The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called for the review of the National Water Resources Bill to accommodate the concerns of all states.
The forum made the call in a communiqué on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Abuja and signed by its Chairman, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State after a teleconference meeting on Tuesday.
Fayemi said that the reintroduced bill did not adequately address the interests of the states and was inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said that the forum received presentations from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, on the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (LPRES) – a six-year $500 million World Bank programme.
The programme was aimed at improving the productivity, commercialisation and resilience of targeted livestock production systems in Nigeria.
Fayemi said that the governors unanimously agreed to spearhead the programme in their states.
This, according to him, was particularly in areas such as institutional and innovation systems strengthening, livestock value-chain enhancement, crisis prevention and conflict mitigation and project coordination.
He added that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, presented the draft 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
Fayemi said that the presentation was part of the consultative process in the development of the Federal Government’s fiscal policy.
It was also to share relevant macroeconomic and fiscal assumptions to help States prepare their Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), FSP and Budget Policy Statement (BPS).
“Following the presentation, governors had a robust discussion with priority given to the government’s response to the fallouts of the Russia-Ukraine war (including inflation and the rising food and nutrition crises).
“The continued impact of the petrol subsidy on the fiscal headroom of governments, implications of NNPC’s new transition on federation revenues.
“The widening divergence between the official and parallel market rate of the dollar on the currency,” he said.
Fayemi said that the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) programme was also presented by Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business.
SABER was a three-year performance-based intervention jointly designed by the World Bank Technical team and the PEBEC Secretariat with support from the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP), Home Finance Department (HFD) and the NGF Secretariat.
This was to incentivise and strengthen the implementation of business enabling reforms across Nigeria.
SABER was technically a successor to State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability And Sustainability (SFTAS).
“In line with the objectives of the programme, the forum endorsed the programme and committed to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to steer the implementation of the programme in all States of the Federation.
“In furtherance to meeting the goals of the Seattle Declaration, the forum committed to mobilising their state and local government teams for the PHC Leadership Challenge.
“Specific commitments include that Primary Healthcare (PHC) performance will be addressed at the state executive council level, governors will conduct visits to PHC facilities.
“Governors will hold meetings with traditional leaders to discuss PHC, deputy governors will chair PHC taskforces, while State committees will be set up on food and nutrition,” he said.
Fayemi said that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, addressed the forum on available Global Fund support to state governments designed to revamp Primary Healthcare Centres, State Healthcare Centres, Ambulance Services and Drug Management Support in states.
He said that the governors thereafter resolved to work with the federal ministry of health to actualise the initiative.
Fayemi also said that the forum received a presentation from the leadership of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge Fund.
The fund was a product of the Seattle Declaration – the Primary Health Care and Human Capital Development Roundtable hosted in November 2019 by Mr Bill Gates, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, co-chair of the roundtable and the NGF.
“The Seattle Declaration sets out a series of commitments for State governments including the implementation of Primary Health Care Under One Roof, a costed Minimum Service Package tailored to States.
“State Basic Health Care Provision Fund requirements, improved financing for PHC as per the Abuja Commitment.
“Review of State PHC performances in State Executive Councils, State Task Force on PHC chaired by the Deputy Governors, and the engagement of traditional and religious leaders on PHC,” he said.
By Emmanuel Oloniruha