Governor David Nweze Umahi

Despite the initial scepticism that greeted the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday, resolved to reimburse at least 80 percent of funds used by a number states already implementing the programme.

Chief among states penciled down to benefit from the funds estimated at N100 billion, which have also been gazetted, are Adamawa, Plateau, and Nasarawa states, including two others not mentioned by the Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.

In the implementation plan, states interested in the scheme, which has been termed Ruga in some quarters, are expected to contribute 20 percent as counterpart funds while they will draw 80 percent of the funds from the N100 billion.

Recall that NEC had approved N100 billion for the pilot phase of the programme, despite objections from some state actors who had described it as a means for land grabbing.

While concern heightened that it might spell doom for the country in the near future, the development prompted the government to make it optional with some states preferring to go with the name ‘ranching’.

Umahi said: “At NEC, we discussed the issue of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) and the following were discussed: the NLTP emerged from an extensive process involving engagements with stakeholders and detailed analysis of opinions.

“After the initial decisions were made by the state governors, the focus of the initiative shifted to the implementation. Outline of the established engagement process includes: letter of intent and counterpart funding, state livestock transformation office and community engagements.

“Preliminary analysis of survey results, which include data capturing analysis, such as analysis of enumerated data of five gazetted grazing reserves now in Adamawa State.

“We also have two gazetted reserves data obtained in Plateau and in Nasarawa, we have four gazetted reserves, so data is being collected and analysed.

“We had prayers to Council, one of which was that Council should consider and approve that the three states should submit their detailed plans for the 80% funding of the total cost by the Federal Government, as stipulated in the National Livestock Transformation Plan and, of course, the states that are participating will have to pay 20% counterpart funding.

“The second prayer was that these states should commit 5% of funding to support the work of the secretariat, in line with the National Livestock Transformation Plan’s policy. Council approved the two prayers.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, pegged current balances in the Excess Crude Account as at February 24, 2020 at $71, 813,941.84.

She placed figures for the Stabilisation Account, as at February 24, 2020 at N34,186,655,761.82, while that of Natural Resource Account stood at N101,889,686,452.53.

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