- Industrialists urge FG to launch economic stimulus plan
In line with its mandate of developing a template to manage the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, the seven-man Economic Sustainability Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is to devise ways to protect jobs and also create new ones after the pandemic.
It was also gathered that the committee, which will meet today, has also recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the expansion of the COVID-19 palliatives to accommodate more Nigerians, especially those who rely largely on daily income.
Investigation revealed that based on the recommendations made so far by the committee, the federal government will roll out more measures to support the efforts at ensuring quick economic recovery in the midst of the twin challenges of dwindling oil revenue and the stifling impact of COVID-19.
A source close to the committee told THISDAY that the economic team is suggesting to government strategies to adopt to enable the country to absorb the shock of the unfolding harsh economic conditions.
One of the immediate targets, it was learnt, is how to prevent job losses while making efforts to create new ones.
Based on the recommendations of the economic team, the federal government will this week roll out more palliatives to help cushion the effects of the current lockdown in most parts of the country.
“The issue of the expansion of the palliatives through the review of the register used for conditional cash transfer to indigent Nigerians will form one of the key decisions to be taken at Tuesday’s meeting,” the source said.
THISDAY gathered that the Osinbajo- led committee now sits regularly every week to articulate policy measures to address emerging challenges due to the pandemic.
The source explained that the committee had commissioned a study to assess the level of job losses the country is likely to witness as a result of the pandemic.
“Their immediate target is to devise ways to keep existing jobs and create new ones now and post-COVID-19 era. They are also looking at what agriculture can do in the immediate future so that we can have enough food. They are considering how the agrarian drive can be further pursued to develop agro-based industries to produce processed food for export to earn foreign exchange and create jobs,” the source explained.
Speaking on what to do in the interim to cushion the impact of the lockdown on poor Nigerians, the source said the committee proposed further expansion of the various palliatives to take care of more persons not earlier catered for.
“They are recommending the expansion of the register of the poorest of the poor to accommodate more Nigerians, especially those who rely on daily earnings and this exercise is to be carried out urgently,” the source said.
According to him, the economic team is recommending a three-pronged approach in dealing with the economic challenges facing the country.
He identified the approach to consist of short, medium and long term measures, adding that the targets can be achieved with strong collaboration and buy-in of private sector players.
The seven-man economic sustainability committee was set up as a response to the recent challenges in the economic front resulting from the fall in the prices of oil in the international market as well as the disruptive impact of the pandemic that has disrupted the global economy.
The committee is made up of Ministers of Finance, Budget and Planning; Industry, Trade and Investment; Labour and Employment; Minister of State Petroleum Resources; CBN Governor; NNPC Group Managing Director and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat who serves as secretary of the committee.