The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has revealed that Nigeria was confronted with possibly the most challenging economic situation in its history.
She disclosed this in her presentation at the National Economic Council’s first virtual meeting, according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
The Minister stated that the country’s revenue from oil and gas fell by N425.52bn in the first quarter of 2020 to N940.91bn.
The global economy was also facing its sharpest reversal since the great depression and this had health and economic implications, she said.
For instance, she remarked that “COVID-19 has resulted in the collapse in oil prices,” stressing that this would impact negatively on federation revenues and foreign exchange earnings.
The Minister said, “The net oil and gas revenue inflows to the federation account in Q1 2020 amounted to N940.91bn. This represents a shortfall of N425.52bn (or 31.1 per cent of the prorated amount).”
According to the Minister, to prevent a deep recession arising from the COVID-19 economic crisis, the conventional approach all over the world, which was also in the works in Nigeria, was to deploy a stimulus package.
Giving more updates, she said the excess crude account had a balance of $72,4m as of May 21, 2020; stabilisation account had N39.33bn; while natural resources and development fund account had N125.19bn.
The statement said the council had the resolution to ensure a more effective synergy between the Federal Government and the sub-nationals, especially in matters relating to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to effectively and efficiently reopen the Nigerian economy after the lockdowns.
Chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the council is composed of all the 36 state governors, the FCT minister, Central Bank governor and other top officials of the Federal Government.
It stated that they specifically decided to set up a lean committee of seven to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The committee to be led by the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, also included the governors of Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Plateau states, and the FCT minister.
According to the Vice President, the committee will ensure more effective collaboration and coordination between the Presidential Task Force and the states of the federation including the FCT.
NEC also resolved to cooperate with the Economic Sustainability Committee set up by the President and chaired by the Vice President in the development of a national economic sustainability plan.
It stated, “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.”