*Toset up committee for the recovery
*ZeroOil Plan to yield $150b – NEC
By Chesa Chesa
The Federal Government has announcedplans to recover about N614 billion national budget support bailout loans itadvanced to the 35 states governments to enable them settle outstandingfinancial obligations upon the assumption of the Buhari administration.
Each of the 35 that applied for thebailout state received the sum of N17.5 billion, which was meant to enable themto pay salary and pension arrears, among other needs.
A meeting of the National EconomicCouncil (NEC) presided over by its chairman, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo atthe Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, resolved to set up a team from theNigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to liaise with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)to determine the repayment procedures.
Minister of Finance, Budget andNational Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed these while briefing State Housecorrespondents on the outcome of the NEC meeting.
According to her: “The Honourable Minister of Finance briefed NEC on the progress of the facility detailing how the FG has made a total of over N614 billion available to 35 States being N17.5billion each
“Council agreed to constitute a team from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the CBN and Ministry of Finance to finalize modalities for commencement of repayment
She also revealed that the balanceon FG’s Stabilization Fund Account as at 20th August 2019 and Natural ResourcesDevelopment Fund as at 20th August 2019 came to a total of $95,329,245.24.
She did not give any report on the balance of the Excess Crude Account (ECA), which she said was still being worked out.
Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawastate presented the report of his committee on export promotion to NEC, tellingthe NEC that the implementation of the Zero Oil plan will yield $150 billion tothe country.
His Nasarawa State counterpart,Abdulahi Sule, said that the plan detailed the Non-Oil export sector as thelast line of defense for the Nigeria economy as developed by the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) andenvisioned in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
He explained that “theimplementation of the plan is expected to yield results in 3 key areas, add anextra UDS150 billion (minimum) to Nigeria’s foreign reserves cumulatively fromnon- oil exports over the next 10 years; create 500, 000 jobs annually, andlift 20 million Nigerians out of poverty, contributing towards SDG-‘’NoPoverty.’”
Quoting the committee chairman, Sule said: “He reported that the committee has recorded the following achievements:designed an implementation Plan for Project implementation; harmonized Export Development Plan Submitted by states;
Identified Projects based on theImplementation Plan and States Submissions; set- up Templates and Schematicsfor Domestic Export Warehouse and Anchor Programme for Exporters.
“Provide processing equipment andconducted Capacity Building Programme on Strategic Products in the Zero OilPlan in Kaduna, Benue, Ondo, Edo and Imo States. The products are Palmoil, Soya Beans and Ginger.
“Identify Companies for the DomesticExport Warehouse and Aggregation Centre for exportable products.”
The Nasarawa Governor said theBadaru committee also revealed the other achievements of the Zero Oil Plan todate including, “Non- oil exports (excluding natural gas) have risen fromU$1.17 billion in 2016 to US$3.16 billion in 2018 meaning that Strategicsectors identified in the Zero Oil Plan have seen growth.”
He added: “For instance, cocoaexports have risen by $79.4 million since 2017, while sesame exports have alsoincreased by $153 million since 2016 – an increase of more than 100% (source:International Trade Centre).
“The plan has identified the creation of five million jobs to date directly supported by no-oil exports,with efforts underway to increase this by 500,000 new jobs annually in line with SDG 8 – “Decent work and Economic Growth”.
“A state Export Development Fund hasalso been created through N50bn debenture to be disbursed by NEXIM, in whichthe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has invested.
“The Fund offers long–term loan atsingle digit interest rate to qualifying export-oriented projects under theState Export development Programme and the Anchor exporter scheme.”
He said NEC decided to include the Minister of Foreign Affairs as a member of the Committee, that states can freely change their focal persons in the Committee.
The governor said the Council also decided to follow up on obligation of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Agency NIMASA regarding the financing of Nigerian Export Promotion Council(NEPC).
On polio eradication in Nigeria, Edostate Governor, Godwin Obaseki, spoke on the update presented by Minister ofHealth, and other health officials, saying that the minister told NEC that 21stAugust, 2019 marked exactly threw years milestone without a case of Wild PolioVirus (WPV) in Nigeria.