President Goodluck Jonathan (5th right) flanked by Vice President Namadi Sambo and Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State after the inauguration of National Economic Council at the State House, Abuja, yesterday. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida.BY DANIEL IDONOR
Aug 23, 2011 – Jonathan To Governors: Don’t Play Politics With Economic Issues
ABUJA NEWS — PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, inaugurated the constitutionally recognised National Economic Council, NEC, with a charge to governors not to politicise issues that have to do with the national economy.
The council, as stipulated by law, is chaired by the Vice President with the 36 governors of the federation and four ministers, including those of the Federal Capital Territory, Finance, Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, and National Planning, as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Chief Economic Adviser to the President.
Since the inauguration of the Jonathan government on May 29, this all important council has not met until yesterday, when it was formally inaugurated.
Addressing the inaugural session, Jonathan urged the governors dominated council not to join issues that affect the economy with politics, insisting that the economy must be accorded national priority by all tiers of government.
He said: “I will, therefore, plead with the governors, those of them who are here and those who are not here, not to play politics with anything that has to do with the economy of the country. Of course we have a multi party system and of course we cannot all come from the same party, all political parties have the same aspirations, good governance, to improve the welfare of the citizens. So we don’t need to play politics with the economic issues.
“I will, therefore, plead with the governors that at the end of any of the governors forum meetings, if you feel there are issues that you feel that are grey, it is better you approach us so that we can sit down and look at it and discuss and agree on where to go.
“I will plead that the governors should not rush to the media and make pronouncements bothering on the economy of the country, especially some other things that the Federal Government has a key role to play.”
He noted that “the economy of the country is the top most priority of this administration because we know without fixing our economy, we can’t go anywhere as a nation. So that is first interest of government and I would want to urge all the different tiers of government, the states and local governments to place economic issues on the front burner because without a well managed economy, as a nation we will not be planning for the future generation.”
In his response, Vice President Namadi Sambo, who is the Chairman of NEC said: “Let me on behalf of the entire members of this new council express our appreciation to you for the confidence reposed in us. We are determined to deliver and strive to live up to expectations in the discharge of our responsibility.
“With the inauguration of this council, the decisions reached by us are expected to translate into key policies, programme and projects to be implemented at all levels of government.
“I, therefore, wish to assure Mr. President that we shall remain resolute, committed and focussed towards improving the economy and its management process at the federal and sub-national levels.”
This is consistent with the aspirations of the transformation agenda and Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020.”
“I am pleased to note particularly the efforts of the governors in facilitating the counterpart funding of the national integrated power projects, the passage of the national sovereign wealth fund as well as the fiscal responsibility and public procurement act in their respective states. The governors were equally instrumental to the initiation of other laudable initiatives including the establishment of the Bureau of Statistics and debt management offices in their respective states. The initiatives have no doubt contributed in deepening the economic management of our scare resources towards achieving our national aspirations”, he said.
“Let me assure Mr. President that this council will consolidate and ensure development programmes that shall allow immediate creation of jobs and a new and improved social economic status for our people. We have listened carefully to you and we will work in that direction”.
He promised that “our meeting shall continue to be on a monthly basis while the national economic management team shall be our strong ally in articulating policies to facilitate good governance in Nigeria”.(Vanguard)