Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has announced that the Federal Government has been willing to implement new ideas suggested in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) after the fallout of the pandemic on the nation’s economy.
This was disclosed by the media aide to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja. He added that the Vice President disclosed this at a virtual meeting with the Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
What you should know
In June, the Nigerian Government released its Economic Sustainability Plan which it hopes will address the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was put together by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) assembled by President Muhammadu Buhari. Members of the committee included the Vice President, CBN Governor, 15 Ministers, GMD NNPC, and the Permanent Secretary.
The report said Nigeria should:
- Develop a clear Economic Sustainability Plan in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic;
- Identify fiscal measures for enhancing distributable oil and gas revenue, increasing non-oil revenues and reducing non-essential spending, towards securing sufficient resources to fund the plan;
- Propose monetary policy measures in support of the Plan;
- Provide a Fiscal/Monetary Stimulus Package, including support to private businesses (with emphasis on strategic sectors most affected by the pandemic) and vulnerable segments of the population, and many others.
The Vice President disclosed that implementing the Plan was to save jobs and protect Nigerian businesses affected by the pandemic.
Osinbajo said, “It is important to recognise that the pandemic, which really is the cause of the downturn, not just in the Nigerian economy but practically all of our economies, all over the world, except perhaps China, also provides incredible opportunities for doing all manner of very innovative and creative things.
“And if you look at our ESP, which is our response to the pandemic, what we tried to do was to do a few things that we thought would be game-changing.
“For example, one of the important things that we are trying to do with respect to renewable energy is with solar power.
“We are collaborating with several solar power companies to provide within the next 12 months, five million Nigerian households with solar home systems.
“This is partly to address the issues with the national grid by providing more off-grid capacity and provide more opportunities in the renewable energy space.
“ What we are doing is to get the financing through the Central Bank of Nigeria as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan.”
Osinbajo said backward integration is key to driving economic growth and urged for private sector commitment to align with the FG’s backward integration goals.
“For us, the issue of backward integration is right, front and centre, and it has been so for many years.
“We believe that an aggressive pursuit of it is really important for us as an economic policy.
“The most important thing, as I said, is that we are committed to backward integration.
“Unfortunately, over the years, many companies have committed to backward integration but have simply not been as diligent and faithful with those promises.
“So, we really want to see much greater commitment and a plan that is as aggressive as our own aspirations,” he added.