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Governors Turn Down Water Resources Bill, Want It Reviewed

todayJuly 28, 2022 1

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Chuks Okocha

The controversial Water Resources Bill was yesterday turned down by the 36 states governors of the federation.

The governors asked the federal government to review the proposed policy.

This was one of the high point of the communiqué of the governors’ meeting signed by their Chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

According to the communique of the governors’ meeting, they said: “On the reintroduction of the National Water Resources Bill, Governors argued that the bill does not adequately address the interests of the states and is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The bill according to the governors should be reviewed with a view to accommodating the concerns of all states’, the governors stated.”

The communique stated the forum received presentations from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, on the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (LPRES) – a 6-year $500 million World Bank programme aimed at improving the productivity, commercialisation and resilience of targeted livestock production systems in Nigeria.

Accordingly, the communique added: “Governors unanimously decided to spearhead the programme in their states, particularly in areas such as institutional and innovation systems strengthening, livestock value-chain enhancement, crisis prevention and conflict mitigation, and project coordination.”

The communique noted that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed presented the draft 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) as part of the consultative process in the development of the federal government’s fiscal policy and to share relevant macroeconomic and fiscal assumptions to help States prepare their Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), FSP and Budget Policy Statement (BPS).

“Following the presentation, Governors had a robust discussion with priority given to the government’s response to the fallouts of the Russia-Ukraine war (including inflation and the rising food and nutrition crises), the continued impact of the PMS subsidy on the fiscal headroom of governments, implications of NNPC’s new transition on federation revenues, as well as the widening divergence between the official and parallel market rate of the dollar on the currency,” it added.

On the issue of the State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) programme which was presented by the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, the statement noted:

“SABER is a 3-year performance-based intervention jointly designed by the World Bank Technical team and the PEBEC Secretariat with support from the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, Home Finance Department (HFD) and the NGF Secretariat to incentivise and strengthen the implementation of business enabling reforms across Nigeria.

“SABER is technically a successor to State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability And Sustainability (SFTAS).

“In line with the objectives of the programme, the Forum endorsed the programme and committed to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to steer the implementation of the programme in all states of the Federation,” the communique stated.

According to the communique, “In furtherance to meeting the goals of the Seattle Declaration, the Forum committed to mobilising their state and local government teams for the PHC Leadership Challenge.

“Specific commitments include that PHC performance will be addressed at the State Executive Council level, Governors will conduct visits to PHC facilities, Governors will hold meetings with traditional leaders to discuss PHC, Deputy Governors will chair PHC taskforces, while State committees will be set up on food and nutrition.”

The communique further noted that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, addressed the Forum on available Global Fund support to state governments designed to revamp Primary Healthcare Centers, State Healthcare Centers, Ambulance Services and Drug Management Support in states, adding that governors resolved to work with the Federal Ministry of Health to actualise the initiative.

It noted that the meeting received a presentation by the leadership of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge Fund – a product of the Seattle Declaration – the Primary Health Care and Human Capital Development Roundtable hosted in November 2019 by Mr. Bill Gates, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, co-chair of the roundtable and the NGF.

It said that the Seattle Declaration sets out a series of commitments for State governments including the implementation of Primary Health Care Under One Roof, a costed Minimum Service Package tailored to States, State Basic Health Care Provision Fund requirements, improved financing for PHC as per the Abuja Commitment, review of State PHC performances in State Executive Councils, State Task Force on PHC chaired by the Deputy Governors, and the engagement of traditional and religious leaders on PHC.

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todayJuly 28, 2022

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