The 36 states of the federation are to be refunded a total of N350billion by the Federal Government for repair works undertaken on all federal roads in an effort to ensure better maintenance of the country’s roads network.
The disbursement of the amount which includes all outstanding requests that have not been honoured in the last eight years, would however be made only after due verification and harmonisation of claims must have been completed by the Federal Ministry of Works.
The decision is part of the resolutions by the National Economic Council (NEC), which also agreed that the power plants executed under the National Integrated Power Programme (NIPP) in the states should be privatized on completion.
The meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, said the present privatization framework of 11 distribution companies should be maintained, with state governments and the Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) appointing independent valuers jointly, while 49 per cent of the total equity would be held between federal and state governments.
Abia state governor, Theodore Orji, who spoke with reporters alongside his Adamawa, Katsina and Ondo states counterparts, Mutalla Nyako, Ibrahim Shema and Olusegun Mimiko respectively, said that NEC mandated the Federal Ministry of Works to speed up work on the verification and harmonisation of claims on states spending on federal roads to ensure the immediate reimbursement to states.
“To ensure proper maintenance of federal roads, states are encouraged to continue with routine maintenance of such roads provided they comply with new procedures for such intervention,” the governor said.
The governor said the meeting also agreed to undertake a joint funding of Agricultural Transformation Initiative, adding that the Council adopted strategies for deeper cooperation between the federal and state governments towards improving agriculture, boosting production, ensuring food sufficiency and providing employment opportunities.
“Following a comprehensive presentation on agricultural productivity enhancement practices jointly made by Adamawa, Ondo and Plateau States, each state has been asked to submit proposals on their comprehensive agricultural development plan to be able to access funding from Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) administered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“The ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and CBN are collaborating towards funding the necessary agricultural developments in the states with available funds”, he said.
The Katsina state governor said the Council resolved for Federal Government to partner with states to ensure the completion of the on-going dam and other agricultural projects as well as the full utilisation of existing ones to boost agricultural production.
Adamawa state governor, who also spoke on agricultural development, said the meeting agreed on the decentralisation of the Agriculture Ministry, adding that the Federal Government was in the process of creating regional state offices in line with the ongoing reforms for effective monitoring of agricultural processes in the state.
“These offices will be on ground to work directly with farmers in implementing agricultural value chains. Other areas of reforms being implemented include public, private sector collaboration in fertilizer procurement and distribution, setting up of marketing corporations, establishment of agricultural investment framework and transmission of a Bill on 40 per cent cassava flour content to ensure compliance”.
Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema, who spoke on the Power sector reform, said Council agreed that states should partner with distribution companies that are recognised by government, adding that Federal and states government would not play any role in the management of the 11 distribution companies.
“Shareholders agreement to be signed between the government and core investors in each distribution company will be done between the states and federal government,” he said.
Council will also suppors states that desire to establish or build independent electricity distribution networks within areas currently not served or being served by the distribution companies. Such states are free to do so by obtaining a franchise, subject to obtaining a license from Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).”