Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
A N2.3 trillion stimulus plan was approved on Wednesday by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to help Nigeria's national economy survive the depression induced by new coronaviruses (COVID-19).
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Ms. Zainab Ahmed, who publicized this while informing the correspondents of the Chamber of Deputies after a long meeting of the FEC, said that the approved plan was the result of the work of the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC ), led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).
According to the minister, the plan, marked with the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), came out of a series of consultations, some of which were held with the National Assembly and the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) and the State Governors.
The objectives of NESP, according to her, are to create jobs, put money into the economy, hopefully to prevent it from going into recession, support small businesses and prioritize local content (Made-in-Nigeria).
She also said that the plan is a 12-month "transit" plan between the Recovery and Economic Growth Plan (ERGP) and the ERGP-successor-plan currently in preparation.
“The total package we are presenting today is N2.3 trillion, of which N500 billion of this stimulus package is already foreseen in the 2020 Appropriations Act amendment. These are the funds we obtain from special accounts. We also have N1.2 trillion of these funds to be acquired as low-cost structured loans, which are interventionists from the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as from other development partners and institutions.
“We have N344 billion that will come from bilateral and external sources and also additional funds that we can obtain locally.
“There is a strategy adopted and this whole plan allows us to respond to the triple problem of the low exchange rate, youth unemployment and the negative growth that it is facing now.
“The plan should also support small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 as a result of blockages. Especially, the hotel industry, private schools, restaurants and the transport sector were very well impacted by this.
“We also saw a significant impact on the poor, the vulnerable and even the people who were well off as small traders, and were hit hard by standing still that we witnessed as a result of blockades.
“The Council was able to take our reports and interventions in the plan are that we prevent companies from collapsing and also infuse liquidity into the Nigerian economy, to create jobs using labor-intensive methods, such as agriculture, facility management, housing , construction, direct and indirect administration. labor interventions that will create many jobs very quickly.
“We had also proposed in the plan to undertake jobs that would improve growth, creating investments in infrastructure in roads, bridges, solar energy, communications technology and several others.
“We promote in the local manufacturing and production plan at all levels, we are defending the use made in Nigeria in all these public works that we will do as a way to achieve job opportunities to increase job sufficiency.
“Therefore, we hope that the construction of roads, for example, expects that the minister of works does not buy bitumen, but that he considers the use of precious stones and cement or other materials that can be used here, in this way we talk about our resources and we can also ignite other sectors of the economy.
“The same for housing, too. The project is to have 300,000 houses built using standard projects that will be done by the Ministry of Works and Housing, but using strictly low-cost materials. At construction sites, the plan is to have carpenters and others who have a multiplying effect on the economy.
“The third pillar for us is to ensure rigorous implementation, and this is important, because this is a 12
Monthly plan that aims to make our economy slide into a deep recession. It will also be a plan that will be anchored in the successor period in which we have already started working.
It is a 12-month plan, a transit plan that must be implemented quickly.
“In this sense, the Federal Executive Council agreed that procurement processes are more relaxed in a way that we are adopting a faster climate, instead of using the longer procurement process.
"With the National Assembly passing the budget, we have funds ready, but we need purchases to be made quickly, so that this money can be used immediately," she said.