▪︎ *NEC pledges support for national broadband penetration plan
Informed that the COVID-19 Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccines have now been delivered to every state in the country except one, the National Economic Council (NEC) rose from its monthly meeting Thursday urging Nigerians to participate in the vaccination when it is their turn.
A statement by the Office of the Vice Presidebt said NEC also welcomed the integration of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to support the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on vaccine accountability and transparency.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who chaired the meeting, commended the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for smooth coordination of the nation-wide distribution of the vaccines.
State Governors, FCT Minister, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, other ministers, and heads of government agencies and parastatals, participated in the virtual meeting.
Making a presentation to Council, the NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Fiasal Shuaib, “all States except Kogi have received their Vaccines, noting that Kogi State was yet to receive due to the non-repair of their Cold-Chain Store coupled with the State’s concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccines.”
“The vaccination application has been launched in most States’ Treatment Centres even against distractions and criticism of the FG’s efforts to ensure availability of vaccines in the Nation. The roll-out of the vaccines across Healthcare Front-line Workers and other Health Support Staff was scheduled to commence by March 15, 2021, in some States, with the intention of wider coverage after the training of the States’ Health workers across board.”
To ensure accountability in the distribution of the vaccines, Dr Faisal informed NEC that “the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had been co-opted to support the PTF on Vaccine Accountability to ensure the safekeeping of the vaccines.”
He added that “there was a need for tight security around the Vaccines in the States to avoid being vandalized by hoodlums. Meanwhile, there was a plan to commence weekly record of a dashboard showing level and efficacy of the inoculation by the end of Monday, March 15, 2021.”
He also assured that the second tranche of the Vaccines would be received in the country before the second dose of the Vaccines intake is concluded.
Council also received an update from the National Economic Council (NEC) ad hoc committee interfacing with the presidential taskforce on COVID 19 to ease the lockdown of the economy by the Chairman of the Committee Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor Delta State, and the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
On the implementation of broadband access in the country, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Ali Isa Pantami sought the support of NEC in the formulation and implementation of policies that will ease broadband penetration in Nigeria.
He said: “All States should support us by adhering to the N145 Right Of Way (ROW) charge per linear meter. The long-term benefits are far more than the initial fees being collected.”
Before the NEC consensus to peg the ROW charge at N145, there were instances the fees varied between N5000 – N10,000.
“We need a Point of Contact in each State as the interface on broadband and digital economy issues, and each State is also encouraged to have an institution or department to handle requests regarding broadband and the digital economy.”
Highlighting some of the benefits derivable in increasing broadband access in the country, the minister noted that “the World Economic Forum predicts that over 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that within the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70% of new value.”
Pantami added that “the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy in both the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) and the entire year 2020. This was based on the Q4 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released.”
Further highlighting the achievements in the ICT sector, the Minister disclosed that “the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy in both the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) and the entire year 2020. This was based on the Q4 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released.”
Other highlights of the NEC meeting are as follows:
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS SUB NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT SURVEY
On the Ease of Doing Business, Council received a presentation of the Sub National Environment Survey from Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole.
The key opportunities identified in the Subnational Baseline Environment Survey for improving the business climate across the States of the Federation were presented for Council’s consideration and approval.
She informed Council of the readiness of the PEBEC Secretariat to support State Governments in the development of their respective State Reform Action Plans, with a recommendation that the specific findings of the survey report for each State be reflected in the Action Plans.
NATIONAL MONITORING AND EVALUATION (M&E) POLICY
Council received a memorandum for consideration and endorsement of the National Monitoring and Evaluation M&E Policy by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed.
The purpose of this memo is to seek the consideration and endorsement of the National Economic Council (NEC) for the approval of the National Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Policy under the supervision of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The commitment of the Federal Government to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of (assessment of relevance, developmental efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability) policies, programmes and projects.
UPDATE ON ACCOUNT BALANCES
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning reported to Council that the balances in the under listed accounts are as follows:
I. Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance as at 16th March 2021 stood at $72,412,384.88.
2. Stabilization Account balance as at 16th March, was 2021 N24, 994, 821,242.14.
3. Natural Resources Development Fund Account balance as at 16th March, stood at 2021 N90, 744,488,087.88.