The Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum on Wednesday met and deliberated on issues affecting the country, particularly on the roll out of the Covid19 vaccines and the attendant issues that have arisen since the roll out.
Chairman of the forum and governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi, congratulated his colleagues for accepting to be vaccinated and declared that so far the vaccines have not shown any signs of side-effects as is widely rumored.
Speaking further, the chairman also briefed his colleagues on the visit of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of States’ Universities, the activities of the Governors Spouses around Gender-Based Violence and the VAP Act calling on his colleagues to step up to the plate in support of the activities of the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum nationwide and the progress made with the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) project.
Meanwhile, after the briefing by the Chairman, the NGF received a presentation from the British Deputy High Commissioner (DHC) in Lagos, Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, on the Accelerated C-19 Economic Support (ACES) programme which is aimed at supporting Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The current focus of the ACES programme in Nigeria is trade facilitation through e-customs and digital jobs booster to activate the digital economy and accelerate the creation of local tech jobs in the country.
Furthermore, following the presentation, the Forum committed to supporting a federal government-led cross-agency trade facilitation as a critical objective of the e-customs programme coordinated through the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap. Nigeria will be able to achieve the objectives of the e-customs programme (i.e., enhanced user experience, and approximately 10% growth in customs revenue to hit the US$176 billion revenue target) with a broader cross-agency scope of reform including fulfilling its Word Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement.
Also, the forum also pledge commitment to encouraging digital infrastructure expansion, accelerator programmes and investment promotion to facilitate job creation in highly potential digital areas such as IT and business processing outsourcing, digital media, e-commerce, start-up innovation and smart manufacturing based
on the comparative advantage of each State. In the light of this, State governments are encouraged to set up one-stop shops to accelerate approvals and harmonize fees for priority broadband infrastructure across the country.
Furthermore, the NGF Secretariat will partner with the British High Commission, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as well as partners at the federal level on the workability of the ACES programme and the role of State governments to maximize its opportunities.
The Forum’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group (CTAG) led by Professor Oyewale Tomori briefed members on the status of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out across the States including the increasing concerns of the public on the safety of Asta Zeneca vaccines. CTAG recommended that Nigeria should continue to vaccinate all eligible persons with the AstraZeneca vaccine in line with the latest WHO recommendations as available evidence, including findings from research in which some CTAG members
are involved showing that the Astra Zeneca vaccine is safe.
The governors reiterated their belief in the safety of the Astra Zeneca vaccines and commit to continuously encourage uptake of the vaccines by all eligible persons in their States, Governors also encourage the public to report any adverse events noticed following COVID-19 vaccination.
Following a briefing from the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement
Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa on Managing the Drug Crisis in the country, state governors expressed commitment to supporting the logistics and operational activities of NDLEA officials in their States, as well as programmes that will promote drug use prevention in the country.
The forum also received a presentation on the 2018 audited accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER) led by its team lead, Mr Henry Adigun. The Forum welcomed the fiduciary risk assessment of the corporation. The additional information will support the work of State governments in engaging with the federal government to improve the governance arrangement of the oil industry.