By Egena Sunday Ode
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a N2.3 trillion stimulus plan to support Nigeria’s economy in the face of the disruptions and challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who chairs the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) had recently submitted a report to the president with recommendations of the way forward.
Constituted by President Buhari to work out a blue print for the revitalisation of the nation’s ecomomy owing to the effects of the ravaging pandemic, the committee is largely made up of cabinet members.
Specifically, the NESP is mandated to create jobs, put money into the economy, hopefully stop it slipping into recession, support small businesses and prioritize local content (Made-in-Nigeria).
Briefing State House Correspondents on the outcome of the weekly cabinet meeting, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; disclosed that council approved the report of the Osinbajo-led panel.
She said: “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 and amended in the 2020 Appropriations Act. These are funds that we have sourced from special accounts. 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.
“We have N344 billion that will be sourced from bilateral and external sources and also additional funds that we can source locally.
“There is a strategy that has been adopted and this whole plan is to enable us respond to the triple problem of low exchange rate, youth unemployment as well as negative growth which is facing us now.
“The plan has to also support small businesses that have suffered severe impact of COVID-19 as a result of lockdowns. Specially, 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 by stand still that we witnessed as a result of lockdowns.