by Elom Victor Innocent
Governors of the 36 States of the federation have promised to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in order to forestall their intention to embark on an industrial action.The governors made the promise in a communiqué released on Thursday at the end of the 15th Teleconference meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.he NGF, in a communiqué issued on August 5, said that State governments with unresolved issues with their Resident Doctors had been enjoined to meet with NARD to agree on workable solutions in the face of the current challenges in the country. Some of the unresolved issues include unpaid salaries for doctors and the non-domestication and non-implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act, 2017
NGF renews push to access UBE fund In the communiqué signed by NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, the forum also pledged to continue to engage with the federal government on the suspension of State counterpart funds required for accessing the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Fayemi had earlier briefed the meeting that discussions were ongoing with the federal government, through the Ministry of Education, to facilitate access to unrealized funds from the UBE Fund.He said that the forum was also awaiting an advisory from the Attorney General of the Federation on the call for a waiver on counterpart funds from States in the light of the impact of the COVID-19 on State finances.
The State governments also vowed to continue to provide appropriate support to the independent verification teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation who are currently in States to conduct the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment for the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.The NGF, in collaboration with the Word Bank, had negotiated a flexible payment term for the acquisition of a Software as a Service (SaaS) e-procurement solution for all States in the country.States can now make 30% advance payment for the solution after signing the framework contract.The software, which is aimed at improving public procurement in the country, has many advantages over traditional models of business software installation, including lower upfront cost, quick set up and deployment, easy upgrade, accessibility and scalability.
States were also encouraged to publish a Consolidated Revenue Code, Public Procurement Law and Debt Management Law on or before 30th September 2020 to be assessed under the SFTAS 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA).
Template to implement financial autonomy for judiciary, legislature
The forum received an update from Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who’s leading the NGF Committee interfacing with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, on the implementation of Executive Order 10.
The committee, the communiqué said, was currently working on a template acceptable to all parties for the implementation of financial autonomy for State legislature and judiciary.
The forum also resolved to scale up the implementation of the Risk Communications Community Engagement (RCCE) strategy developed by the Presidential Task on COVID-19.
The communiqué said the strategy would provide necessary impetus on communicating with the public so that communities can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a sustainable approach.
It said that State governments would also be able to identify and engage with all the relevant multi-sectoral partners on the success of this strategy which would be led nationwide by commissioners of information.
“29 States have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19.
“Testing remains the number one priority for the government.
“32 States in the country now have molecular laboratories while investments are being directed to the remaining 4 States.
“Data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country show that 20 local government areas in the country account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded.
“In the light of this, all State governments will be required to scale up risk communications campaigns in these areas through State and local structures,” the communiqué also said.
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Some of the unresolved issues include unpaid salaries for doctors and the non-domestication and non-implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act, 2