Federal Government To Spend N2.3tr To Reposition Economy

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THE Federal Government will spend N2.3 trillion to reposition the economy for COVID-19 realities and beyond as part of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Femi Adesina, stated this in a presentation at the 2nd annual conference and general meeting, organised by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Alumni Association, Nigeria chapter.

Adesina said the NESP comprises a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund meant to upgrade health facilities nationwide and finance a National Special Public Works Programme (NSPWP), N1.1 trillion structured lending from the Central Bank of Nigeria, N334 billion to be derived from external bilateral and multilateral sources and N302.9 billion from other undisclosed funding sources.

He noted that the 12-month “Transit” scheme under the NESP was developed as a successor plan to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

Adesina said when compared to other world economies, the Nigerian economy was not as badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic “contrary to doomsday projections that had earlier come from the West.”

The presidential spokesman, however, said that the nation’s economy contracted by about -6.10%, whereas USA, United Kingdom, France, Germany and South Africa recorded -32.9%, -20.4%, -13.8%, -10.1% and -20% dips, adding: “Of the major world economies, only China, where the disease ironically started from there, grew by 3.2%.

A keynote speaker, Prof. Kamil Omoteso, who spoke about ‘Repositioning the Nigerian Economy in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond: The Role of Diasporans’, said the country needs to properly harness the potential of its diaspora populations.

Omoteso, the pro vice chancellor, University of Derby, United Kingdom, said Nigerians in the diaspora have crucial roles to play in supporting the country not only to emerge from the COVID-19 era, but also in “fulfilling its destiny as one of the leading economies in future.”

“In 2001, the world began talking about the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – as potential powerhouses of the world economy. The term was coined by economist Jim O’Neill. In 2014, he identified the “MINT” countries – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – as emerging economic giants.

“Nigeria witnessed a dramatic increase in remittances sent home by overseas Nigerians, going from USD $2.3 billion in 2004, $17.9 billion in 2007 to $25 billion in 2019, representing 7 % of GDP,” he said.