NEC approves N100bn for National Livestock Transformation Plan

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 The National Economic Council, NEC, on Thursday approved a take-off budget of N100 billion for the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP.

Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the monthly NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was quick to add that the NLTP was clearly distinct from the controversial RUGA settlement project that government was forced to discard.

NLTP was conceptualised by NEC as an intervention programme aimed to stem the spate of clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country.

The Ebonyi governor also pointed out that participation in the plan which he wholly attributed to NEC was by choice, adding that government would not compel any state to key into the programme.

He also dispelled the insinuation that foreigners would benefit from the programme that would be solely implemented with task payers’ money.

Allaying the fears that foreigner Fulani herdsmen would be the ultimate beneficiaries of the NLTP, Umahi said movement of cattle would not be allowed without registration and monitoring.

On how the money is expected to be raised, Umahi who is the chairman of NEC subcommittee on farmers-herders crisis explained that 80 per cent of the N100 billion would be provided by the Federal Government while the States are expected to provide the balance of 20 per cent in addition to provision of land.

He said: “The committee presented a National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) 2019-2028 today. The plan is not targeted only on cows but a holistic strategy to address animal husbandry.

“The plan has six pillars through which it aims to transform the livestock production system in Nigeria along market oriented value chain while ensuring an atmosphere of peace and justice.

“The six key pillars include: economic develop (investment),  conflict resolution, justice and peace, humanitarian relief and early recovery (that is to IDPs), human capital development and cross-cutting issues such as gender, youth, research and information and strategic communication.”

“The committee proposed   implementation guidelines to guide federal government and states.

One hundred billion naira budget was proposed to support the project. Federal government is to contribute 80 per cent in grant to support the project while states will contribute land, project implementation structure, personnel and 20 percent cost of the project.

“Council resolved today that there is need to look at the trans-human West African protocol; you cannot allow such movement of cattle without registration and monitoring;

Council emphasises the need to continue to establish that the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) is a creation of NEC and state governors and of course minister of agriculture is also a member of this committee and minister of interior is also a member, and it is entirely distinct from Ruga.

“NEC adopted the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) January 18, 2019 and it is a creation of national economic council of course in liaison with the federal government.

“States will determine whether or not to participate. Federal government did not impose this plan, participation remains voluntary. What we are talking about is National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) which is a product of NEC in liaison with federal government. ”

Also briefing State House correspondents on NEC outcome, Gombe State Governor Inuwa Yahaya  said council members after taking an update from Secretary to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr Jumoke Oduwole, mandated the committee to take Nigeria to top 100 in the 2020 World Bank Ease of Doing Business index.

“It is also mandated to achieve the required political buy-ins across all arms and levels of government,” he said.

On the relationship between the newly established Economic Advisory Council and NEC, Inuwa said “Governors requested for clarification from the council chairman (the Vice President), on the relationship between NEC and the newly formed Economic Advisory Council. And the Vice President explained that those councils are advisory for the benefit of Mr. President while NEC is established by the constitution, there are to complement one another. He added that NEC could be briefed regularly on the activities of the Economic Advisory Council with the permission of Mr. President.”

Also Edo State Governor  Godwin Obaseki, who chaired a 13-member adhoc-committee to address the impact of vandalization, oil theft, illegal bunkering on oil production and  check the effectiveness of the activities of the joint task force and other security agencies in curbing the menace of oil theft said he submitted his committee’s report to council.

He disclosed that the adhoc committee discovered that there were huge losses.

His words:” In fact the NNPC reported to the committee that the 22.6 million barrels of crude oil valued at approximately $1.35 billion was lost during the first half of this year. And if this situation is not contained in two years we would have lost in excess of $2.7 billion.”

Accordingly, he said the adhoc-committee reported that the governance structure of the pipeline was such that no one was held accountable whenever there were breaches and when these losses occurred.

Obaseki listed inadequate prosecution of thieves despite numerous arrests and seizures, absence of petroleum products filling stations in most of the oil producing communities around the Niger Delta make them resort to illegal bunkering and illegal refineries and huge internal and external market of stolen products which exist across the west coast of Africa and also the sub region as some of the factors encouraging the menace.

He said the committee recommended that “there is need to restructure the maintenance and ownership of oil pipelines as a way of tackling the perpetrators of crude and other products.

“That we should have a legal framework that will ensure that criminals are duly prosecuted, imprisoned and their assets confiscated.

“That there should be special courts to trial offenders and also have a special legal task force to coordinate the prosecution of arrested offenders as well as trained special judges to handle cases of oil theft.

“That NNPC should be encouraged to engage with the national intelligence agency (NIA) to identify the markets for stolen petroleum products across the continent,” among others.

Biola Lawal

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