The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N9.2billion as premium to insurance companies that will manage the group life insurance for federal civil servants in the country.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed revealed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said: “On behalf of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, I will like to report that council today approved the award of contract for the appointment of insurance companies for group life assurance for federal government employees, public servants, para-military and the intelligence community for the year 2021-2022 in the sum of N9, 248. 995, 907.
“This is part of the government’s welfare programme for our public employees so that in case of death, they are assured that there would be compensation.”
The minister revealed that the council also approved N18.1billion for development of infrastructure and Kano and Calabar Free Trade Zones, as well as the Textile and Garment Park in Lagos and the Special Economic Zone, Lekki–Lagos.
Mohammed said the approval was of critical importance to the infrastructure development plan of the country.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, who also addressed the correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting, said she presented the first quarter of 2021 GDP results and other performance indicators of the Nigerian economy to the Council.
According to her, the estimates and report show that Nigerian GDP has grown to 0.51% year-on-year in real terms in the First Quarter of 2021.
The minister revealed that the agricultural sector posted a strong growth at the rate of 2.28 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to previous quarters.
“Also, there is a further illustration that the slow, but gradual recovery process is indicative of the fact that business operations are returning to normal and that restrictions of movements and commercial activities have been relaxed after extended close-down in the year 2020.
“Also, the agricultural sector posted a strong growth at the rate of 2.28per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to previous quarters. This growth in agriculture signifies the resilience of the agricultural sector.
“Also, the industry sector has recorded positive growth, even though a weak one, but the growth is a positive one and this marks the past quarter of growth over the past one year in the industry sector.
“Services recorded a slight dip, but a small one at 0.39per cent.
“In addition to the economic activities and the reopening our businesses, growth was also boosted, in fact by increase in crude oil prices as well as increase in production in the first quarter of 2020.
“We have seen this positive growth being contributed by not just the oil sector, but also by economic activities within the metal sector, the cement sector, electricity, telecommunications, food and beverages as well as human health and social services,’’ she said.
The minister, however, stated that some sectors had recorded negative growth, saying such sectors included quarrying and other minerals, oil refinery, road transport, air transport, rail transport, education, as well as hospitality sectors.
On inflationary trends, Ahmed noted that throughout 2020 airline inflation had maintained an upward trend.
The minister also maintained that prices of food items might not come down as fast as the other aspects of inflation.
She said: “For the first time in 19 months, inflation has shown a slight dip. It’s a very slight dip, but it’s a positive point for us, we had indicated that our projection is that inflation will begin to flatten in the month of April 2021 and this is an indication.
“So, subsequent periods we are looking at inflation beginning to trend downwards. Food inflation will not come down as fast as the other aspects of inflation.
“But it is important to also see that the rate of food inflation also showed a slight dip and the rise in food index, which you will see if you check the detailed report, is driven by foods such as coffee, tea, cocoa, breads, cereals, soft drinks, milk, cheese, not basic food items like rice, maize and millet.