and the Governor of Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele,” it said..
The communique noted that the El Rufai committee briefed the forum on a proposed National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) under the auspices of the NSIA such that N2 trillion at nine per cent interest could be accessed through the authority.
“The NGF chairman said that the CBN governor has a similar proposal to access N15 trillion naira for national infrastructure funding through INFRACREDIT at a lower interest rate of five per cent,” it said.
The communique further said that both proposals were not mutually exclusive and could be adopted simultaneously with one streaming into the other.
The communique also said the NGF maintained its stance that stamp duties belong primarily to states and the various collection platforms are channels of payment to the states, while aligning with the guidance provided by its lawyers and experts.
The forum agreed to: “direct State Attorneys-General to review the Water Resources Bill and send their input to the NGF secretariat as quickly as possible;
“Agreed to keep active and operational the State COVID -19 Task Force Teams and Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs).
“This is in addition to ensuring the prompt release of funds as outlined in the State Incidence Action Plans (IAP), keeping temporary treatment centres open, ramping up COVID-19 testing across the country.
“Also to support the planned “COVID-19 Testing Week’ to be launched by the Presidential TaskForce.
“Commit to achieving the second Eligibility Criteria (EC) requirement of publishing online their approved financial year (FY21) Annual State Budget, prepared under the National Chart of Accounts, by Jan. 31, 2021.
“Governors also restated their commitment to implement reforms associated with the programme including the deployment of a Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to support effective land administration and an efficient property tax system,” it said.
On strike, the governors encouraged the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to hasten implementation of the truce elements in their resolutions to allow schools reopen immediately.
It added that the forum was currently intervening in resolving the lingering ASUU strike and had secured certain concessions from the federal government with the hope that the strike would be called off shortly.