THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of N2.3 trillion to cushion the economic effects of ( COVID-19) pandemic on the Nigerian economy.
The approval was announced by Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning at the end of the weekly FEC meeting.
The economic stimulus plan is part of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) recommended by the economic sustainability committee led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Osinbajo recently submitted the Committee’s report to President Muhammadu Buhari.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had set up the committee to devise means through which the effects of COVID-19 could be minimized on the Nigerian economy.
Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of , while announcing the approval gave a partial breakdown on the approved sum noting that N500 billion out of the stimulus package is already provided for in the amended 2020 Appropriations Act.
“The total package that we presented today is in the sum of N2.3 trillion. N500 billion of this is a stimulus package that is already provided for in the amended 2020 Appropriations Act. These are funds that we have sourced from special accounts,” Ahmed said.
“We also have N1.2 trillion of this funds to be sourced as structured low-cost loans which are interventionary from the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as other development partners and institutions.”
She further stated that N344 billion would be sourced from bilateral and external sources and also additional funds that can be sourced locally.
“We have N344 billion that will be sourced from bilateral and external sources and also additional funds that we can source locally,” the Minister added
According to her, there is a strategy that has been adopted which would enable government respond to the triple problem of low exchange rate, youth unemployment as well as negative growth which is facing the country at the moment.
She further stated that the plan has to also support small businesses that have suffered severe impact of COVID-19 as a result of lockdowns, especially, the hotel industry, private schools, restaurants as well as the transport sector have been very well impacted by this.
“We have also seen a significant impact on the poor and the vulnerable and even people that were okay as small traders, have been hard hit …,” she said.
On how the stimulus plan would protect private businesses, the minister revealed that the Council noted interventions in the plan that would prevent businesses from collapsing and also infuse liquidity into the Nigerian economy.
“These will create jobs using labour-intensive methods such as agriculture, facility management, housing, construction, direct labour interventions that will create a lot of jobs very quickly,” she said.
“We had also proposed in the plan to undertake growth-enhancing jobs, creating infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, solar power, communications technology and several others.”
She said the plan advocates for the use of made in Nigeria in all of public works that government will be doing as a way of creating jobs opportunities to enhance jobs sufficiency.