FG reduces external backup on imports by $9.5bn


Businesses, which depend on importation of raw materials, are being threated



As part of its Economic Sustainability Plans (ESP), the Federal Government has cut external financing on imports by $9.5 billion (17.93 per cent) from $53 billion to $43.5 billion.


Also, the proposed export spending, which was $67.4 billion pre-COVID-19, has been reduced to $37.3 billion or 55.34 per cent.


The new decision is aimed at sustaining the economy for the next one year under its proposed sustainable measures. Also, it has decided to source $500 million from African Export-Import Bank to support external financing gap for the period. Already, President Muhammadu Buhari had established the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) for its Economic Sustainable Plans (ESP).


In its revised budget average net Customs distributable monthly revenue, which was N63 billion, has been reduced by the government to N51 billion, excluding royalty. It complained that the sources of foreign exchange were gravely threatened, noting that they were being depleted for external payments and importation.


It stressed that businesses that depend on importation for raw materials or other inputs for manufacturing were hampered by the sharp drop by as much as 90 per cent in foreign exchange earnings and shutdowns in exporting countries as coronavirus rages. However, in its proposed Economic Sustainability Plan aimed at mitigating the effects of a deep recession, government said that a notable exception to the country’s ‘minimal imports’ policy would be allowed to provide solar power on a massive scale for five million households.


“This will require imports of solar panels in the short run,” it added. Also, government said that there was a glut in the global gas export market, explaining that the country was sometimes unable to sell its stock of Liquefied Natural Gas, potentially wiping out much of the dividends expected from NLNG.


It also complained that the country could no longer afford to import bitumen or asphalt with its scarce resources. In the new plans, it added: “We will use limestone and rocks, which we have in abundance.


So all roads, especially those to be built through investments from national savings including pension funds will be designed to optimise the use of local materials.”


In achieving the feat, the Federal Government noted that each minister would be responsible for supervising the implementation of plans situated in the ministry, through a ministerial implementation committee chaired by the minister, adding that the ministerial committee would be responsible for ensuring synergy between stakeholders, especially the public and private sectors.


Itstressed:“Thecommitteesshall also drive the execution of specific projects, coordinate the en-tire sectorialvaluechainandensureresolutionof anybottlenecks, whichmight impede implementation.

“Membership of the committee set up for the ESP consists of the Vice President; Minister, Finance, Budget & National Planning; Minister of State, Budget and National Planning; Minister, Industry Trade & Investment; Minister, Labour and Employment; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources; Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria; Group Managing Director, NNPC; and(Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office Secretary.




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