The National Economic Council rose from a prolonged meeting in Abuja last night expressing dismay with the management of the ecological fund under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, pointing out that under the immediate past administration, about N200 billion of the fund was outrightly squandered.
The council headed by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan with the 36 state governors constituting its membership among others, said the amount was wasted on projects that were either non-existent, shoddily executed or were awarded without due process.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting in this regard said the council decided that due process must apply in the award of contracts from ecological funds and that the states where such projects are located adequately consulted henceforth.
The council, which according to him, was told that only N51.9 billion was left in the kitty of the ecological fund frowned at the past practice of awarding contracts for the execution of projects in the states without the involvement or input of state governments who invariably would take control of such projects.
The NEC directed that the Federal Ministry of Environment should continue to manage the ecological funds on behalf of the Federal Government but with adequate consultation and input of the state governments on the projects to be executed in their states.
The council equally dissatisfied by the deliberate refusal of two banks to disburse the N200 billion approved for farmers across the country as loans, approved the withdrawal of monies lodged with the banks and delisted them from the deal.
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido and the Katsina State Governor, Alhaji, Ibrahim Shema said in their place, five other banks were approved to take over the disbursement of the funds immediately.
“Concerning the agric loan, government is not satisfied with the attitude of the two banks earlier appointed to disburse the funds to farmers and have consequently withdrawn the money from the banks. Five other banks have been appointed to take over the disbursement of the money. The banks include GTB, Finbank, Zenith and Union banks.
The council also adopted the blueprint for community sport centres in all the 774 local council areas of the country to provide facilities for local training and development of talents, adding that the centres, when completed, would serve as academy for breeding new sportsmen and women and personnel for the country.
From Sun News