The National Economic Council on Thursday approved the new foreign exchange policy announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria even as five states have met the criteria for the Federal Government’s bailout loans to states.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State said this in Abuja while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to Emmanuel, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, told the Council that the foreign exchange policy would be determined by total interplay of market forces based on demand and supply.
Emmanuel said: “Certainly, it is a welcome development. (There are) two areas that we needed to really take head long and one is this flexible foreign exchange policy.
“And to make it a little bit more flexible right now, I think it is a welcome development.
“That is the opinion of almost everybody today who knows the advantages of having a flexible exchange policy.
“It is going to help the economy, it is going to help ease of access.
“And if you also listen to the details of what he (the CBN Governor) gave, so that I don’t actually repeat what he has said, I am sure at the end of the day, head or tail, we should be better off for it.”
The governor also said the Council received a report on Excess Crude Account by the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, indicating a balance of $2.261 billion as at June 15.
He said Adeosun also informed the Council that the full report on the forensic audit instituted on the revenue accruals into the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other revenue generating agencies would be given when it was ready.
He also said Adeosun briefed the Council on the budget support facility proposed by the Federal Government to assist the states at nine per cent interest rate.
According to him, as at today, five states have completed the process for borrowing from the budged support loan.
He however, said one state declined the loan, while disbursement would commence from the next Federal Account Allocation Committee meeting.
Emmanuel said the status report on the social intervention programmes to reduce poverty and equality in the country was given by the Presidential Aide on Social Investment, Dr. Mariam Uwais.
He said the report indicated that the basic education school feeding programme for Primary 1 to 3 would cost N70 per meal per day per pupil.
He said some states had been selected for the pilot scheme but all 36 states and FCT would benefit in the long run.
He also said that the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enalamah, gave a brief on the planned collaboration between the states and the Federal Government to achieve the ease of doing business index target.
Enalamah, who was at the briefing, explained that a presidential council was in place to coordinate the ministers on the bottlenecks facing business and how they could be removed to make Nigeria an attractive business destination.
He added that there was an ongoing reconciliation of accounts between the FG and the states to determine the monies due to the states, which had not been released to them before the release of the budget support loan.