Nigerian Govt Tasks States on Impact Of COVID-19 On The EconomyFeatured, Latest News, News Saturday, May 9th, 2020
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Federal Government has tasked the Community of Practice (CoP) to join hands in minimising the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s economy.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, gave this charge on Friday in Abuja at a virtual meeting of CoP that he co-hosted.
The meeting, which was the 10th edition in the series, had as theme: “Minimising the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Nigerian Economy: A Strategic Approach.”
The meeting, organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in collaboration with the UK’s DFID and Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) provided the opportunity for the Federal Government, State Commissioners of Budget and Economic Planning and other stakeholders to discuss ways of mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on States’ and the nation’s economy.
The minister said the COVID-19 pandemic had so far affected 34 States and the FCT, paralysing economic activities and causing loss of income to households and businesses.
According to Agba, there had been a global shutdown in virtually every area of manufacturing, services and commerce, stressing that oil revenues had been disrupted.
He also stated that non-oil revenues, largely made up of taxes, had also practically dried up.
According to him, “This is because businesses are not working due to the pandemic-inspired shutdown in Nigeria and the world over.
“Consequently, businesses would suffer crippling losses with ultimate impact on employment, thus the need for economuc sustainability programmes.”
The minister stressed that there was an urgent need to reduce the impact of the pandemic, reduce the decline in economic activities and ensure diversification of the economy.
He said the Federal Governnent was committed to building a resilient health system (COVID-19 Health) through favourable tariffs to support domestic pharmaceutical companies and allied manufacturers.
In addition, he stated that plans had been made to improve infrastructure in public secondary and tertiary health institutions; stimulate jobs and food for all through agriculture and food security by creating many jobs.
He said focus would be placed on increasing land under cultivation with States’ Governments contributing between 20,000 and 100,000 hectares; and, constructing rural roads on agro-corridor to facilitate transportation of agricultural products to markets.
The minister also said that the Federal Government had set out to create jobs for youths, post-COVID-19 through mines and steel development; and artisanal and small-scale mining in six zonal clusters.
On social investment programmes, he said that government would focus on supporting small businesses, give bailout support to the aviation sector, the WASH programme of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and energy-for-all Solar Power Strategy, among others.
He, however, noted that most of the Federal Government’s intervention programmes would require active state and local governments’ participation and support to achieve the desired success.
“We need active participation from stakeholders in the on-going Nigeria Agenda 2050 and the Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021-2025.
“States and local governments are to participate at Steering Committee level and the various Technical Working Groups,” the minister also stated.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu, said the theme of the meeting was apt and timely, considering the prevailing global circumstances.
She commended UK’s DFID-PERL for their support towards the successes of the CoP meetings and their sustained back-up to the CoP/NEC Secretariat.
Director General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, and the Director, Macro-Economic Analysis in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr David Adeosun, made presentations at the virtual meeting.
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