As part of measures to see a certain level of stability in the Nigerian economy, the Federal Government has disclosed it will inject N350 billion into the economy, which has been shaken by the recent crude oil prices in the global market.
Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at the end of the program, read the retreat’s communique to State House correspondents, while being optimistic that the money when released in the coming months, would restore significant economic activities in the country.
She explained that the Federal Government is keen at using the 2016 budget to fast-track economic diversification, and efforts had been put in place to ensure that the spending on the capital projects trickles down to all Nigerians.
The Minister disclosed that government was going to spend money but assured it will be done in a disciplined manner and in right places, as it has a platform and system of control in place to ensure transparency, so that spending will not be reckless.
In her words: “We are pumping N350 billion into the economy in the next one-quarter to help the economy to bounce back. That has never happened in the history of this country.”
Part of the money, Adeosun said would be used to offset contractual debts, adding that for contractors to benefit from the fund, they must show proof of the number of Nigerians that would be re-engaged.
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The rationale and the processes put in place by government to ensure that this money actually achieves the desired objective, she said had already been explained, which is to stimulate the economy.
Adeosun further added that the objectives from the overall criteria is the number of Nigerians that will be re-engaged, as government was already discussing with some of the contractors who will be paid this money.
The minister said they are specifically looking at contractors who have laid off staff and how many Nigerians they are going to put back to work as a result of this money that is planned to be released, believing that this will bring significant economic activity.
Government’s priority is that the wages of workers will be paid, she said, also the contractors have been engaged to let them know that the payment of management fees has to wait, in order to make the money trickle down to Nigerians.
It was also disclosed that participants at the retreat called on state governors to take their destinies in their own hands by proactively driving revenue generation, and reduce the number of their political appointees, including commissioners, as much as possible.
State governors were encouraged, where possible, to rationalize the number of commissioners and general political appointees, and in addition, cost-control measures should be identified and implemented on an ongoing basis, and there was a sharing of best practices from a number of states that could be applied elsewhere.
After extensive deliberations, the council generally resolved that there was a need to bring in more cost-efficiency in their operations, in particular to look at the setting up of efficiency units within the state governments to rationalize expenditure, and of course, to increase Internally Generated Revenue.
Mrs Adeosun also stressed the need for the Nigerian government to look at data management, saying “nobody can succeed in revenue generation without the numbers. It is important to report accurately and understand the billings versus the revenue coming in”.
The Federal and State inland revenue services, it was disclosed will collaborate to do joint audits to invest in revenue, relevant technology and efforts to improve collection, as there is a need to generate data because data is the basis of any revenue collection effort, and to ensure that there is an alignment of interest.
The governors of Zamfara and Anambra states, Abdulaziz Yari and Willie Obiano; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma also read other resolutions reached at the end of the programme.
The Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano said a resolution was reached on the integration of trading in infrastructure projects and investing in the Nigerian people through the school feeding programme.
The National Economic Council also established two committees, one of them headed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to monitor the full implementation of the resolutions from the retreat, as well as provide a progress report on the implementation.