Coronavirus: Nigerian governors in talks with World Bank to support states — Fayemi

The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi
The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says it is in touch with the World Bank for funds for states to mitigate the economic and social costs of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, the NGF chairman, said this in a statement on Monday.

Mr Fayemi also said there are ongoing plans to include disbursement of existing and new financing for states under the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results (PforR) project.

The SFTAS is an agreement signed between the Federal Government and the World Bank, designed to strengthen the fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in Nigerian states.

The initiative aims to improve states revenue, increase fiscal efficiency in public expenditure and reduce their debts with a grant of $750 million open to the 36 states between 2018 and 2021, according to their performances.

In February, the World Bank announced that 12 states missed out on its $4.5 million (N1.37 billion) 2018 grant for not meeting the eligibility criteria.

The Forum also expressed gratitude to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their pledge to support states to increase their capacity to mitigate the spread of the virus and care for confirmed cases through the construction of isolation centres and the distribution of personal protective equipment to states.

The CACOVID Relief Fund is domiciled at the CBN. As at April 1, it has realised about N15.325 billion as contributions to tackle coronavirus in the country.

“Ongoing plans include accelerated disbursement of existing and new financing for States under the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme-for-Results, and mitigation and recovery support for expenditures to protect livelihoods, support local economic activity and recovery over the next 18 months to 2 years.

“The forum also expressed full support for the federal government’s timely implementation of the petrol price modulation mechanism to eliminate petrol subsidy permanently in the country.”

READ FULL NGF STATEMENT

We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today deliberated on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and resolved as follows:

The NGF Chairman briefed State Governors on ongoing coordination with the World Bank to mobilise support for States to mitigate the economic and social cost of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ongoing plans include accelerated disbursement of existing and new financing for States under the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results, and mitigation and recovery support for expenditures to protect livelihoods, support local economic activity and recovery over the next 18 months to 2 years.

The Forum expressed appreciation to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their pledge to support States increase their capacity to mitigate the spread of the virus and care for confirmed cases through the construction of isolation centres and the distribution of personal protective equipment to States. Members underscored the need for CACOVID to work directly with the States in the distribution of palliatives.

Following a briefing from Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the activities of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 which he chairs, the Forum commended the SGF and his team for the commitment in leading a national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Members also emphasized the necessity for stronger collaboration with States because they are best positioned to administer palliatives to mitigate the impact of the crisis, includingthe distribution of food and essential materials to households to help them cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods.

READ ALSO: My fears awaiting my Covid-19 test result – Fayemi

The Forum received presentation from Mazen Mroue, Chief Operating Officer and Olubayo Adekanmbi, Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria on ongoing collaboration with the NGF Secretariat to profile States vulnerability to the spread of the coronavirus based on parameters such as population, age and density, travel history, location, income level, etc. Governors approved the vulnerability model and resolved to use the model to drive a data-driven approach to stopping the spread of the virus in the country.

The Forum also expressed full support for the federal government’s timely implementation of the petrol price modulation mechanism to eliminate petrol subsidy permanently in the country.

Governors unanimously supported the unification of exchange rates into a single, market-determined window and the use of the market-determined exchange rate to calculate all revenues due to the Federation.

Finally, Governors reiterated the importance of canceling all deductions and deferring or restructuring all commercial debt service payments on federal government and CBN-owned debts.

Governor Kayode Fayemi
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum
5th April 2020



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