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Buhari blames Covid-19 for worst recession in over three decades

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President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed the country’s current state of recession on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President said this while declaring open the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit with the theme: “Building Partnerships for Resilience’’.

Buhari who was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, said the decline in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came after 12 successive quarters of positive growth. He also added that the lockdowns, disruption in global supply chains, business failures and rising unemployment caused the recent recession.

The President said,  “We can all recall that during the lockdown, farming did not take place, businesses were closed; schools were closed as were hotels and restaurants.

“Also, airlines stopped flying, while inter-state commerce was disrupted. The economy only began to recover when these activities resumed and if we are able to sustain the nearly three percentage point increase from the second quarter decline of minus 6.1 per cent, the performance in the fourth quarter could take us into positive territory.”

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Buhari who disclosed his adminstration’s effort to mitigate such impact led to the introduction of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), further revealed that all the programmes in the ESP are reliant on the private sector playing a key role in creating and conserving jobs and the production and delivery of services in agriculture, housing, solar power and digital technologies.

He added that the speedy pathway out of the current recession was to quicken the implementation of the ESP.

“Of course, an improvement in global economic conditions, including the restoration of global supply chains and resumption of exports and remittances, should enable a V-shaped recovery.

“We expect, in the same spirit of partnership, that the private sector will complement these efforts by making maximum use of the provisions of the ESP and the Finance Bill when it is passed by the National Assembly and also by retaining and creating jobs so as to keep people at work.

“In a similar spirit of partnership, private sector enterprises should also pay their due taxes.”
He said that the government had always emphasised that the private sector had a key role to play in the efforts to build a more resilient and competitive economy as expressed in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

 

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