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Buhari: Nigeria’s vulnerable economy haunted by COVID-19

Council cautions on execution of N2.3trn stimulus

President flags off $2.592bn AKK gas pipeline project

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented that the nation’s vulnerable economy was being haunted by the ravaging coronavirus defiscourge.

 

This came as the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), chaired by Prof. Doyin Salami, warned government against impending challenges in raising funds to implement its N2.3 trillion Economic Sus-tainability Plan. Thepresidentspokeyesterday during a virtual audience with members of the PEAC, according to his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu.

 

Buhari, who appreciated the outstanding support and guidance provided by PEAC, which he described as a “tutorial,” urged the members to do more to help the country exit “our very terrible state of development.”

 

He said: “We are a country characterised by a large population of poor people, serious infrastructure defi  cit, lack of housing and a vulnerable economy now haunted by the COVID-19 pandemic and collapse of the oil sector and its effect on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

 

The PEAC, while making a presentation to the president, had commended the administration for implementing several of its recommendations, even as it presented government with tough choices to make in order to put the country’s economy on a higher growth path.

 

The Chairman of PEAC, who led the presentation, specifically expressed delight with the on-going review of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2020 Budget in view of the disruptions caused by COVID-19; the deregulation of the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS); approval for the implementation of the Oronsaye Report on the need to rationalise and restructure federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as well as the adjustment of the exchange rate of naira. He, however, noted that more needed to be done to increase efficiency, coordination and accountability on the part of MDAs.

 

PEAC welcomed the ESP produced by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) headed by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo and adopted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), but warned that in the implementation of the N2.3 trillion spending plan, there could arise some problems, which if unattended, could hamper smooth implementation.

 

The committee advised, among others, that the ESP should be implemented using existing institutional and administrative structures; attention be paid to sources of funding to avoid inflation; ensure that priorities, targets and time limits be set for all projects to make for their completion within the 12-month lifespan of the ESP and where this is not achieved, such projects should be rolled into the new Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP II).

 

 

PEAC recommended that the ESP must promote “export-oriented production strategies;” ensure the use of local resources; curtail post-harvest losses in agriculture now put at between 40 and 60 per cent and above all, the need to make the economy attractive to “non-debt” private sector-funded investment in

 

cit, lack of housing and a vulnerable economy now haunted by the COVID-19 pandemic and collapse of the oil sector and its effect on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

 

The PEAC, while making a presentation to the president, had commended the administration for implementing several of its recommendations, even as it presented government with tough choices to make in order to put the country’s economy on a higher growth path.

 

The Chairman of PEAC, who led the presentation, specifically expressed delight with the on-going review of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2020 Budget in view of the disruptions caused by COVID-19; the deregulation of the pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS); approval for the implementation of the Oronsaye Report on the need to rationalise and restructure federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), as well as the adjustment of the exchange rate of naira.

 

He, however, noted that more needed to be done to increase efficiency, coordination and accountability on the part of MDAs. PEAC welcomed the ESP produced by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) headed by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo and adopted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), but warned that in the implementation of the N2.3 trillion spending plan, there could arise some problems, which if unattended, could hamper smooth implementation.

 

The committee advised, among others, that the ESP should be implemented using existing institutional and administrative structures; attention be paid to sources of funding to avoid inflation; ensure that priorities, targets and time limits be set for all projects to make for their completion within the 12-month lifespan of the ESP and where this is not achieved, such projects should be rolled into the new Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP II). PEAC recommended that the ESP must promote “export-oriented production strategies;” ensure the use of local resources; curtail post-harvest losses in agriculture now put at between 40 and 60 per cent and above all, the need to make the economy attractive to “non-debt” private sector-funded investment in order to cut the rising cost of debt services.

 

Other recommendations included the need to embark on mass housing schemes to create jobs financed through a public private partnership arrangement; the urgent need to move away from multiple exchange rates to a unified currency exchange rate and to do all that is necessary to continue to ease the environment of doing business in the country.

 

The president accepted the immediate need to activate the proposal by PEAC on the Public Policy Coordinating office under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation as he gave further assurances that “we will continue to listen to you and do our best.” Other members of PEAC are Dr. Mohammed Sagagi – Vice-Chairman; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; Prof. Ode Ojowu: Dr. Shehu Yahaya; Dr. Iyabo Masha; Mr. Bismarck Rewane and Dr. Mohammed Salisu – member/Secretary.

 

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