President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the National Economic Council (NEC), with a pledge to ensure accountability, transparency and integrity in the distribution of funds in the Federation Account.
They are made up of the 36 State Governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and Permanent Secretaries for the key ministries that have something to do with the economy.
At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, President Buhari insisted that all revenues from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian Customs Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety and the Liquefied Natural Gas, among others should be remitted into the Consolidated Revenue fund.
The President reminded the council members of issues and challenges facing the oil-rich nation, from insecurity to unemployment, corruption power shortages and his commitment to be visionary in order to surmount the challenges.
He made reference to remittances to the Federation Account by government agencies and pledged to ensure accountability and transparency in the distribution of funds from the Federation account.
President Buhari also pledged to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He pledged his renewed commitment to the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists, urging front line states to articulate assessment of the destructions in their states for submission to the G7, which had requested for the document.
The Nigerian President further reiterated his high expectations from the National Economic Council.
Liquidating Unpaid Salaries
Addressing the Governors, President Buhari urged them to, as a matter of urgency, explore efficient means of liquidating all unpaid salaries of staff, which have brought untold hardship to thousands of families.
He said there was the need for states to cooperate closely on projects such as interstate and feeder roads, soil erosion, desertification and other developmental programmes.
President Buhari also urged them to separate politics from development programmes.
The NEC serves as an advisory body to the President on economic matters and is made of the 36 State Governors and select members of the Federal Executive Council.
According to tradition, the council is expected to be chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
With Ministers yet to be appointed, the Permanent Secretaries of some ministries such as finance, and national planning as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria were at the inauguration.
The council will draw up the economic blue print for the current administration.
“All Motion, No Movement”
The inauguration of the NEC was held amidst criticisms against President Buhari of delays in constituting his cabinet and making key appointments for his administration, a month after being sworn in as president.
On Sunday the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed the Buhari’s administration was finding it difficult to locate its bearing and even take off and face the challenges of governance at the centre, resulting in “30 days of all motion and no movement”.
The party warned that the scenario was not a good one for the polity.
The PDP further urged Nigerians to join hands in prayers to save the government from further “inaction and dithering”.