By Franca Joseph
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to cancel all funds debiting from the states, and the Central Bank to restructure all commercial debt servicing remissions from state governments.
This was made known at the governor’s teleconference meeting on COVID-19 on Sunday, April 5, 2010.
The forum commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) initiated Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) for proposing to help pull resources together to aid the ongoing efforts against the virus.
The full statement released by the NGF is below:
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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, including the distribution of food and essential materials to households to help them cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.