A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday said they are working to resolve issues surrounding the implementation of Executive Order 10.
This was disclosed in a communiqué signed by the Chairman of the forum Kayode Fayemi at the end of the 30th teleconference meeting.
President Muhammadu had earlier in May 2020 signed an Executive Order granting financial autonomy to both the judicial and legislative arms of government at the state level.
In its statement, the NGF said talks on the order had reached an advanced stage with the Ministry of Labour, conference of speakers, and the National Judicial Council.
“On Executive Order #10, talks have reached an advanced stage with the Ministry of Labour, Conference of Speakers, National Judicial Council, and the NGF. All parties are working earnestly to resolve the issues surrounding the implementation of the order.
“There are however legal aspects of the order that need to be tied up, but which cannot take place if officials responsible for these final processes are on strike. Governors are happy to implement the demands of the Judiciary and the Legislature,” the statement read in part.
The NGF, however, resolved to call for the immediate dissolution of the presidential implementation committee on autonomy for state legislature and judiciary.
See below the full communique issued by the governors at the end of their meeting…
ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 30th TELECONFERENCE MEETING OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM (7th IN 2021) HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 19th MAY 2021.
We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on several matters of national concern and concluded as follows:
The NGF Chairman briefed the Forum on an ongoing consolidation exercise between the Forum and the Budget Office of the Federation to consolidate public finance data of the federal, states, and local governments into a national budget portal. He urged his colleagues to share details of their local government budgets and financial statements in addition to State government data already published.
On Executive Order #10, talks have reached an advanced stage with the Ministry of Labour, Conference of Speakers, National Judicial Council, and the NGF. All parties are working earnestly to resolve the issues surrounding the implementation of the order. There are however legal aspects of the order that need to be tied up, but which cannot take place if officials responsible for these final processes are on strike. Governors are happy to implement the demands of the Judiciary and the Legislature.
The NGF-NESG Economic Roundtable (NNER) Steering Committee was inaugurated on Wednesday 21st April 2021. The roundtable is a sub-national platform expression of the NGF and NESG, based on a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between both institutions at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) in October 2017. The goal of the partnership is to promote strategic cooperation between State governments and the private sector to drive investments, economic growth, productivity, and shared economic reform agenda across the 36 States of the federation. Membership of the Steering Committee include governors of the 6 geopolitical zones and 6 captains of industry.
The Governor of Delta State, H.E Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, who is the Chairman of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 provided an update to the Forum on the activities of the PSC, and informed members of the expected commencement of the administration of the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country, starting with those who received the first batch of the vaccine. The Governor noted that the PSC is currently working to get additional vaccine doses for the country, and he urged his colleagues to continue to maintain COVID public health guidelines to ensure that the transmission of the virus is kept at the lowest level possible presentations.
The Forum received a presentation from the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, on the second phase of farmer enumeration for the Agric for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP) which is a component of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) approved by Mr. President and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on June 24, 2020. The programme is designed to help mitigate the impact of COVID 19 on smallholder farmers and the entire agricultural value chain. The 2nd phase enumeration is an extension of the 1st phase targeting the registration of up to 10 million farmers in the AFJP database. 2.4 million smallholder farmers were initially targeted for registration to be provided with input funding to boost food production, with about 30,000 N power (N Agro) graduates engaged and trained to carry out the farmer registration.
The Forum also received presentations from the World Bank led by the Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, in the company of Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, Sector Leader of the Human Development Team, and Yue Man Lee, Task Team Leader for the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) – Program-for-Results (PforR) on the Nigeria Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus – Program for Results (Nigeria CARES) and SFTAS.
The World Bank team commended the commitment and actions of State Governors for establishing and resourcing CARES programme State Coordinating Units under their Ministries of Planning, and requested for their additional support in areas such as the adoption of a Fund Release Policy for improved predictability of resources flows to CARES Delivery MDAs; adoption and institutionalization of protocols for reporting, management and investigation of fraud and corruption in MDAs implementing CARES; and the release of 2021 State budgets to MDAs for the commencement of CARES-related activities. The Bank also urged the support of Governors to ensure that their Ministries of Finance and Ministries of Justice fast track the execution of subsidiary agreements for the CARES programme.
Updates on the SFTAS programme showed that targets for results and disbursements on the 2018 and 2019 Annual Performance Assessments (APA) and new COVID-19 2020 Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) have been exceeded. For the SFTAS 2020 APA and new COVID-19 DLIs, all 36 States are on track to fully meet the Eligibility Criteria of having National Chart of Account (NCOA) compliant FY2021 budget published online by 31 January 2021. (33 States have been confirmed as fully compliant while the remaining 3 States are being reviewed).
Under the SFTAS Program for Results, 23 States have already passed strong state-level debt legislation which stipulates: 1) responsibilities for contracting state debt; 2) responsibilities for recording/reporting state debt; and 3) state fiscal and debt rules/limits. To help Nigeria successfully meet the World Bank Sustainable Debt Financing Policy (SDFP) by strengthening debt management, debt transparency, and fiscal responsibility at the state level, a strong collective commitment was made for the remaining 13 States to pass such state-level debt legislation by 31 December 2021.
The NGF SFTAS Programme Lead, Olanrewaju Ajogbasile provided key lessons that have accounted for the success of performing States in the implementation of the SFTAS programme, including the institutionalization of a steering committee chaired by a very senior government official; high-level monitoring and ownership with regular briefings to the State Governor or State Executive Council; dedicated budget under the Ministry of Finance to support SFTAS operations; an incentivized environment for State government officials working on SFTAS activities; and the provision of basic ICT infrastructure arrangements for focal MDAs to ensure that they are able to access remote technical assistance and meet reform actions in time.
HE Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai gave a briefing on the appropriate pricing of PMS in Nigeria, calling for full deregulation. He noted that between N70billion and N210billion is estimated to be spent every month to keep the PMS price at N162/litre, a situation that is completely unsustainable.
Finally, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai briefed his colleagues on the Labour situation in Kaduna State Resolutions
The NGF agreed on the need for States to meet their SFTAS obligations and resolved to put the necessary legal frameworks and institutions in place.
The NGF agreed on the need to continue to maintain COVID public health guidelines and vaccination protocols to ensure that the transmission of the virus is kept at the lowest level possible.
The NGF resolved to call for the immediate dissolution of the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Autonomy of State Legislature and Judiciary as this Committee is now acting as a permanent committee basically misguiding and overheating the relationship between State Governments and the other arms of government.
On the Labour crisis in Kaduna State, the NGF noted that it stands with the Governor of Kaduna State in his quest to improve the productivity of workers and their rights for a better quality of life.
NGF recognizes that what is happening in Kaduna State, will reverberate in each of the States and encourages the Governor of Kaduna and all other Governors to remain steadfast in the pursuit of human rights protection while ensuring that actions taken do not undermine the safety and security of lives. NGF appeals to both parties in Kaduna State to resolve the issues in the interest of the State as the protection of human rights for the collective good of all citizens and growth of our dear country, Nigeria, is what matters most.