WorldStage Newsonline– An audit report by KPMG has revealed that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other revenue generating agencies underpaid the federation to the tune of N526 billion and $21 billion between January 2010 to June 2015.
The report which was presented to an Ad-Hoc Committee of the National Economic Council which held its monthly meeting today was adopted by the Council with a resolution that possible criminal infringements should be identified and individuals involved should be prosecuted.
NEC is a constitutional body that advises the President on coordination of economic affairs in the country. It is headed by the Vice President and membership composed of all State Governors and the Central Bank Governor.
Specifically, as the KPMG presented the report of the technical audit of RGAs concluding that a total sum of N526 billion and USD$21 billion was under-paid to the Federation Account, the NEC’s Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Gombe State Governor with members including Governors of Edo, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Lagos and the Finance Minister recommended refund of the amounts under-paid.
The Council adopted the presentations and reports of the KPMG and the recommendations of its Ad-hoc Committee including a resolution to identify instances where there appears to have been criminal infringements and forward such to the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Legal Committee of the National Economic Council for further action.
The Council resolved to pursue strengthening of the NNPC governance structure to prevent further recurrence of such gross under-remittance by the NNPC and other RGAs.
Council also commended the courage of the President and Vice President as Chair of Council in ensuring the probe of Federal Government Agencies and completing the audit report as this promote transparency and the anti-corruption efforts of the Administration.
Other highlights of the NEC meeting include presentation on Nigeria Industrial Policy And Competitiveness Advisory Council in collaboration with the Nigerian Communication Commission by the Minister Of State, Ministry Industry, Trade And Investment
Highlights of his presentation include, Establishment of the Nigerian Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council was approved by Federal Executive Council (FEC) in March 2017, as a vehicle for partnering with the Private Sector on the Industrial Agenda; The Industrial Council recognises that there is need for collaboration between the Federal Government (FG), State and Local Government to drive the industrialisation agenda; The briefing today was to present the eight (8) initiatives and recommendations from the Industrial Council that require State Governments intervention.
The key issues requiring the State Government’s intervention are: Improving broadband penetration in the country; Resolving multiple taxation; Facilitating access to land; Providing security for investment; Standardising regulatory requirements; Facilitating integrated business linkage; Collaborating on project development; Providing shared facilities.
The Advisory Council requested NEC to approve the proposals to address the bottlenecks identified in order to drive the Industrialisation agenda.
The Council therefore resolved that the Nigeria Communication Commission shoul outline its plans and communicate same to the State Governors in the next meeting.
The council also received an update on Sub- National Ease Of Doing Business Project by the Minister Industry, Trade And Investment
Highlights of this include an update was presented on the activities of the Technical Working Group (TWG) and the Sub-national Ease of Doing Business Project covering October 2017 to date.
Some of the activities among others were, adopting the model of Presidential Enabling Business Environment (PEBEC) by the States working with their reform champions; Collaborating with the States in setting up structure for Ease of Doing Business similar to the PEBEC; Organising State and regional stakeholders’ fora supported by the States in order to communicate and validate the impact of reforms with SME/OPS within each State and region; Supporting all States on the 2018 World Bank Sub-national Exercise by coordinating right of reply workshops across the geopolitical zones in preparation for the World Bank Right of Reply Exercise – Nigeria witnessed 100% State representation at the World Bank Right to Reply Exercise.
The TWG is also developing a Sub-national business environment survey report to showcase the relative attractiveness of all States/region in the country under these indicators: Infrastructure and Security; Transparency and Accessibility to information; Regulatory environment; Skills and labour
The Council was invited to note and approve; For discussion – Council input on the Sub-national business environment survey; For approval – Commence the Sub-national business environment survey across the 36 States and the FCT
These requests were approved by the council while it also received a brief by the Minister of Budget and National Planning On Economic Recovery And Growth Plan (ERGP)
Minister of National Planning briefed Council on the just concluded ERGP Focus which were conducted successfully and the outcomes presented to the public last Tuesday, May 15, 2018.
He told Council members that the Labs identified 164 projects spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country; That the outcomes indicated that over 500,000 jobs is likely to be created by 2020; That more labs would be conducted in due course for other sectors and recommended that States should adopt the same model; He commended all stakeholders for making the Labs a success; The labs process was found to be extremely rewarding exercise and stakeholders who attended benefited.