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NIGERIAN President, Muhammadu Buhari says the government is going through a ‘trying time’ as its revenue has fallen to almost 60 per cent due to the ‘poor fortunes’ in the oil sector caused by COVID-19.
Buhari said this during his remarks on Monday at the commencement of the First-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat in Abuja where he was represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
“For the government, it has been a particularly trying time, as a result of the poor fortunes of the oil sector, our revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen drastically. Our revenues have fallen by almost 60 per cent,” Buhari said.
He added that despite the fall in revenue, the government had to sustain its expenditures most especially on capital projects and salaries.
The President stated that his administration adopted a N2.3 trillion economic sustainability plan to cushion the effect of the economic slowdown.
According to him, the plan was adopted ‘to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs and provide succour to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable’.
Buhari said the government has had to make some difficult decisions in order to stop ‘unsustainable practices’ that are weighing the economy down.
The President said the government is not insensitive to the condition of Nigerians and would not inflict hardship on the people.
“This government is not insensitive to the condition of our people and the very difficult economic situation and we will not inflict hardship on our people.
“In this regard, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created credit facilities (of up to N100B) for the Healthcare (N100 Billion) and Manufacturing (N1 Trillion) sectors.
“From January 2020 to date, over N191.87B has already been disbursed for 76 real sectors projects under the N1Trillion Real Sector Scheme; while 34 Healthcare projects have been funded to the tune of N37.159B under the Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility,” the President said.
The ICIR had reported that the main opposition party People’s Democratic Party (PDP) posited that Nigerians are in hardship and overburdened by the President’s imposed high cost of living.
The PDP urged Buhari to immediately reverse the hike in petrol and electricity prices to avoid a national crisis.
“The party demands an immediate reversal of the prices to avert a national crisis, as the increase will result in an upsurge in costs of goods and services and worsen the biting hardship being faced by Nigerians, who are already impoverished and overburdened by APC -imposed a high cost of living in the last five years,” Kola Ologbodiyan, the PDP spokesperson said in a statement.