NEC directs states to develop social register for the vulnerable

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By Salisu Sani-Idris

The National Economic Council (NEC) has directed that states should develop a comprehensive Social Register for vulnerable people, the target beneficiaries of government’s Cash Transfer programme.

Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, made this known while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting, chaired by the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said NEC resolved that the states should come up with their own registers, using formal and informal means to develop it.

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He said that all beneficiaries at the subnational level could easily be identified that way.

“We need to face the problem of the fact that we don’t have a credible register,” he said.

Soludo affirmed that NEC also deliberated on ways to cushion the impact of the recent petroleum subsidy removal.

“The first question that was raised was in relation to cost of governance. I think it’s an omnibus concept, and it’s not something you sit down in a meeting to legislate for each and every state.

“But the fact is that the council recognizes that this is an issue that each tier of government should now focus on as an area of concern.

“Take the cost of running the state, the way we even live, so, some gave an example of a state governor going with about 20 vehicles in a convoy and all these have to be fueled.

“We need to be sensitive and move with the times; we need to live within the average of the people we’re governing and knock off the wastes and  irrelevances.”

He said when he assumed office, it was costing about N137 million every month to clean up public offices, and so on.

“Today, in Anambra, we’re doing N11 million a month from N137 million. This is just an illustration. And it’s a thing that we’re persuading each and every one of us to look into, check into our books and look ourselves in the mirror and move with the times.”

The governor also said that the council considered the possibility of negotiating a new minimum wage through the appropriate structures.

Soludo explained further that packages to serve as palliatives were marshalled out to encourage the tiers of government to implement them in accordance with their respective fiscal space and fiscal capacities.

“The Federal, State and Local Governments should be able to implement cash transfers based on the fiscal surplus coming to them and their financial capacity based on peculiarities.

“For example, a state that has been owing salary arrears, its priority is to start paying off some of the salary arrears or where pensioners have been owed their pension and gratuity for seven years for example, the priority now might be to use part of the surplus to pay them. ” (NAN)