* Council sets up committees on Economic Affairs, Crude Oil Theft & Management

Vice President Kashim Shettima has charged members of the National Economic Council (NEC) to shelve the idea of vacation in the yuletide and carry on with issues of governance to ease the burden of Nigerians hanging on their shoulders.

He charged the Council members to be alive to the demands of Nigerians noting that , “as the year draws to a close, none of us in this chamber should anticipate a vacation. I tend to think so because upon our shoulders rests the weight of responsibilities from which we cannot escape. We are returning to be judged by the promises we made to be here.”

Speaking on Thursday during the 138th meeting of NEC which held virtually, the VP said his principal, President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, GCFR, has shown that the challenges inherited by his administration are surmountable, and has offered visionary leadership and presented a coherent development plan to assist in the country’s pursuit of order, abundance, and stability.

“Each of us owes their constituents the scorecard of their stewardship in these few months of translating ideas into tangible actions. That’s why we can’t afford to fail, and the new year must be, for us, a timeout to reflect on how we have fared so far and what we must do differently to keep the hope of the nation alive,” the Vice President stated.

Apparently keen about getting results of the government’s ongoing reforms in good time, the VP stressed the need for the citizens to feel the positive impact of fuel subsidy removal and forex unification, noting that high inflation and cost of living are global challenges that have affected the economies of all countries.

Shettima said they should be considered as enough “inspiration for us to come together and tackle ours through realistic interventions”.

Meanwhile, following deliberations on critical economic matters and assessments of potential short-term, medium and long-term strategies for addressing pressing economic issues, NEC set up the committees on Economic Affairs, as well as the committee on Crude Oil Theft And Management.

Both committees are to be headed by Kwara State Governor, Alh AbdulRahman AbdulRazak, and his Imo State counterpart, Senator Hope Uzodimma, respectively.

The Economic Matters committee to be chaired by Kwara State Governor, AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman, is saddled with the task of preparing a clear roadmap for dealing with petroleum subsidy, including a framework for defending wage negotiations, exchange rate management and fiscal consolidation sustainability, liquidity management and inflation, medium term investment and growth, fiscal transparency and accountability, as well as state of emergency on food production for 2024.

Members of the committee include the Gombe State Governor, representing North East; Governor of Lagos (South West); the Governor of Akwa Ibom (South-South); the Governor of Anambra (South East); the Governor of Niger (North Central), and Governor of Kaduna (North West).

Rukaiya El-Rufai, Special Adviser to the President on NEC and Climate Change is to serve as Secretary.

The second committee on Crude Oil Theft and Management, an existing NEC committee, has been reconstituted with Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State as the chairman.

Other members are the Governor of Ogun State representing South West; the Governor of Plateau State (North Central); the Governor of Rivers (South-South) Governor of Borno (North East); Governor of Jigawa State (North West); the Governor of Abia State (South East); Minister of Budget and Economic Planning; Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy; CBN Governor; GCEO of NNPCL, NDDC Chairman, and Service Chiefs.

The Secretariat will be domiciled at the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr Tope Fasua will serve on the committee.

Council also received an update on account balances as at 31st October 2023. The Excess Crude Account as at 31st October, 2023 stood at $473,754.57, while the Stabilization Account was N32,063,186,474.96 during the same period. Development Of Natural Resources Account as at 31st October 2023 stood at N156,770,745,529.74.

Stanley Nkwocha

Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media & Communications

(Office of The Vice President)

21st December, 2023