By Moses Uwagbale
In spite of the despair that came with the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant consequences, Nigeria decided to seize the opportunity to reset the economy amidst worldwide economic challenges, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has reported.
Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at a Webinar organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, CWEIC, with its focus on Nigeria.
According to the Vice President, “it seemed the sun was beginning to shine quite brightly after the years of recession and its immediate aftermath. Then came COVID-19 possibly the worst economic crisis the world has seen.
“For us in Nigeria, it was a perfect storm for oil prices, Russia and Saudi Arabia choosing that very moment for a price war. Then the inevitable lockdowns resulting in closure of businesses, our huge informal economy all but crashed and Government revenues fell too by over 40%.
“But the silver linings were perhaps bolder in the dark clouds.’’
The President decided that we could seize the opportunity to reset our economy in a way that may have been impossible had there not been a worldwide economic crash.
“I was asked to chair an inter-ministerial team to develop our Economic Sustainability Plan. A plan which we hope will, in the next 12 months or so, avoid a deep and prolonged recession by supporting businesses and households, but perhaps more importantly, addressing long-term structural vulnerabilities
“Taking into account our economic size and fiscal limitations, we have put together a stimulus package of N2.3 trillion, which is just over 1.5% of national income.
If other factors like the price of oil and length of the COVID-19 pandemic do not worsen further, these interventions should ameliorate the situation with a mild recession expected of minus 0.59%.”