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Governor Dr Okowa leads non-partisan team to draft guidelines to re-open Nigerian economy post COVID-19 lockdown

Dr Ifeanyi Okowa


FRI, MAY 22 2020-theG&BJournal- Dr Ifeanyi Okowa’s  appointment is one of the  outcomes from the virtual National Economic Council (NEC) Meeting which held Thursday May 21st 2020.

He will be leading a team comprising of other members of a committee set up already that includes the governors of Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Plateau, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister. The Committee is to liaise and work with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the best way to re-open the Nigerian Economy post lockdown.

The Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo twitted the abridged report from the NEC meeting today and said that members resolved to ensure better synergy between the Federal Government and the sub-nationals.

According to the report, NEC will work hand in hand with Economic Sustainability Committee set up by the President and chaired by the Vice President to coordinate an Economic Sustainability Plan for the country. The Economic sustainability Plan will involve introducing a financial stimulus package that could run into trillions of Naira. This package will support Nigerians and productivity in sectors such as agriculture, power, infrastructure, technology, and several others.

Another meeting of the Committee is scheduled for next week.

The report cited the challenging economic situation created by COVID-19 which it says has negatively impacted oil prices, trickling down to Nigeria’s Federation Revenues and foreign exchange earnings with net oil and gas revenue dropping 31.1% of the prorated amount to N940.91 billion.

The Federal Government, the report noted, is supporting the financial viability of states and reducing their financial burdens by temporarily suspending repayments of ISPOs as well as other deductions tied to bailout loans with effect from April 2020.

‘’The Economic Sustainability Committee will be responsible for the overall implementation and direction of these strategies.’’

‘’So far the Federal Government has taken measures including an N500 billion stimulus package that supports healthcare, relief for taxpayers, and an incentive for employers to maintain staff and avoid mass employee cuts. The social register for households benefiting from the cash transfer program, and the social safety net, has also increased from 1 million to 3 million.’’

The report also dwelt on the two aids proposed by the World Bank. One will be a support package for fiscal relief to ensure economic stability and stimulus packages for the poor, while the other will be financial support to be dedicated to state governments and used for expenditure and interventions.

The other out come from the NEC meeting is the update from the Minister of Health, which noted that Nigeria might be certified wild-polio free by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa region as early as June 2020 with no cases of the virus recorded in the past 44 months. State governments have been urged to step up with providing structures that reduce the chances of transmission.

The Power Sector Reform Working Group headed by the Vice President is currently working on review of the status of ownership structures concerning DISCOs based on a presentation by the Governor of Kaduna State.

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