FG, States resolve to work together to tackle economic challenges
The Federal Government and the 36 states and the FCT at the end of the two-day National Economic Council Retreat in Abuja on Tuesday resolved to work together to tackle the challenges of the economy.
The ministers of Budget and National Planning, Mr Udoma Udoma, Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Gov. Willy Obiano of Anambra and Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, told state house correspondents that the government tiers had resolved to look at immediate ways of increasing their revenues.
According to Udoma, the NEC retreat resolved to concentrate on diversification of revenue sources, particularly on revamping agriculture as key to economic growth.
He further said that the retreat resolved to set national targets for self-sufficiency in a number of identified crops, stressing that “in particular, we resolved to come together to make sure that by the end of this year, we will be self-sufficient in tomato paste.
“We also resolved that working together with the states that by the end of 2018, we will be self-sufficient in rice, that means we are going to expand rice cultivation in many states to achieve the target.
“We also resolved to work together to achieve self-sufficiency in meat production by 2019.”
The minister added that every state government was encouraged to identify at least two agricultural crops it had comparative advantage and that the government would open up rural roads to facilitate transportation of agricultural produce.
He noted that the retreat resolved that the Ministry of Solid Minerals would complete and present the Solid Mineral Road Map by March 31, as framework to addressing illegal mining, licences, taxes and royalties.
Udoma said the retreat resolved to increase investments in infrastructure and to explore Public-Public Partnership in providing infrastructure.
In his contribution, Gov. Obiano said the retreat also resolved to develop infrastructure delivery plan, considering the current financial capabilities driven principally by the goal of improvement of the quality of life for the populace.
He said the retreat also resolved that the two tiers of government should develop financing model for infrastructure projects.
Obiano said the retreat agreed to constitute the Critical Infrastructure Council made up of the Vice President, key ministries and Ministry of Finance to set targets, give direction and grant necessary approvals.
According to him, the council will integrate training and job-creation components in infrastructure projects, implement empowerment and entrepreneurship policies to improve fiscal growth.
He also said that the retreat agreed to invest in the people, adding that the Federal Government and states would partner to ensure sustainability of the school feeding and other social protection programmes.
He further said that there would be cooperation between the states’ ministries of education and SUBEB for the teacher-core programme, as well as logistic support for the upgrade of existing 75 NDE facilities across the states.
Other resolutions, he announced, included the mandate given to the Ministry of Trade and Investment to improve the ease of doing business ranking by April 30.
Gov. Yari added that the retreat resolved to set up NEC Retreat Implementation Steering Committee to be headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the NEC Retreat Implementation Monitoring Committee with Udoma as Chair.