Highlights Of 68th National Economic Council Meeting By Laolu Akande

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, presided over the meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, held today at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. NEC is made up of governors of the states of the federation and the CBN, with the Vice President as Chairman.
 
Below are highlights of the meeting:
 
A.     REPORT ON EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT, ECA, PROCEEDS
·        The Honourable Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun reported that the balance in the ECA as at June 15, 2016 stood at USD 2,261,249,976.96 (USD 2.261 billion).
B.     UPDATE ON APPOINTMENT OF FORENSIC AUDITORS WITH RESPECT TO ECA PAYMENT INTO FEDERATION ACCOUNT AND REVENUE GENERATING AGENCIES (RGAs)
 
·        The Honourable Minister of Finance reported that work is ongoing as mandate has been given to the Forensic Auditors.
C.   PRESIDENTIAL BUDGET SUPPORT TO STATES
 
·        The Honourable Minister of Finance also briefed the Council on the Federal Government’s N90 billion budget support loan facility for States at a 9% interest rate.
·        5 States have already completed the process for borrowing from the Presidential Budget Support Facility for States, which will help states to pay salaries and other pertinent emoluments. Others states expected to proceed to tap from the facility.
D.     UPDATE ON THE FLEXIBLE FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE POLICY OF THE CENTRAL BANK
 
·        CBN Governor briefed the Council on the flexible Forex rate policy adopted recently by the bank including:
–      Market-driven exchange rate
–      Single market structure through interbank/autonous window
–      Access to Forex Proceeds by non-oil exporters. 
 
E.     STATUS REPORT ON SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMMES
 
·        Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais, MFR, briefed the Council on the preparation, status of the planning, and responsibilities of the stakeholders towards the implementation of the Programmes.
·        She told the Council that the Programmes are designed to fulfil the FGN’s Social Protection role to its citizens, reduce poverty and inequality in Nigeria among others
·        The Programmes engagement with beneficiaries is already in progress and pointed out the role of the key players and that partnership with States is very critical to the success of the Programme.
·        To ensure high level coordination, a National Social Safety Net Coordination office has been set up in the Presidency to coordinate and ensure uniform reporting platform, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) as well as a suitable payment system (bank-led) for the cash transfers.
·        Also a community-based targeting approach has been adopted in building up a National Social Register that will identify the poor and vulnerable population.  
·         There are 5 schemes under the Social Investment Programme namely: 
1)   N-power for job creation initiatives for teachers, artisans/Build Nigeria and Knowledge jobs.  
*Targets 500,000 graduates and 100,000 non-graduates
2)   Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSF) free school feeding for primary school pupils across the country.
*Targets 5.5 million primary school pupils in the first instance
3)   Cash Transfers of N5,000 monthly directly to caregivers in targeted poor and vulnerable households.
*Targets 1 million beneficiaries.
4)   Enterprises & Empowerment programme for financial inclusion and access to credit for market women cooperatives, traders, farmers, youth *Targets 1.66 million beneficiaries.
5)   STEM Bursary Programme – financial support for tertiary students studying in Education, Science and Technology, Engineering and Maths.
*Targets 100,000 students.
 
F.     BRIEF ON IMPROVING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AND EASE OF DOING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA    
 
·        Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah briefed the Council on improving business environment and ease of doing business in Nigeria.
 
·        Highlights of the presentation:
Ø Focus should be intensified on enabling environment initiatives.
Ø Prioritising initiative focus on Industrial Sector.
Ø Building of strong collaboration between Federal Government and States on ease of doing business.
Ø Measurement on States doing well, having friendly competitions on ease of doing business.
Ø Composition of a Presidential Commission to steer the process and report monthly to the Federal Executive Council. The commission has 9 ministers in its membership.
Ø Establishment of a Secretariat for the Commission with active involvement of the private sector, including the appointment of a private sector professional as Executive Secretary.
 
Laolu Akande is the Senior Special Assistant-Media & Publicity In the Office of the Vice President

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