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Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari

Pledges commitment to health insurance scheme
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has advised states to submit a 10-year data of their audited accounts to enable the working committee determine the strength of each state financially for them to come up with a realistic figure that could be borne by all states.

The NGF, which gave the advice in a communique signed by its chairman, Abdu Aziz Yari yesterday after a closed-door meeting, said its committee, headed by Governor of Kebbi State with his Rivers, Osun, Gombe, Jigawa and Anambra counterparts as members, are to make their findings known to the forum before a collective decision is taken on the minimum wage to workers.

The Forum stated that in the last seven years, there had not been any increase in the income of the nation and therefore there should be no increase but a decrease if the nation’s purse is to be taken into consideration.

It says states that feel they are adequately buoyant to fulfill the minimum wage requirement, are free to do so but were also advised to be mindful of the fact that doing so will bring labour into collision course with governors who are unable to pay.

The NGF said some governors had resorted to rationalising salaries by paying certain ministries and departments in one month and other ministries and departments in another month just to ensure that they do not renege on their obligations to their workers.

In another development, following the roadmap to achieving universal health coverage at the sub-national level, governors have pledged to maintain ongoing reforms, including domesticating the state health insurance scheme.

Chairman of the Forum, Yari, who stated this yesterday while briefing the media on the outcome of the forum’s closed-door meeting in Abuja, said the domestication was aimed at achieving a strong, efficient and well-run Primary Health Care (PHC) system that would deliver priority health needs to all Nigerians through an integrated care.

He further disclosed that the Forum had received briefings from World Bank Country Director, Dr. Rachid Benmessaoud, on states’ fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) project aimed at strengthening ongoing fiscal reforms at sub-national level to achieve better public-sector management and fiscal sustainability.

According to him, the governors noted that the effective implementation of the SFTAS project would substantially increase available fiscal resources for productive public spending at the state level in the medium-term.

He said the implementation would help state governments strengthen domestic revenue mobilisation, public investment and debt sustainability.

“The Forum also pledged to work with the National Assembly to ensure the inclusion of the SFTAS programme in the external borrowing plan to achieve programme effectiveness by September 2018 as planned,” he said.



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