Over 70 Decisions Reached At National Economic Council Retreat
SAN FRANCISCO, March 22, (THEWILL) – The National Economic Council retreat themed: 'Nigerian States: Multiple Centres of Prosperity, and explored ways to respond to the nation's current economy crisis', which began Monday has ended on Tuesday.
A statement from the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gives the highlights of what was discussed and agreed at the retreat numbering over 70 items.
The following are the highlights, decisions and submissions of the retreat:
Agreement reached for concerted and consistent efforts to diversify revenue sources
Expand compliance on VAT, adopting a gradual plan for rate increase; Increase expenditure through borrowing, which should be invested in infrastructure; Federal and State Governments to focus on fiscal responsibility as a critical element in macro-economic balance; Increase investment in infrastructure through public private partnership (PPP); Develop financial inclusion strategies to cater for the poor and vulnerable population; Maintain a minimum level of capital expenditure of 30% in the budget.
Thematic Area – Agriculture
The Federal Government to re-position Bank of Agriculture to enhance its capacity to finance agriculture; Funding for Agricultural sector is considered critical and sources of intervention funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria should be considered; A single digit interest rate for agricultural loans should be considered while duties and taxes for Agricultural products and equipment should be waived; Develop strategic partnerships between Federal and State government;
Each State should make specific commitments to crops in which it has comparative advantage and request Federal Government intervention; National targets for self-sufficiency should be set for identified crops, which should be monitored. Tomato paste – 2016, Rice – 2018, Wheat – 2019; The Federal and State Governments should roll out agricultural extension services nationwide; The Commodity Exchanges should be established for price regulation and avoidance of losses due to lack of markets;
The Abuja Commodity Exchange should be revitalized; The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) should be re-established; Federal Government should develop an Agriculture Implementation plan whereby State Governments are encouraged to identify at least two crops in which they have comparative advantage; States should open up of rural/feeder roads to facilitate transportation of agricultural produce to be supported by the Federal Government;
The Federal and State Governments should establish minimum price guarantee for farm produce; The Federal Government should provide immediate funding to upscale efforts of Agricultural Institutes of Research and Development across Nigeria; State Governments should also be encouraged to fund research and development in agriculture through technical colleges, universities and research institutions.
Thematic Area – Solid Minerals
Ministry of Solid Minerals Development to complete and present the solid minerals development roadmap. This framework should address issues of illegal miner, licenses, taxes and royalties by 31stMarch 2016; Federal government to engage with state government on the roadmap and agree any amendment that may be required by 30thJune 2016;
Initiate relevant legislative changes that maybe necessitated by the agreed roadmap by 31stJuly 2016; Conclude the revalidation/recertification of all mining leases by 30thSeptember 2016; Agree with states and local government on respective responsibilities for developing feeder roads and other critical infrastructure for solid minerals development;
Federal Government and States to set deadlines to achieve self-sufficiency in Bitumen/Asphalt and tiles (to discourage/stop importation); Make and communicate final decisions on operationalization of Ajaokuta steel plant by 30thJune 2016; Establishment of joint committee to address issues of data on quantity and quality of minerals exploited and exported; Setting up of mining cadastral zonal offices for proximity to States for the purpose of issuing licenses and easy monitoring by States; Discourage use of wood for cooking by promoting use of coal briquettes;
Guarantee access to finance solid minerals development via intervention funds and private sector capital; Block revenue leakages in the sector through effective monitoring of activities in the mining sector; Organise artisanal/small-scale miners as a mechanism for reducing illegal mining and Establish Mines Surveillance Taskforce by September 2016
Thematic Area – Investment, Industrialisation and Enabling Monetary policies
Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment (MITI) to develop a matrix of actions to be taken by Federal and State Governments towards achieving the targeted improvements in Ease of Doing Business ranking by 30th April 2016; Present an incentive scheme for States taking actions towards improvement of the investment climate in their States including grants by 30thSeptember 2016;
Forge strong links between the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the State Investment Promotion Agencies; States to collaborate more actively on regional basis on investments and industrialization; The Federal Government should work with the States and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for trade and investment through the implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to encourage industrialization;
Make environment conducive for the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises to create jobs for the unemployed and undertake deliberate policies to create access to funds; State and Federal Governments must emphasize the patronage of “Made in Nigeria” products. “Import competition” rather than “import substitution” should be emphasized; Governors to set up task forces to monitor implementation of trade/ investment policies and strengthen planning institutions by linking federal and sub-national planning;
in this regard, a monthly meeting between the Minister of Budget & National Planning and State Commissioners for planning will be institutionalized; States to set up one-stop shop for investors where they do not currently exist to attract investment and improve on IGR Safeguard competitive market economy; Promote regional cooperation on investment and industrialization; Implement institutional and structural reforms as a way of improving the efficacy of monetary policy including greater consultation with the National Economic Council;
Predictability and consistency of the Central Bank of Nigeria's communication to key stakeholders is required to manage expectations; The Central Bank of Nigeria should carry the States along in some of their reforms in areas of SMEs and Agricultural funding initiatives; Long-term development goals should anchor policy decisions; Effective regulation & supervision to improve confidence in the soundness and stability of the banking system.
