Some oil marketers who were wrongly paid money as fuel subsidy payment have started refunding the funds they fraudulently collected to the federal government.
Anambra State Governor Peter Obi disclosed this yesterday to State House correspondents after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja but refused to disclose the amount recovered so far.
He added that the NEC also commended the federal government over its present stance on the prosecution of those who fraudulently collected subsidy money and the demand for refund.
Obi said, “From the report we got today, some of the marketers have started refunding. It is a serious case that people were paid for vessels that were not anywhere near the Nigerian waters, and I think when the Federal Government does a thing that is courageous and right, it should be encouraged and given the necessary courage to do more. We support the Federal Government in its effort to clean up the entire value chain and process in the petroleum industry.
Obi said the NEC also reviewed the interest free $500million Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) from a joint presentation on the Erosion Control Fund, a medium term soft loan with a 40 years duration and 10 years moratorium, made by the coordinating minister for the economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the minister for environment, Dr. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia.
He said, “The ministers explained that the medium term soft loan is meant to check gully erosion in the South -East and other parts of the country which is increasingly threatening lives and livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.
“On the issue of pending loans, the NEC directed the Ministry of Finance and the Governors Forum to hold further discussions, beginning from today to facilitate states’ access to such facilities, considering their benefits in reducing vulnerability to soil erosion, promoting agriculture and infrastructural development as well as creating employment opportunities,” the governor added.
He said the NEC considered a presentation by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku on the planned non-partisan Good Governance Publicity Tour being jointly organised by the Ministry of Information and the National Planning Commission, NPC which is meant to monitor, evaluate and showcase federal and states projects across the six geopolitical zones.
Obi said, “The NEC deemed the tour worthwhile not only for its potential to showcase best practice in project implementation and value delivery, but also for the prospect of exposing the investment opportunities in each state.”
The NEC directed the Nigeria Governor’s Forum to set up a committee that will meet with the FMI and the NPC to review the logistics for the tour and agree on the date of commencement”.
The governor further stated that the NEC also considered a briefing by Okonjo-Iweala on the progress made by the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) youth engagement and employment initiative, “and endorsed the plan to launch the programme in the states to sensitise the people on the processes of job selection and payment to beneficiaries, beginning from September 6, 2012”.
Obi also said that the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu made a presentation on the National Oral Health Policy and the need to prioritise and improve oral health in the country by creating oral health divisions in the states as part of the initiative for the overall wellbeing of Nigerians.
He said, “The minister also made a presentation on the challenges facing NHIS/MDG Maternal and Child Health policy in the country and underscored the need for the states to show more commitment and improve their participation through the payment of the mandatory 50% counterpart funding.
“That way, an efficient and effective health care delivery mechanism would be established to improve the nation’s standing towards meeting the health requirement of the MDGs. The NEC endorsed the initiative of the health minister on deepening health insurance because of its apparent sustainability and encouraged all states to participate.
“The council also noted that the Federal Government has approved a better funding formula of 60-40 sharing formula with 60% MDG fund going to the states beginning from 2013. This is as a result of the need to tackle the issues at the grassroots.
“The NEC, however, directed the MDG office to commence discussions with the NHIS and states representatives to be able to realise the objective”.