States, FCT yet to refund FG’s N1,719trn budget support facility

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Several months after the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari granted to the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja, the sum of N1,718,705,566,436.25 as budget support facility, the states and the FCT are yet to refund the money, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, has revealed.

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This is as the National Economic Council, NEC, on Thursday, endorsed the implementation of the $617.7 million Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) programme in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

Also the NEC received reports from 16 states on the establishment of State police, while 20 states are yet to send in report despite the fact that all states across the country expressed their support for the establishment of state police.

At its 140th meeting held virtually, chairman of the Council, Vice President Kashim Shettima declared the firm resolve of the renewed hope administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to leave a legacy of prosperity and opportunity for all Nigerians.

He told state governors to nominate persons to represent each geo-political zone at the zonal level and focal persons to lead the implementation of the programme in their respective states.

He assured that as the scheme becomes operational in the coming weeks, implementation across the country will be diligent, committed and forthright.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Sen. Shettima assured that the administration will not rest on its oars until the citizens begin to bask in the opportunities they were promised, noting that it is the reason why the government is prioritizing skill acquisition and job creation.

Senator Shettima specifically noted that prioritizing whatever offers Nigerians a means to earn a living with dignity are part of President Tinubu’s eight-point agenda.

The Vice President in a statement issued by his spokesman, Stanley Nkwocha, was quoted as saying, “But two things are clear: one, we won’t ever regret paving the way for the acquisition of skills that meet the needs of the global markets; two, our actions today will shape the economic landscape of tomorrow, and so it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that we leave a legacy of prosperity and opportunity for all Nigerians.

“When we empower entrepreneurs and small business owners, we unlock the potential for innovation, job creation, and economic growth. By providing access to financing, training, and mentorship programs, we unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that lies within every Nigerian, catalysing a wave of economic prosperity that benefits us all. We cannot achieve this without inclusivity and equitable access to opportunities. This is the ladder we must offer to every disadvantaged citizen”.

The VP noted that the government has “moved beyond mere deliberations to the implementation phase” and it is actively pursuing its “short-term goals en route to achieving our medium-term and long-term strategies.

“My confidence in our ability to fix our nation stems from the unity of purpose this Council has demonstrated. We have rejected binary thinking, resisted divisions, and relegated self-interest in favor of a shared vision for progress,” he added.

He observed however that despite the interventions made so far to prevent natural disasters, “to combat crude oil theft in the Niger Delta, to alleviate the short-term inflationary impacts of our economic-saving decisions, to mitigate environmental damage, and to curb revenue loss”, the efforts would be useless to the citizens unless “job creation and skill development at every corner of the nation” are prioritised.

Noting that it is not the best of times to be in office, Shettima implored the governors and other council members to remain constant in executing initiatives that will help wriggle the citizens out of their present condition.

“This is a delicate period to occupy offices like ours. We cannot remind ourselves enough that we have come at a time that tests the depth of our leadership and demands our most rational wisdom to make a difference.

“Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we must remain consistent in implementing the initiatives that alleviate the suffering of our citizens and be accountable in doing so. We must also ensure that interventions we deploy are non-discriminatory and favour all stakeholders, with no part of our communities or nation left lagging,” he stated.

In his presentation on the i-DICE programme, the Executive Director in charge of SMES at the Bank of Industry, Mr Shekarau Omar said the i-DICE programme, a special intervention by government, aims to deliver on the promise by the Tinubu administration to create millions of jobs in the technology space.

Mr. Omar explained that the programme is in support of government’s agenda to create more sustainable jobs, diversify the economy and equip digital and creative incubation hubs/innovation centers across the country.

He listed African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) among organisations that will fund the programme, giving a breakdown of how the funds will be sourced as follows: AfDB, $170million; IsDB, $70 million; AFD, $116 million; Bank of Industry (BoI) on behalf of federal government of Nigeria (FGN), $45.50 million; Fund Manager (For Equity Fund only), $8.70 million, and private investors, $205 million.

On the impact of the programme, Mr Omar said 1,269,757 youths will be trained and certified in ICT skills, with at least 25,000 youths trained in each state of the federation and the FCT.

He noted that while at least 100,000 jobs will be created per state, about 5,581,231 indirect jobs will be created through i-DICE interventions nationwide.

The Excess crude account, ECA, was $473,754.57, the Stabilization Account
₦ 33,808,342,662.88, while the Current Balance of Natural Resources stands at
₦113,925,600,918.68.

On the NEC ad-hoc committee on crude oil theft prevention and control report presented by the Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, a statement issued by Nkwocha said:

“On the request of the Vice President and Chairman of Council, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State presented an abridged version of its report on crude oil theft prevention and control on behalf of the NEC ad hoc Committee.

“Governor Uzodinma said the committee met and had far-reaching deliberations and deployed appropriate technologies for data collection. Full report to be tendered at next NEC.”

According to the statement, the Secretary to NEC made presentation on the submissions on the establishment of State Police.

The Secretary said, “Reports have been received by 16 states on the establishment of State police. 20 states are yet to send in report. All states across the country expressed their support for the establishment of state police for the following reasons. States made presentations in support of the creation of State Police. States recommended changes in the constitution and the current policing structure to enable the operationalization of the initiative.”

The statement added: “While noting the presentation, the Vice President observed that the rate of submissions by States were not impressive and urged States yet to make inputs to expedite action to enable robust deliberations on the subject-matter at the next Council meeting.”

The Kwara State governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq presented the update on NEC ad-hoc committee on Economic Affairs.

Recall that following deliberations on critical economic matters and assessments of potential short-term, medium and long-term strategies to address pressing economic issues at the 138th NEC Meeting held on the 21st of December 2023, a committee on Economic Matters chaired by the Kwara State governor was established.

The Committee’s main objective was to develop a feasible and effective roadmap for addressing economic issues affecting Nigerians at the national and sub-national levels and avert a possible economic and socio-political crisis.

Members were given one month to put together their plans and send in report within the 2nd quarter of 2024.

The NEC also received presentation on the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones programme.

It was announced that all processes for establishing the phase 1 of the SAPZ have been completed and disbursement for states kick started, expression of Interest (EOIs) have been received from 27 states, while guidance letters have been sent to 27 Governors (TOR for studies and request to provide focal points.


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Emman Tochi
Emman Tochihttps://naija247news.com
Emma Tochi is Naija247news Media Northern Bureau Chief, he's based in FCT Abuja. He overseas the northern operations of this business media

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