Nigerian governors have raised concerns about the ownership and distribution of proceeds from recovered looted funds, demanding that they should be made shareholders.
The governors noted that following update on the rising trend of deductions from revenues accruable to the federation account available for distribution to the three tiers of government, recovered funds should be a part of the first-line charge from the federation account.
This is part of resolutions reached at the end of the 8th COVID-19 teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) chaired by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Wednesday.
In the communique signed by Governor Fayemi and made available on Thursday, the governors agreed to engage with the federal government to ensure that the governance arrangement of all federation-funded investments recognises state governments as shareholders in the distribution of proceeds and decision making.
The governors also agreed to take additional measures to strengthen their public financial management systems, including a revision of their 2020 budgets and the amendment of state procurement guidelines to support e-procurement and the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The agreement was reached after an update from the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, on the operation of the World Bank States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) project which is supporting a strong pro-poor fiscal response to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governors said they would be adopting a Software as a Service (SaaS) model with the Kaduna State government providing the framework agreement that other states can leverage on to fast-track the deployment of e-procurement across States.
Demands stepping down of Infectious Diseases Bill
The forum resolved that the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives should be stepped down until an appropriate consultative process was held, including a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns.
The governors raised concern with the lack of consultation with state governments, who they said were at the forefront of the epidemic, following an update from the Governor of Sokoto State and Vice Chairman of the NGF, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the proposed bill.
The forum, therefore, established a Committee comprising the Governors of Katsina, Sokoto and Plateau to lead a consultative meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020. The NGF secretariat was also mandated to comprehensively review the Bill and its implication on States.