BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) rose from 15th Teleconference meeting on Wednesday saying that its committee on Executive Order 10 chaired by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is currently working on a template acceptable to all parties for the implementation of financial autonomy for State legislature and judiciary.

The NGF said that the committee is already interfacing with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation on the implementation of Executive Order 10.

The meeting of the governors which deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, noted that data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country, showed that 20 local government areas account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded.

The Forum said that it is in the light of this, that all State governments will be required to scale up risk communications campaigns in these areas through State and local structures.

The NGF therefore resolved to scale up the implementation of the Risk Communications Community Engagement (RCCE) strategy developed by the Presidential Task on COVID-19, saying that the strategy will provide necessary impetus on communicating with the public so that communities can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a sustainable approach.

The Forum urged States to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in order to forestall their intention to embark on an industrial action.

These were contained in a communique at the end of the meeting signed by the Chairman of the NGF, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State in which it also stated that discussions are ongoing with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education to facilitate access to unrealized funds from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund.

The Forum said that it is also awaiting an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from States in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on State finances.

The communique of the NGF further states; “29 States have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19.

“Testing remains the number one priority for the government. 32 States in the country now have molecular laboratories while investments are being directed to the remaining 4 States”.

The Forum also said that NEC Security Ad-Hoc Committee comprising of the Governors of Ekiti, Katsina, Borno, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Kogi and Lagos met with President Muhammadu Buhari on 11th August 2020 to present the concerns of governors on the security situation in the country, adding that at the meeting, the President called for better inter-service coordination and assured governors that necessary security equipment were being provided to the security agencies.

The communique states that the NGF Help Desk Programme Manager, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajogbasile provided an update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme, adding that the NGF in collaboration with the Word Bank has negotiated a flexible payment term for the acquisition of a Software as a Service (SaaS) e-procurement solution for all States in the country.

It further states; “States can now make 30% advance payment for the solution after signing the framework contract. The software which is aimed at improving public procurement in the country has many advantages over traditional models of business software installation including lower upfront cost, quick set up and deployment, easy upgrade, accessibility and scalability.

“States were also encouraged to publish a Consolidated Revenue Code, Public Procurement Law and Debt Management Law on or before 30th September 2020 to be assessed under the SFTAS 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA)

The Forum said it will continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing the UBE Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

The State governments will continue to provide appropriate support to the independent verification teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) who are currently in States to conduct the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment for the SFTAS programme.

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