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Post-COVID-19: FG to harness challenges for economic diversification,  job creation, says Osinbajo

Prof Yemi Osinbajo

 

…says limestone can be used for road construction instead of importing bitumen for asphalt

As part of post-COVID-19 strategies, the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) says the Federal Government will seize the initiative of transforming the challenges posed by the pandemic into opportunities for economic diversification and job creation.

Specifically, Osinbajo said it has become imperative to prioritize the use of local resources in public works including road construction by using limestone to build concrete roads instead of spending resources  importing bitumen.

“We have to prioritize the use of local resources in all public works. In road construction for instance, it is cheaper to build concrete roads using limestone than spending resources on the importation of bitumen.

“We have limestone in abundance hence we should be looking in that direction. The road from the Apapa port to the Lagos –Ibadan expressway is being built with cement and is of high quality.

“In the housing sector where we have a huge deficit, we need to focus on using local resources to build houses and in the process we will be creating opportunities for young engineers, architects and builders etc., Osinbajo said.

He spoke to Nigerians during his interaction today at the 2020 edition of “The Platform’’ with the theme, “Nigeria’s battle against COVID-19”.

The Vice-President expressed the hope that Nigeria and Nigerians would pull through the COVID-19 era much stronger economically and much stronger as a people because of their resilience.

“There are a lot of challenges but they offer significant opportunities for us to turn things around.

“I am very confident that Nigerians, with our resilience, our strength and our innovation, we will go through this in great shape,” Osinbajo said in a statement by Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice-President, and emailed to Persecondnews.

The platform is an annual discussion programme of the Covenant Nation formerly known as Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos, with the founder and senior pastor as Poju Oyemade.

The discussions centred on the state of the Nigerian nation and its development. The May 2020 edition featured virtual participants without a life audience as a result of the global pandemic.

Other contributors to the discussions at the virtual summit include the Governors Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) Nasir El-rufai (Kaduna) Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) and Godwin Obaseki (Edo).

The Director-General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chike Ihekweazu also spoke at the interactive session which included interviews, panel discussions and speeches moderated by Pastor Poju Oyemade, the Convener of “The Platform’’.

Other areas that the Federal Government is addressing the economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic include agriculture.

Osinbajo sad:“ In the area of agriculture, the Vice President said government’s initial policies have saved the country from the huge forex burden of food imports and related activities.

“We think that by ramping up agriculture, especially small holder agriculture and improving the value chain, especially in storage and processing facilities, more jobs will be created for many young people.

“We have found ourselves in a situation where we realize that the way to go is to support the creation of the jobs in agriculture and reduce food imports and ultimately address the issue of unemployment and food shortages.

“What we must do as much as we can is to change the narrative about Nigeria and provide more jobs.”

The Vice President also said the government would focus on improving productivity and improving food stock across the country.

According to him, if you can ramp up food production and the logistics of bringing food to the urban centres, inflation will be controlled to a large extent.

He said boosting agricultural production for export purposes and supporting the mining sector would also bolster the country’s foreign exchange earnings and reserves.

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Written by Per Second News

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