Nigeria has lost about 40 per cent of its revenue to the COVID-19 lockdown and its attendant economic crisis, so says Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said things were beginning to take a turn for the better after the years of recession until the Coronavirus ravaged the world and Nigeria’s economy.
Osinbajo, speaking at a webinar organizer by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council with Nigeria as its focus, noted that the country’s huge informal economy had also crashed.
“It seemed the sun was beginning to shine quite brightly after the years of recession and its immediate aftermath.
“Then came COVID-19, possibly the worst economic crisis the world has seen. For us in Nigeria, it was a perfect storm for oil prices, Russia and Saudi Arabia choosing that very moment for a price war.
“Then the inevitable lockdown resulting in closure of businesses, our huge informal economy all but crashed and Government revenues fell too by over 40%,” he said.
Osinbajo also regretted that in January 2020, oil prices approached $70 a barrel for the first time since the crash of 2015/2016 which saw prices crash to sub $30 a barrel.
He said: “There is never a good time for a pandemic but there can be a terribly wrong time.
“That’s how it seemed three months ago as COVID-19 began to ravage.
“January 2020, oil prices approached $70 a barrel for the first time since the crash of 2015/2016 which saw prices crash to sub $30 a barrel, Q3 2019 growth was 2.55%, modest but clearly on the upward trajectory, 3% growth was well in sight.
“Our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was beginning to make sense. Work was ongoing in major rail, road and bridge projects along the main national trade corridors. The Engineering, Procurement and Construction arrangements on our Liquefied Natural Gas Train 7 which will unlock an additional 30% more LNG output had commenced.”
Osinbajo, however, expressed the hope for better days, saying “it appears silver linings have started appearing for the country with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his wisdom in inaugurating the committee chaired by him (Osinbajo) towards rejuvenating the nation’s economy.