FG to borrow N9bn for infrastructure
President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the release of N5,747,694,780.00 as assistance to nine states of the federation for direct disbursement to those who lost their properties, means of livelihood and places of worship in the post-election violence of 2011.
In the same vein, the federal government said the families of the dead and the wounded during the crisis had been identified and would be taken care of in due course.
The president’s approval coincided with the confirmation by the federal government that it would borrow some $9 billion between 2012 and 2014 from donor agencies for federal and state infrastructure projects.
The breakdown of the compensation to the nine states, based on a report of the Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, which assessed the reported losses and damage to properties in all the affected states, are as follows: Bauchi – N1,574,879,000.00, Sokoto – N55,888,506.00, Zamfara – N93,253,485.00, Niger – N433,375,875.00 and Jigawa – N208,667,634.00.
Katsina, Kano, Adamawa and Akwa Ibom States got N1,973,209,440.00, N944,827,000.00, N420,089,840.00 and N43,504,000.00 respectively.
A statement issued yesterday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the president had also directed that an implementation committee for the disbursement of the funds to beneficiaries in the nine states would be constituted.
The committee will comprise the governor or deputy governor of the respective states as chairman, while the members will be representatives of the state governments, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development and Secretary of the Sheik Ahmed Lemu Panel, which investigated the post-election mayhem.
Abati said: “inspection and assessment of the damage and losses suffered are yet to be carried out in Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Kaduna and Nasarawa States as modalities and further instructions for the exercise are still being expected from the state governments.”
The president’s special adviser explained that once the assessment of the damage in these states had been undertaken, funds intended to assist the victims of the crises to cover their losses would be approved and released.
Following the post-election violence and civil disturbances in some states after the April 2011 elections the president had set up a panel of enquiry headed by Sheik Lemu to, among other things, identify the spread and extent of losses suffered across the country.
The federal government has also announced that it would borrowed about $9 billion between 2012 and 2014 from donor agencies to boost the development of infrastructure at the states and federal level across the country.
This was one of the outcomes of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice-President Muhammad Namadi Sambo and attended by several state governors and ministers.
Other issues discussed at the meeting were needs assessment of Nigerian public universities, the reinvestment plan in the power sector and disposal of 78,000 laptops used for 2011 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, alongside Governors Liyel Imoke, Peter Obi and Garba Umar of Cross River, Anambra and Taraba States respectively, as well as the Minister of State for Power, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi, told State House correspondents of the decision to borrow the funds, which have up to 10 years moratorium and a 40-year repayment period.
The $9 billion would enable the federal and state governments to fund high impact projects towards improving infrastructure, agriculture and employment generation, Shamsudeen explained.
According to the National Planning Minister, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had “briefed the council on the current facilities made available by different international funding organisations including Islamic Development Bank, Islamic Development Association (IDA), African Development Bank, French Development Agency as well as Chinese and Indian Exim Banks totaling about $9 billion for projects development.”
Usman said: “The council urged the states to endeavor to meet the requirements for the loans and to ensure that the facilities are used to fund meaningful projects in their states.”
On the needs assessment of Nigerian public universities, Obi who led the technical committee on the recommendations of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Universities (NANU) briefed the council in line with a directive last month for it to incorporate additional contributions by council members and re-present its report at today’s meeting.
“After the initial presentation last month, the council had urged the committee to equally review the deplorable situation of basic and secondary education, and the need for a more robust approach to the foundation level of the education system from which successful candidates transit to universities, including a re-evaluation of the processes and procedures governing the intervention of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC),” Obi said.
He explained that the committee’s report, which followed an extensive review of the NANU report presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2012, “recommended that budgetary allocation to schools be guaranteed so that funds for education are disbursed as appropriated to ensure that the necessary facilities are provided.
“It is also aimed at strengthening of the composition and character, especially the external members of the governing councils of the universities by populating the board with members who have a direct stake in academics.
“This would ensure better management of the universities and the introduction of attractive incentives towards promoting post-graduate education and upgrading the academic qualifications of all lecturers to PhD level within a given period.
“Other recommendations of the committee are: the designation of a focal federal university per geo-political zone to be upgraded towards expanding its absorptive capacity to between 150,000 – 200,000 students in the medium-term and the establishment of a Federal Ministry of Higher Education and Manpower Development in order to ensure that students’ enrolment is reconciled with the national manpower development priorities of the nation.
“The other recommendations made by the committee included: government’s investment in hostel accommodation, establishment of specialised laboratories, establishment of a robust federal and state scholarship schemes and the lifting of the moratorium on the creation of more than one university by state governments.”
In the case of the council’s Ad hoc Review Committee on the Re-Investment Plan in the Power Sector led by Imoke, the committee highlighted the over $4 billion National Independent Power Project (NIPP) investment already made in generation which has produced additional 4,774 megawatts generation capacity by Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).
The committee noted that the additional electricity generated by the NIPPs would raise the overall generation capacity in Nigeria to 9,582 MW in December 2013, which is in line with the nation’s updated generation capacity target of 20,000 by 2020.
The committee’s chairman, Imoke, observed that “investing in the needed transmission infrastructure would ensure, among other benefits, the needed return on investment, the maximisation of proceeds from the sale of the generation assets, improved GDP growth rate as well as ensuring the effective distribution of generated power to the ultimate consumers.”
The governor further added that “as a means of solving the envisaged significant transmission constraint by the end of this year and bridging the gap for counterpart funding in hydro plants, the report recommended the following: utilisation of the proceeds from sale of generation assets for reinvestment in transmission and hydro projects.
“Disbursement of $1.65 billion to fund critical transmission infrastructure; approval of $1.72 billion to fund hydro generation; and the sourcing and immediate release of $3.37 billion bridge funding, pending the realisation of proceeds from generation asset sale.”
He said the council commended the committee for the detailed report and recommended its implementation to ensure adequate evacuation of generated power towards meeting the power demands in the country.
The council also recommended that 11 small dams spread across the country should be accommodated in the funding plan because of their potential towards boosting power, water supply and agriculture in the country.