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Reopening of economy : NEC sets up governors’ committee to interface with COVID-19 PTF

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In a strategic move towards efficient and seamless reopening of the Nigerian economy after the lockdown, the National Economic Council (NEC) has inaugurated a seven-member committee to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

 

At its first virtual meeting on Thursday chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), NEC resolved to ensure an effective synergy between the Federal Government and the states especially in matters relating to the fall-outs from COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Committee, chaired by Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has as its members Governors of Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Plateau, and the FCT Minister.

 

NEC comprises the 36 governors, the FCT Minister, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and other top officials of the Federal Government.

Vice-President said the Committee would ensure effective collaboration and coordination between the Federal Government’s Presidential Task Force and the states including the FCT.

Besides, NEC also resolved to cooperate with the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) set up by the President and chaired by the Vice President in the development of a national Economic Sustainability Plan, said a communiqué signed by Mr Laolu Akande,

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice-President and emailed to Persecondnews.

 

“Such a plan is expected to introduce a substantial stimulus package running into a couple trillion Naira, ensure that Nigeria as a country gets through the COVID-19 economic challenges and in fact chart a path of growth and development for the Nigerian economy by ensuring massive productivity in several sectors including agriculture, power, infrastructure, technology and several others.’’

 

As a follow up, NEC resolved to hold a meeting next week with the ESC with the Council being represented by its earlier constituted Special COVID-19 Committee.

 

Also at the NEC meeting,
the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed gave an update on the Excess Crude Account (ECA), Stabilization Account and Natural Resources Development Fund Account (NRDFA).

 

She announced that the country had as at 21st May 2020 about $72,406,791.52 in its ECA, N39, 337,123,485.30 in its Stabilization Account while its NRDFA had N125, 190,251,907.47.

On Economy, she noted that COVID-19 had crashed oil prices which would impact negatively on the country’s revenues and foreign exchange earnings.

According to Ahmed, the net oil and gas revenue inflows to the Federation Account in the first quarter of the year amount to N940.91 billion, representing a shortfall of N425.52 billion about 31.1 per cent of the prorated amount.

“To prevent a deep recession arising from the COVID-19 economic crisis, the orthodox approach all over the world, which is also in the works in Nigeria is to deploy stimulus packages.’’

 

On the measures in response to the COVID -19 impact, a fiscal stimulus package intervention fund of N500 billion (US$1.4 billion) was announced for healthcare facilities, provide relief for taxpayers and incentives employers to retain and recruit staff during the lockdown.

 

On the Electricity Power Distribution Companies (Discos), NEC was also given a presentation by its Ad-hoc Committee inaugurated to review status of the ownership structure of Discos by Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasir El-Rufai.

“The report was adopted and is now being implemented especially through the composition by the President of a Power Sector Reform Working Group headed by the Vice-President,’’ the statement said.

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