President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday inaugurated the National Economic Council with a call on state governors to settle all unpaid workers’ salaries in their respective states.
The President, who spoke while inaugurating the council in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the call became necessary bearing in mind the untold hardship being experienced by the workers and their family members.
Buhari also advised the governors to cultivate the culture of prudent management of resources as well as embark on projects that would meet the immediate needs of the people.
He said: “It is evident that the task of ensuring growth, job creation and equity, is quite enormous.
“This will entail looking inwards to secure sustainable ways of increasing Internally Generated Revenue and harnessing growth potentials of each State to supplement the Federation Account allocation to States.
“The States are also encouraged to embark on projects that will meet immediate needs of the people taking account of available resources.
“I therefore urge 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.”
The President said government was fully committed to embarking on viable policies and programmes that would restructure and transform the nation’s economy.
He spoke of the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring partnerships and facilitating international efforts to tackle the issues of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, financial crime, cyber crime, climate change and the spread of communicable diseases.
“I urge you all to ensure that we surmount these enormous challenges facing us as a country by working to support economic policies, which the government will soon unveil to grow our economy and finance our external promises,” he said.
Buhari stressed the need for states to work closely especially on projects such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes.
He reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to abide by the relevant sections of the constitution to ensure more accountability and transparency in the remittance of all revenues to consolidated revenue account.
Buhari said: On its part the Federal Government will 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.
“All revenue generating agencies such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria Customs Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Ports Authority, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, amongst others shall comply with stipulated Financial Regulations and Administrative Instructions in their remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”
Buhari said that the Nigerian Armed Forces had shown renewed commitment and made steady progress in the fight against Boko Haram.
According to him, Nigeria is collaborating with the Chad, Niger, Cameroun and the Republic of Benin under the Lake Chad Basin Commission to consolidate cross-border and international efforts at eradicating insurgency.
He said the G7 nations had shown concern about the insurgency in the North East and had promised to intervene to restore the destroyed infrastructure in schools and hospitals, amongst other places.
The President said that he had since directed the front line states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to articulate realistic assessments, costs and locations of facilities on local government-by-local government basis for submission to the President of the G7 for further verification.
He added: “In addition, the requirements of the military have been prepared by the Service Chiefs for the consideration of the G7 Nations.”
The National Economic Council 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).
NEC has the mandate to advise the President on the economic affairs of the federation, and in particular on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic programmes of the various tiers of government in the federation.