Dangote was instrumental to govt's agric programmes —Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja

The National Economic Council, NEC, rose from its first meeting for the year, firmly supporting the second iteration of the Subnational Ease of Doing Business Report which is to be launched in the second quarter of 2022.

This formed the crux of discussions during the 122nd physical meeting of the Council, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Conference Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Membership of the Council are Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello and the 36 state governors as well as the Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning.  

Making presentation at the meeting on the Subnational Doing Business Project and State Action on Business Enabling Reform (SABER) Programme, the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole, who noted that the second iteration of the Subnational Ease of Doing Business Report will deepen the scope of the reforms based on what private sector is saying about the business climate in Nigeria.

According to Oduwole, the initial criteria (framework) focused on security and infrastructure, transparency and access to information, the regulatory environment, and skills and workforce readiness. 

She explained that the second edition will include economic opportunity, and level of digitization, just to deepen the scope based on private-sector ideas regarding improving the business climate in Nigeria.

Council also received an update presentation on the State Performance Report on Disease Outbreaks in Nigeria by the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa.

Council was informed that as of 19th January 2022, a total of 251,341 cases were tested while 23,939 active cases were recorded and 224,939 discharged. 

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There was also an update report on the outbreak of Lassa Fever with reported increasing number of cases from Bauchi, Oyo, with recorded fatalities in Nasarawa(2) and Benue(1) States in the last 7 weeks.

States were urged to improve enforcement of proper environmental sanitation; activation of Lassa Fever testing laboratories; sustain funding for Lassa Fever response; provision of local sample transportation framework, and equip treatment centres to manage complicated cases.

Other highlights of the NEC Meeting include update on Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance which stood at $35,868,086.40 as at 17th January, 2022. 

Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba said Stabilisation Account balance as at 17th January, 2022 stood at N30, 685, 611, 413.79.

Agba said Development of Natural Resources Account balance stood at N42, 820,382,381.40

Council was called to note that a “demographic dividend” can deliver massive economic growth, poverty reduction and human development. 

Nasir Isa Kwarra, Chairman National Population Commission, said the demographic dividend arises when there is a favourable age structure with larger shares of workers and smaller shares of dependents.

“The Demographic Transition is where the necessary conditions to capture a demographic dividend are created. This is characterized by declines in child mortality and fertility.

“The more rapid the fertility decline, the sooner and the larger is the demographic dividend.

“We recognize the importance of investing in adolescent girls to accelerate Nigeria’s demographic transition

“Adolescents constitute population age 10 -19 years and by estimate, represent 23.4% of the total population of Nigeria.

“Meeting adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health and educational needs can fast-track Nigeria’s journey from being a pre-dividend to early dividend country.

“Addressing adolescent needs and empowering them can quicken the opening of the window of opportunity required to harness a demographic dividend.

“However, there are constraints that need to be addressed urgently”, a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said on Thursday.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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