The National Economic Council (NEC) in a virtual meeting presided over by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, approved the construction of 300,000 mass housing units in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The project, with an average of ten thousand homes per state, would have a nationwide mortgage system to support the plan.
Meanwhile, the governors of the 36 states of the federation had made a presentation at the NEC on how the States can collaborate effectively with the Federal Government on the implementation of the recently approved N2.
3 trillion stimulus programme aimed at cushioning the effect of the COVID -19 on the economy. According to the Council, some State Governors may soon join in the membership of the Economic Sustainability Committee as the implementation of the Sustainability Plan proceeds.
The Governors welcomed the plan and said that they were committed to working with the Federal Government.
According to the Vice President, possibly two State Governors could join the Committee for the implementation phase of the plan. He said such would be helpful and bring synergy.
Besides, state governments will also be actively involved in the process of executing projects in the plan, especially such projects based in the domains of respective States, in collaboration with other stakeholders and partners.
It would be recalled that while receiving the report of the Economic Sustainability Committee, President Muhammadu Buhari had described it as a National Plan, which had gone through wide consultations. The endorsement of the Governors at Thursday’s NEC followed the President’s description of the Sustainability Plan.
These were some of the highlights at the 105th meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the Vice President with several governors, ministers, and Heads of MDAs including the CBN Governor and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, in attendance.
Briefing Newsmen at the end of the meeting, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, who is also the Chairman of the NGF ad-hoc committee on the collaborative implementation of the NESP, commended the Osinbajo – led ESC for a job well-done and noted that State governors were committed to the successful implementation of the plan.
Specifically, El-Rufai said: “In agriculture, each state is to make available 20 hectares of land for cultivation, and with the contribution of lands from States, he added that governors will appreciate land clearance as an incentive.
Also briefing Newsmen on the recommendations of the interim report of the NEC ad-hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown, the Committee Chairman and Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa said: “the committee recommended that the Honorable Minister of Health should ensure the continuous provision of all essential health services in order to ensure that people do not die from other diseases needlessly”.
According to the report presented by the governor to council, “the Presidential order Task Force (PTF) should provide the operating guidelines to the States to enable them to domesticate the same given their peculiarities, norms, and traditions, especially in the opening of markets, religious places and schools, etc.
Okowa noted that the major recommendation arising from the meeting is the proposed health workers allowance being planned by the Federal Ministry of Health. The ‘Hazard’ allowance should not be imposed on States but presented with general guidance to enable each State to negotiate with its health workers based on its ability to pay.
He added that the Committee’s interim report presented to NEC today recommends “that there should be rapid testing, tracing, isolation and treatment, and the NCDC and PTF should provide each State with laboratory testing facilities and ensure effective sample collection”.
Other highlights of the meeting include the presentation of the 2021 to 2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) by the Federal Ministry of Finance, State Budget, and National Planning.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed also reported to the Council the balances in the under listed accounts: Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance as at July 7, 2020, $ 72,406,952.48; Stabilization Account Balance as at July 7, 2020, N40, 310,991,995.15; Natural Resources Development Fund Account Balance as at July 7, 2020 N131, 598,414,041.89.
There were other presentations at the NEC meeting including on Polio and the COVID-19 pandemic.