7 October 2009

Nigeria: U.S. $2 Billion Excess Crude Fund Will Boost Economy - Governors

Abuja — The 36 state governors yesterday ratified the planned release of $2 billion dollars from the excess crude account, saying the action was part of palliative measures to mitigate the effect of the nation's economic recession and stabilise the imminent crash crunch affecting the economy. They expressed hope that the money would strengthen the economy and restore it to the path of normalcy and economic growth.

Operating under the umbrella of the National Economic Council (NEC), the governors said the money will, however, be shared next week by the Federation Account and Allocation Committee (FAAC), which will also meet to resolve some pending matters on the economy.

The NEC also approved a new blueprint for the Vision 20:20 economic policy, which will be ratified next week for final presentation and launching by the federal government.

Addressing State House correspondents after the NEC meeting, which was chaired by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, all the 36 state governors, and some ministers.

The NEC said the money will go a long way in cushioning the effects of the economy and improve on cash availability in the country.

According to him, "NEC has taken some decisions to give support to the measures of the Central Bank in strengthening the economy. The economy is in cash crunch and the banks are not lending anymore as they should to stimulate growth and development.

"And for the economy not to contract, the council saw the need to pump in some more funds into it. The sum of $2 billion dollars have been approved to be shared among the three tiers of government and the money will be distributed next week. It will follow the FAAC meeting which will also take place next Monday and Tuesday here in Abuja."

Apart from the economy, NEC also reviewed the successes recorded by the recent amnesty granted militants in the Niger Delta which ended on Sunday, saying the amnesty is paying off.

"Having reviewed the policy of the amnesty which expired on Sunday, NEC expressed satisfaction with the conduct of repentant militants, saying the success recorded has set the stage for the planned reintegration and rehabilitation of the militants.

"They will be totally rehabilitated and we want to assure them that there is no cause to regret for dropping their arms. The Federal Government is expected to do its own side and make it work to logical conclusion.

"NEC also said the lingering crisis over deductions made by the past administration over debts from the Paris Club will equally be addressed next week."

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