The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved N2.3 trillion sustainability package, recommended by the Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, to revamp the economy.
The FEC also approved N122.280billion billion to build seven roads in different parts of the country and another N14.90 billion for the award of contracts for 11 ecological projects in the six geopolitical zones.
President Muhammadu Buhari had set up the Osinbajo committee on March 30 to come up with economic sustainability plan as a response to challenges posed to the economy by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although, the brief summary of the committee’s report presented by Osinbajo on June 11, did not disclose the N2.3 trillion sustainability package, the outcome of yesterday’s FEC meeting revealed that the committee had come up with what it described as National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) totalling N2.3 trillion in monetary value meant to rejuvenate the economy and save it from collapse.
Briefing State House reporters in Abuja after the FEC meeting, presided over by Buhari, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the council approved the report containing N2.3trillion package as NESP.
Ahmed described the package as a 12-month plan meant to create jobs, ensure a flow of liquidity in the economy, support small and medium enterprises and prioritise local content with the overall intention of saving the economy from sliding into recession.
The minister, who also described the package as a 12-month ‘transit plan’ between the the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the ERGP-successor-plan that is currently being worked upon, gave a breakdown of the entire plan.
“The total package that we presented today is in the sum of N2.3 trillion. N500 billion of this is a stimulus package that is already provided for in the amended 2020 Appropriation Act. These are funds that we have sourced from special accounts. We also have N1.2 trillion of this fund to be sourced as structured low cost loans, which are interventionary from the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as other development partners and institutions.
“We have N344 billion that will be sourced from bilateral and external sources and also additional funds that we can source locally. There is a strategy that has been adopted and this whole plan is to enable us respond to the triple problem of low exchange rate, youth unemployment as well as negative growth which is facing us now.
“The plan has to also support small businesses that have suffered severe impact of COVID-19 as a result of lockdowns. “Specially, the hotel industry, private schools, restaurants as well as the transport sector have been very well impacted by this.
“We have also seen a significant impact on the poor and the vulnerable and even people that were okay as small traders, have been hard hit by stand still that we witnessed as a result of lockdowns.
“Council was able to take our report and the intervention in the plan is that we prevent businesses from collapsing and also to infuse liquidity around the Nigerian economy, to create jobs using labour intensive methods such as agriculture, facility management, housing, construction, direct labour interventions that will create a lot of jobs very quickly.
“We had also proposed in the plan to undertake growth enhancing jobs, creating infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, solar power, communications technology and several others. We have promoted in the plan manufacturing and local production at all levels. We are advocating the use of made in Nigeria (products) in all of these public works that we will be doing as a way of cresting job opportunities to enhance job sufficiency.
“So, for road construction, for instance, we expect the minister of works not to buy bitumen but to consider the use of gemstones and cement or other materials that can be used here. That way, we ‘ll conserve our resources and we will also be able to ignite other sectors within the economy.
“The same thing for housing as well, the design is to have 300,000 houses built using standard designs that will be done by the Ministry of Works and Housing but using strictly low cost materials. On the building sites, the plan is to have carpenters and others that will have multiplier effect on the economy.
“The third pillar for us is to ensure rigorous implementation and this is important because this is a 12-month plan that is meant to pull our economy from sliding into a deep recession. It will also be a plan that will anchor to the successor period that we have already started working on.
“It is a 12-month plan, a transit plan meant to be implemented quickly. To that effect, the Federal Executive Council has agreed that the procurement processes become relaxed in a manner that we are adopting a faster mood as opposed to using the longer procurement process.
“With the National Assembly passing the budget, we have funding ready to go but we need procurement to be done quickly so that this money can be put to immediate use.”
Source: News update