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Buhari Inaugurates National Economic Council, Calls For Courage To Survive Economic Woes

By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – President Muhammadu Buhari has urged members of the National Economic Council (NEC) to ensure that the country surmounts enormous challenges facing it, by working to support the incoming economic policies, to grow Nigerian economy and finance her external promises.


President Mohammadu Buhari

Mr. President while speaking Monday at the inauguration of the body at the Presidential Villa Abuja, observed it was evident that the “task of ensuring growth, job creation and equity, is quite enormous”, stressing that government must kick-start the identified process by cultivating a culture of prudent management of resources at all levels.

This, President Buhari stated would entail looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); and harnessing growth potentials of each State to supplement the Federation Account allocation to States.

In order to complement Federal Government efforts, the President encouraged States to embark on projects that would meet immediate needs of the people “taking account of available resources”. He therefore urged the Council members to consider, as a matter of urgency, exploring efficient means of gradually liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff, which have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.

President Buhari who recalled as he promised during his inauguration over a month ago, opened up that his administration was fully committed to embarking on sustainable visionary initiatives and programmes that would restructure and transform the national economy.

“We are also committed to ensuring collaboration and facilitation of the International efforts to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), financial crimes, cyber-crimes, climate change; the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century” Mr Promised pledged.

He noted that the Council meetings have over the years, been very constructive and productive, while the key outcomes as well as recommendations translated into Government policies at the Federal and state levels.

President Buhari affirmed “This has not only facilitated national economic planning, but also lead to over- all political harmony. It is also reassuring to note that steps have been taken in the past to strengthen the effectiveness of the Council in its role as prime adviser on developments in the economy. This process must be geared up substantially especially in the difficult times that we have now found ourselves”.

In this regard, Mr. President tasked the National Planning Commission to continue working to arrive at workable consensus on Government policies among the various tiers of Government, which he said was a prerequisite for sustained growth and development.

President Buhari emphasized on cooperation from all parties, as he also recalled, as a former Governor, it was important the neighbouring states cooperate closely on projects such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes, asserting that the country was one and “we who have the responsibility to run it” must lead by example.

“As far as is possible there should be distance between politics and development programmes” the President cautioned.

The Federal Government, Buhari pledged would abide by the provisions of Sections 80 and 162 of the Constitution and ensure more accountability, transparency and integrity in the Distribution of the Federation Account.

In achieving this, the number one citizen said: “All Revenue Generating Agencies such as Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) amongst others shall comply with stipulated Financial Regulations and Administrative Instructions in their remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund”.

On Insurgency, President Buhari restated that the Nigerian Armed Forces have shown renewed commitment and made steady progress in the fight against Boko Haram. He reminded that Nigeria, under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Republic of Benin was collaborating with the Republics of Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Benin to consolidate cross-border and international efforts at eradicating the insurgency.

President Buhari equally expressed delight that following his invitation to Germany early in the month by the G7 Nations who have shown concern about the Insurgency and promised to intervene to restore the destroyed infrastructure, schools and hospitals amongst others; he, in addition has directed the affected States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to “articulate realistic assessments, costs, locations on Local Government by-Local-Government of affected facilities for submission to the President of the G7 for further verification.

“In addition, the requirements of the Military have been prepared by the Service Chiefs for the consideration of the G7 Nations” Mr. President informed.

The President while thanking and wishing his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and members of the NEC success in their task, reiterated that the expectations was high that the body was considered as a veritable source of articulating policies and programmes that were people centered, as well as capable of driving further, “the expected growth and development of the country” as well as providing enabling environment required for progress.

NEC was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended, Third Schedule, Part I, Section 153: Sub section (18 & 19). It is one of the Federal Executive bodies, with the mandate to advise the President concerning the economic affairs of the Federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning and programmes of the various Governments of the Federation.

The body is also considered as the official economic platform for dialogue among the 36 State Governors; the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and other co-opted members. It is chaired by the Vice President, where issues and challenges facing the development of the country, at the national and sub-national levels, are discussed with a view to develop and harmonize common strategies for addressing them.


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