From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called for the review of the water bill to accommodate all concerns of states.

They noted that the interest of states is not adequately addressed in the contentious water bill.

Their position was contained in a communique issued at the end of the teleconference meeting of the forum signed by NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi.

Recall that the bill’s reintroduction in the National Assembly was met with stiff opposition from various stakeholders.

The bill seeks to give the federal government the authority to take over state water resources, license the supply, and commercialise the use of surface and underground waters.

According to Fayemi, “on the Reintroduction of the National Water Resources Bill, Governors argued that the Bill does not adequately address the interests of the states and is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The Bill according to the Forum should be reviewed with a view to accommodating the concerns of all states.”

Fayemi also said the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, presented the draft 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the governors.

According to the governor, the presentation was part of the consultative process in the development of the federal government’s fiscal policy, as well as sharing relevant macroeconomic and fiscal assumptions to assist states in preparing their Economic and Fiscal Update (EFU), Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) and Budget Policy Statement (BPS).

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Following the presentation, Fayemi stated that governors engaged in a robust discussion, with a focus on the government’s response to the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war (including inflation and the rising food and nutrition crises).

He said the Forum also discussed “the continued impact of the PMS subsidy on the fiscal headroom of governments, implications of NNPC’s new transition on federation revenues, as well as the widening divergence between the official and parallel market rate of the dollar on the currency.”

Recall the finance minister had said last week that retaining the petrol subsidy will cost Nigeria nearly N7 trillion in 2023.

The NGF chairman also disclosed that the Forum received presentations from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, on the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (LPRES) – a 6-year $500 million World Bank program.

He said it is aimed at improving the productivity, commercialisation, and resilience of targeted livestock production systems in Nigeria.

“Governors unanimously decided to spearhead the program in their states, particularly in areas such as institutional and innovation systems strengthening, livestock value-chain enhancement, crisis prevention and conflict mitigation, and project coordination,” he added.

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Source: news