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NEC adopts stringent criteria for disbursing ecological fund


Yemi Osinbajo

The National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has adopted stringent criteria for access and disbursement of the ecological fund for proper management.

Specifically, the Fund, which currently stands at N27.466 billion, is disbursed by the presidency to address ecological challenges and disasters in the states. However, governors recently accused the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan of doling out the funds indiscriminately in favour of his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) states to the disadvantage of then opposition parties.

This prompted the NEC to raise a panel headed by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, last April to review the operations of the fund. The committee submitted its report to Council yesterday, recommending among others, a robust governance structure and stringent disbursement criteria to sanitise the management of the fund.

Briefing State House Correspondents after the 79th NEC meeting, which held at the Presidential villa, Abuja, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State ‎gave insight into the committee’s recommendations.

He said henceforth, disbursement will be based on physical visitation by the ecological office team and an on the spot assessment and verification of the ecological disaster.

He explained that the Committee also recommended among others, ‎a technical evaluation of the disaster by experts, evidence of existing prompt, Emergency response mechanism in place before the disaster and evidence of advocacy.

Other recommendations he said were monitoring and evaluation framework must be build into the application of ecological fund as a road map for measuring performance of the fund, and that at all times 50 per cent of the Federal Government share or N20 billion must be reserved for emergencies at the discretion of the president.

He said the NEC‎ meeting “commended the El-Rufai Committee for the painstaking job and noted that the Federal Government will consider the recommendations.”The Governor said Council also received briefings from the Accountant General of the Federation on the current balances as at 19th July, 2017: Excess Crude Account (ECA), $ 2.303 billion; Ecological Fund Account, N27.466 billion; Stabilization Account,N2.553 billion and Development of Natural Resources Account, N77.922 billion.

He said NEC received the presentation of the report by the Governor of Gombe state, Ibrahim Dankwambo on Forensic Audit of Revenue Accrued from Revenue Generating Agencies (RGAs) into Federation Account (FA), Excess Crude Account (ECA) and Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).He said the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo welcomed the Interim Report and noted that Council will await the outcome of the final report.

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