By Peter Egwuatu
There are indications that the Presidency is pressurizing ministries and departments of the Federal Government to begin implementation of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package earmarked to tackle the economic distortions and hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, under the government’s National Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP.
The office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, in a statement Tuesday, said he had told the ministers during a ministerial performance review retreat with the headline, “The Urgency of Now,” that there was the need for a quick implementation of the plan, saying “everything that we are doing has to be done immediately.”
According to Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President Osinbajo stated: “We are already in ‘Day 67’ since the plan. Nothing is going to happen by magic, we have to simply do this stuff.
“We got to ensure that we have the money and ensure that day by day, we are measuring our achievements and trying to ensure that we do the things that we need to do. And we simply are not favoured by time, every single day the poverty situation and the economic distortions deepen.”
Highlighting specific funding requirements and the expected outcomes in the plan, the Vice President said
“Agriculture requiring N637.2 billion funding will provide 5,000,000 jobs; the Solar power project funding requirement is N152.4 billion is expected to provide 250,000 jobs; the Mass Housing programme with a funding requirement of N217.3 billion is expected to create 1,500,000 jobs; while Public Works funding is N52 billion to provide 774,000 jobs: and N100 billion is required to provide 500, 000 jobs in the Small Medium Enterprises, SMEs.”
Speaking further about the importance of implementing a stimulus plan, the Vice President said there was no other way of correcting the distortions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “I think that if we are able to implement this faithfully if we are able to ensure that we bring in the resources, then we certainly will be able to turn around, the economic fortunes of Nigeria.”
He added “we are looking at funding from the structured loans of the CBN and the expected funding is about N217 billion. We look at the demand, 1.5 million doors, 1.8 million windows, 7.8 million hinges, for 300, 000 homes. This is huge by any standards and if we are able to focus on the local industry, we can actually start a major revolution in building in our own country and patronize local industry and ensure that our people get the jobs and the experience that they require.”
For the Solar Home System, Osinbajo said, “the Solar Power strategy is also focused on creating jobs. What has happened for Solar Power energy in our country is that, for those who have been following, in the past few years, we have been able to demonstrate that if we enable the private sector to install solar power in homes and businesses, government itself does not have to worry about any of these things, unlike what is happening today, where whatever happens in the power sector almost invariably becomes the problem of government.”