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Osinbajo explains Fed Govt’s economic response

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By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has explained that Nigeria’s economic response to COVID-19 pandemic has largely been targeted at saving jobs, protecting businesses and attracting new investments.

He stated this on Tuesday during a webinar with some French business leaders under the auspices of the Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, Osinbajo, said the administration hoped to achieve these by elaborately executing the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), which is currently being implemented.

The vice president noted that part of what the Buhari administration had done in its response to the pandemic was to “build a business environment that will be supportive of domestic and foreign investors”.

According to Osinbajo, “it is important to recognise that the pandemic, which really is the cause of the downturn, not just in the Nigerian economy, but practically all of our economies, all over the world, except perhaps China, also provides incredible opportunities for doing all manner of very innovative and creative things.

“And I think that we are in a season where we are ready to experiment and ready to do a lot more. And if you look at our Economic Sustainability Plan, which is our response to the pandemic, what we tried to do was to do a few things that we thought would be game-changing.”

He added: “For example, one of the important things that we are trying to do with respect to renewable energy is with solar power. We are collaborating with several solar power companies to provide, within the next 12 months, five million Nigerian households with solar home systems.”

On the issue of backward integration and citing the example of Fan Milk Plc, Osinbajo said private sector commitment need to align to the Federal Government’s backward integration policy.

“I am glad to hear that you are already doing 1.5 million litres of milk in Ogun State,” Osinbajo noted, adding, however, that there is still a lot more to be done.

Participants at the forum include Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; the Executive Secretary and CEO of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Mrs. Yewande Sadiku; French Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Jérôme Pasquier; Chairman of the Board of the Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry Usman Mohammed, representatives of some French companies operating in Nigeria, including Total Nigeria, Air France, Kwik Delivery, among others.

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