By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Nigeria Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, says measures by the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) will enable Nigeria to return to positive growth by 2021 after global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahmed spoke with State House correspondents after the ESC meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 30, set up the committee to develop a clear economic sustainability plan until 2023.
The committee was tasked with identifying fiscal and monetary measures to enhance oil and non-oil revenues in order to fund the plan; develop a stimulus package and come up with measures to create more jobs while keeping existing ones.
“We are looking at various ways and means to support each sector of the economy, providing for each sector clear interventions that would be designed for the primary purpose of creating jobs and ensuring that businesses stay afloat during these difficult times.
“We are working in the next couple of days to finalise our report and submit it to the president.
“The global economy is going to go into recession in 2020; the assessment of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which is what the IMF is using, has indicated that we will go into recession to a level of negative 3.4 per cent.
“But if we take all these measures that we are planning now, we will be able to by 2021 go back into positive growth; that is why this is very important.”
According to Ahmed, the measures being worked include a stimulus package.
She said the package had to be approved by the president before it would be announced.
“But remember that the president already announced an initial package of N500 billion.
“Now, how that N500 billion would be used and also subsequent interventions, which we will be rolling out when funds from multi-lateral institutions come in is what this committee is working on,’’ she said.
Other members of the committee are Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
Others are the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Silva.
Also in the committee are the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Mele Kyari and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
The Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babatunde Lawal, is the secretary of the committee.