The Federal Government on Wednesday approved N2.3trn stimulus plan for the country to address COVID -19 economic challenges.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, spoke on the approval after the FEC meeting, also explained how the federal government planned to distribute the funds.
According to her, the plan will be implemented as the National Economic Sustainability Plan to create jobs, re-flate the economy and hopefully stop it from receding into another recession.
She said the NESP was a 12-month ‘Transit’ Plan between the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the ERGP-successor-plan currently being worked upon.
She explained, “The total package that we presented today is in the sum of N2.3tn; N500bn of this is a stimulus package that is already provided for in the amended in the 2020 Appropriation Act. These are funds that we have sourced from special accounts. We also have N1.2tn 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 N344bn that will be sourced from bilateral and external sources and also additional funds that we can sourced 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.
“Council was able to take our reports and the interventions in the plan is that we prevent businesses from collapsing and also to infuse liquidity around the Nigerian economy, to 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.
“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.
“We have promoted in the plan manufacturing and local production at all levels, we are advocating for the use of made in Nigeria in all of these public works that we will be doing as a way of creating jobs opportunities to enhance job sufficiency.
“So, we expect for road construction for instance, we expect the minister of works not to buy bitumen but to consider the use of gemstones and cement or other materials that can be used here. In that way we conserve our resources and will also be able to ignite other sectors within the economy.
“The same thing for housing as well. The design is to have 300,000 houses built, using standard designs that will be done by the ministry of works and housing but using strictly low cost materials. On the building sites, the plan is to have carpenters and others that will have multiplier effect on the economy.
“The third pillar for us is to ensure rigorous implementation and this is important because this is a 12-month plan that is meant to pull our economy from sliding into a deep recession. It will also be a plan that will anchor to the successor period that we have already started working on.”
The plan which was recommended by the Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was approved during the virtual Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.