FG sets up special committee, prepares for reopening of economy

May 21, 2020
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Nigeria’s National Economic Council on Thursday set up a special committee to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on measures needed to be taken in preparation for the reopening of the country’s economy.

Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the Council, composed of all the 36 State Governors, the FCT Minister, Central Bank Governor and other top officials of the Federal Government, decided to set up a lean committee of seven to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The Committee to be led by Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, also includes the Governors of Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Plateau, and the FCT Minister.

According to the Vice President, the Committee will ensure that there would be an even more effective collaboration and coordination between the Federal Government’s Presidential Task Force and the States of the Federation including the FCT.

NEC also resolved to cooperate with the Economic Sustainability Committee set up by the President and chaired by the Vice President in the development of a national Economic Sustainability Plan.

Such a plan is expected to introduce a substantial stimulus package running into a couple trillion Naira, ensure that Nigeria as a country gets through the COVID-19 economic challenges and in fact chart a path of growth and development for the Nigerian economy by ensuring massive productivity in several sectors including agriculture, power, infrastructure, technology and several others.

To this end the NEC resolved to hold a meeting next week with the ESC. The Council would be represented at the meeting by its earlier constituted Special COVID-19 Committee. This was resolved after the Finance Minister made a presentation at the NEC meeting regarding the ESC and related issues.

Similarly, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning gave Council an update on the balance in the excess crude account, stabilization account and the natural resources development fund account.

According to her, the ECA as at 21st May 2020 now has $72,406,791.52, while the balance in the stabilization account as at 21st May, 2020 is N39, 337,123,485.30. The natural resources development fund account contained N125, 190,251,907.4 as at 21st May, 2020.

The Minister stated that Nigeria is faced with perhaps the most challenging economic challenge in its history, as the global economy is also facing its sharpest reversal since the great depression and these have health and economic implications.

On Economy, she noted that COVID-19 has resulted in the collapse in oil prices, stressing that this will impact negatively on Federation revenues and Foreign exchange earnings.

The Minister said the net oil and gas revenue inflows to the federation account in Q1 2020 amounted to N940.91 billion. This represents a shortfall of N425.52 billion (or 31.1% of the prorated amount).

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