The Federal Government on Thursday presented a draft of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2018-2020 to the National Economic Council with a view to getting the contributions of state governors.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zaynab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the council presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ahmed said the council was informed of the overriding need to return the budget cycle to the January to December calendar year.
She noted that the 2018-2020 MTEF was anchored on the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan that was launched recently by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister said although the country was gradually getting out of recession, there were still some challenges that might impact negatively on growth till 2020.
The challenges, according to her, include policy changes in the United States and Britain’s exit from the European Union, climate change and oil price fluctuation, among others.
She stated, “The council was assured that the country is already getting out of recession even as oil prices are still sliding. The non-oil sector is growing. Recovery is being recorded in manufacturing, agriculture and services.
“Efforts aimed at achieving peace in the Niger Delta are yielding fruits. The ERGP’s key objectives and the execution priorities will get the country back to growth.”
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said he briefed the council on the need to ensure that the enabling business environment reforms being carried out at the federal level were extended to the other tiers of government.
Enelamah stated that appropriate templates were already being prepared to get the states ready of the exercise.
He noted that a steering committee had been constituted to ensure synergy of all stakeholders.
The NEC was also briefed by a committee set up to monitor the challenges of implementing projects in the states.
Ahmed said she told the council that the committee monitored 27 states and it was noticed that intervention and partnership projects between states, the Federal Government and development partners were successful.
The NEC also received a report from a committee set up on the Ecological Fund, which is headed by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai.
The committee approved stringent criteria for the disbursement of the Fund to states.
The Abia State Governor, Okezie Ipkeazu, said the Accountant-General of the Federation also briefed the council on the balances in some accounts.
They include the Excess Crude Account, with a balance of $2.303bn; Ecological Fund Account, N27.466bn; Stabilisation Account, N2.553bn; and Development of Natural Resources Account, N77.922bn.