NewsRescue– In a drastic policy shift bound to upset commercial cabal banks and billions squandering public agencies, the Minister of the Economy, Vice President Osinbajo directed in the economic council meeting last week that with immediate effect, all government agencies will no longer only remit a small percentage of their generated income to the federal accounts, but will now first remit their entire gross to the federation account and then receive their budget allocations.
President Muhamadu Buhari announced this new directive, that all revenue generating agencies of the government are now to remit all incomes into the Federation Account – in line with the constitutional requirement.
He said this against the practice during former President Goodluck Jonathan administration when some of the agencies held back some of the generated income.
Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), Buhari said: “All Revenue Generating Agencies, such as Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), among others, shall comply with stipulated Financial Regulations and Administrative Instructions in their remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”
He promised that the Federal Government will ensure more accountability, transparency and integrity in the distribution of the Federation Account as it will abide by the provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution.
The President advised governors to seek efficient ways to pay workers’ salaries in their states.
Many of the state governments, hit by a cash crunch, are owing workers.
Inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari also asked all levels of governments to be more prudent in the management of their resources.
He urged governors to look inwards to boost their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to supplement their incomes from the Federation Account.
He said: “Your Excellencies, it is evident that the task of ensuring growth, job creation and equity is quite enormous. Consequently, we must kick-start this process by cultivating a culture of prudent management of resources at all levels of Government.
“This will entail looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and harnessing growth potentials of each state to supplement the Federation Account allocation to states.”
“I, therefore, urge Council members to consider, as a matter of urgency, exploring efficient means of gradually liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff, which have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.”
The President also advised governors to embark on projects that will meet immediate needs of the people within available resources.
He solicited for neighboring states’ cooperation on projects, such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes.
He said efforts should be made to seperate politics from development programmes.
“Our country is one and we who have the responsibility to run it, lead by example. As far as is possible, there should be a distance between politics and development programmes,” he said.
On insurgency, Buhari said the Armed Forces had shown renewed commitment and made steady progress in the fight against Boko Haram.
The President said: “I am also happy to reiterate that following my invitation to Germany early this month by the G7 Nations who have shown concern about the insurgency and promised to intervene to restore the destroyed infrastructure, schools and hospitals, amongst others. I have directed the front line states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to articulate realistic assessments, costs, locations on local-government-by-local-government of affected facilities for submission to the President of the G7 for further verification.
“In addition, the requirements of the military have been prepared by the Service Chiefs for the consideration of the G7 Nations.”
Buhari said that his administration was fully committed to embarking on sustainable visionary initiatives and programmes that will restructure and transform the economy.
He said: “We are also committed to ensuring collaboration and facilitation of the international efforts to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), financial crimes, cyber crimes, climate change; the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century.
“I urge you all to ensure that we surmount these enormous challenges facing us as a country by working to support economic policies, which the government will soon unveil to grow our economy and finance our external promises.
“This process must be geared up substantially, especially in the difficult times that we have now found ourselves. The National Planning Commission must continue to work to arrive at workable consensus on government policies among the various tiers of government, which is a prerequisite for sustained growth and development.”
Buhari reiterated the high expectations of NEC as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that are people-centred and capable of driving the expected growth and development of the country and providing enabling environment for progress.
Stressing that NEC was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, Third Schedule, Part I, Section 153: Sub section (18 & 19), he said that NEC, as one of the Federal Executive bodies, has the mandate to advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning and programmes of the various governments of the Federation.
According to him, the regular meetings of the NEC have remained the official economic platform for dialogue among the 36 state governors, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other co-opted members, chaired by the Vice President.
The meeting, he said, is to discuss issues and challenges facing the development of the country at national and sub-national levels, with a view to develop and harmonise common strategies for addressing them. – theNation