Thirty six state governors under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), on Thursday expressed the need for additional and sustained funding for State governments in the wake of the fiscal pressure that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the NGF resolved to engage with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to take on new State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) additional financing as grants to States.
This is just as the governors tasked the federal government to urgently clear the backlog of salaries owed Resident Doctors in the country and reintegrate their residency training.
Consequently, the NGF has agreed to review the concerns of the Resident doctors by quickly interfacing with the Federal and State Ministries of health to address their concerns.
The governors want government to ensure sustainable pathways to uphold the welfare of doctors in an effective and efficient manner.
Chairman of NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi disclosed this in a communique issued at the end of the 11th COVID-19 teleconference meeting.
The governors further congratulated State governments for their contribution to the delisting of Nigeria from the global polio map as Nigeria on June 18, 2020 attained the status of being Wild Polio-Virus-Free.
Also, it applauded the commitment of all stakeholders, including the Federal Ministry of Health, the Dangote Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their strong domestic and global financing support which was instrumental to strengthening the country’s capacity for surveillance and routine immunization.
The communique stated: “Engage with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to take on the new SFTAS Additional Financing as grants to States following the momentum on fiscal accountability and sustainability generated by the current SFTAS programme.
“Recommend that the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies engage with the National Assembly Health Committee and State Commissioners of Health to harmonize a workable strategy that will facilitate the speedy release of the BHCPF to fund primary health care activities at the subnational level.
“Review the concerns of the Resident doctors and interface with the Federal and State Ministries of health to address the concerns of resident doctors in the country, by settling backlog of salaries where such exist, reintegrating residency training in State Hospitals where they have been suspended, providing protective equipment and ensuring sustainable pathways to uphold the welfare of doctors in an effective and efficient manner,” it stated.
Sadly, the NGF has expressed grief over the demise of a former Oyo state governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Fayemi said the late Ajumobi was not just a colleague as governors, but he was also a pillar of support to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) whose contributions to the Forum’s debates were filled with wisdom besides their depth.
“While he was governor of Oyo State, the Late Ajumobi was not just one member of the NGF who left indelible impressions in the minds of all members who were fortunate to have served during his time but also provided valuable counsel to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat,” Fayemi stated.
By Solomon Ayado,