The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has said that the inevitable lockdowns resulting in closure of businesses in Nigeria, made the huge informal economy crashed and government revenues fell too by over 40% as a result of curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
He disclosed 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%”, he said.
He added that President Muhammed Buhari decided that his administration could seize the opportunity to reset the 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 N2.3trillion, 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%.”
He noted that Nigeria decided to seize the opportunity to reset the economy amidst worldwide economic challenges, in spite of the despair that came with the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant consequences.
Other speakers at the international webinar include Lord Marland of Odstock, the Chairman of the CWEIC, Sir Lynton Crosby, Chief Executive Officer C|T Group and the Industry, Trade & Investment Minister, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.