The National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday approved 10-member working committee on the herdsmen/farmers conflicts in the country.

The Vice President is to chair the committee made up of other nine governors.

This was one of the high points of the resolutions of NEC announced by Govs. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Ganduje, the committee began its meeting and consultations immediately.

“On the farmers/herdsmen crises, Council constituted a working group to collaborate with the Federal Government in addressing the issues of impunity regarding the killing and violence.

“The Committee, composed of nine governors under the chairmanship of the Vice President, would work in accordance with the President’s commitment to ensuring that all perpetrators of violence are brought to book.

“The working group comprises of governors of Zamfara, Kaduna, Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Ebonyi and Oyo States.

“The committee has started its meeting right after today’s National Economic Council.’’

The Kano governor also said that the Finance Minister Mrs Kemi Adeosun informed NEC that 11 states had received the N700 million disbursed for budget support from the Federal Government.

He said that states with outstanding payment should fulfill the necessary obligations before the disbursements were made.

Ganduje added that the criteria for disbursement was tied to the fiscally sustainable plan approved earlier by the NEC.

Ganduje said that the minister announced a balance of $2.32 billion in the Excess Crude Account as at Jan. 15, while the stabilization fund account had a balance of N9.73 billion and the National Resource Development Fund had N115.01 billion.

For his part, Umahi said NEC also considered the need for increased domestic funding for the treatment and elimination of HIV by 2030.

The Health Minister and the Director-General of NACA, in a presentation, stated that such increase would reduce dependence on donor funding for HIV services, which was already declining due to present economic realities.

Umahi said the Health Chiefs also called for investment in HIV treatment to ensure increased life expectancy in the country and proportionate increase in GDP.

He said that reducing the gap between those who required HIV care and treatment and those who had access was also given as the reason for the proposal to invest in HIV.

“The presentation asked Council to approve the resolution of the 59th National Council of Health which stipulates that at least between .5 per cent and 1 per cent of the monthly federal allocation to states be earmarked for implementation of HIV/AIDS sustainability roadmap.

“Council was asked to approve universal free anti-natal services and abolition of user-fee associated with Prevention of Mother-to-Child transmission services.

“Council was also asked to ensure that state Health Insurance Schemes include HIV as an indicator disease for both testing and treatment particularly as it relates to community health insurance programmes.

“Council noted and approved the recommendations above as requested.”

Umahi said that the Health Minister also briefed NEC on the outbreak of Lassa fever, especially in Ebonyi, and the council agreed on immediate intervention by the Federal Government in Ebonyi and Ogun states.

On the update in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, he said that after the presentation by the Minister of Budget and National Planning on the efforts of the Federal Government, NEC agreed that states should start implementation of the ERGP without delay.

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