The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday in Abuja expressed support for the plans and proposals of the Federal Government to steer the country out of economic recession.
Gov. Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi announced this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the NEC meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The Vice President is the Chairman of the Council, which advises the President on economic affairs of the federation and in particular, on measures necessary for the coordination of the economic planning in the country.
NEC is composed of governors of all 36 states of the federation, and the Central Bank Governor.
Bagudu said that the council, while acknowledging the current economic challenges and difficulties, also endorsed the work of the President’s Economic Management Team.
He stated that the council specifically commended the Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udu Udoma and Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun for their efforts towards finding lasting solutions to the economic challenges.
“The Ministers of Budget and National Planning and the Central Bank governor all made presentations and highlights of the presentations were sad news that the economy is in recession largely due to dependence on single commodity, which is crude oil, whose prices we could not control.
Oil price collapsed to less than 30 dollars per barrel in the first quarter of 2016 and market expectations are that it will still stay lower for longer.
“The various members of the National Economic Team made presentations on measures to provide larger injection of funds into the economy,’’ he said.
He stated that the measures included asset sales, advance payment of licence renewals, infrastructure concessioning, use of recovered funds etc to reduce funding gaps,
Others, he said, were the implementation of Fiscal Stimulus/Budget Priorities, fast-track procedures through legislation and implementation of Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the budget and meaningful diversification of the economy and cut down importation
According to the governor, the recession provides an opportunity to restructure and reset the nation’s economy.
Also addressing the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Deputy Governor of Ogun, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, said the Minister of Finance reported to council that the balance in Excess Crude Account was 2.453 billion as at Sept. 20.
She said the minister also reported to council that N50 billion had so far been disbursed to state governments as bailout, saying that “the facility is ongoing”.