Thematic Area – Infrastructure and Services
Develop infrastructure delivery plan considering current financial capabilities driven principally by the goal of improvement of the quality of life for the populace; Develop financing model for infrastructure projects; Integrate training and job creation components in infrastructure projects; Implement empowerment and entrepreneurship policies to foster inclusive growth.
Thematic Area – Investing in our people
Federal and State Governments to work collaboratively to ensure sustainability of the school feeding and other social protection programmes; Cooperation from the States' Ministries of Education and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEBs) for the Teacher Corp program; Provide logistics support on the proposed upgrade of 75 existing National Directorate of Employment (NDE) facilities (across the various States) to Empowerment Centers; Cooperation and coordination with the States on their specific job creation efforts;
State Government support on identified needs such as infrastructure and/or space for innovation hubs; State Government support for artisan training, scoping and support for existing artisan cultures, use of existing training facilities; Institutionalize a single register as a platform for targeting the authentic poorest and vulnerable for safety net programs; for government, donor agency, organizations or individuals; Creating a delivery mechanism that ensures efficient, consistent timely and direct payments in the remotest parts of the country; Boost productivity and financial inclusion for the poorest and most vulnerable
Thematic Area – Revenue Generation and Fiscal Stability
There is need for deliberate effort to generate relevant data on the respective economies of the states and the nation generally in order to drive revenue generation; FIRS and SIRS need to invest in relevant technology to support efforts to improve tax collection; There is a need to develop incentive schemes for federal and state revenue generating agencies; FIRS and SIRS need to actively collaborate on initiatives to improve tax collection, including joint audits of major corporate tax payers;
All state governments are encouraged to establish efficiency units to review/enhance the quality of expenditure as well as plug revenue leakages; Focus on property and consumption taxes will help in improving revenues in a fair manner; Tax-payer education should be intensified to expand the tax base and avoid political back-lash from intensifying tax collection; State Government are encouraged to rationalise number of Ministers, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries; Cost control measures should be identified and implemented on an ongoing basis; in this regard various examples from Nigeria and other countries are recommended.
Thematic Area – Survival of States and Beyond
Strengthen States Peer Review Mechanism under auspices of the Governors Forum and the National Economic Council (NEC) to promote sharing of good practices between the Federal and States Governments.
NEC RETREAT – IMPLEMENTATION STEERING COMMITTEE FORMED:
To oversee the work of the implementation committee; To provide appropriate steers to the Implementation Monitoring Committee to ensure that the resolutions agreed at the retreat are duly followed up
Chairman – Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President and Chairman of NEC
Members – Abdulaziz Y. Abubakar, Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum and Governor of Zamfara State; Adams Oshiomhole, Governor of Edo State; Abdulfatah Ahmed, Governor of Kwara State; Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State; David Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State; Badaru Abubakar, Governor of Jigawa State.
Mohammed Abubakar, Governor of Bauchi State, Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning; Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance; Okechukwu Enelama, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; Audu Ogbe, Minister of Agriculture; Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals; Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works, Power and Housing
Secretary – Nana F Mede, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning
NEC RETREAT – IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING COMMITTEE FORMED
To follow up the implementation of the resolutions of the retreat; To receive steers from the Steering Committee regarding the follow up of the implementation; To provide progress reports to the Steering Committee on the implementation.
Chairperson – Zainab S. Ahmed, Minister of State, Budget and National Planning
Members – Yosola Akinbi, Senior Technical Adviser to the Vice President on the National Economic Council; L.O.T. Shittu, DG, Nigeria Governors Forum; David Olofu, Commissioner for Finance and Planning, Benue State; Mohammed Kauji, Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Borno State; E.A. Onwiodokif, Comm. for Economic Planning, Akwa Ibom State
Aisha M. Bello, Comm. for Budget and Planning, Kano State; Aderenle Adesina, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Ogun State; Mark Okoye, Special Adviser, Economic Planning and Budget, Anambra State; Tunde Lawal, Director, Macroeconomic Analysis Department, Fed. Min. BNP; Kayode Obasa, Director, Economic Growth, FMBNP; A.B. Saadu, Director, Special Duties.