The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led Nigeria’s Sustainability Committee has submitted, after an extensive assessment of the Nigerian economy, a 76-page report to President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that Nigeria is facing its most serious economic trouble ever.
Among other things, the committee reported that ‘The immediate challenge is that of business continuity, especially how we protect as many of our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises as possible while keeping the economy competitive. We have a large informal workforce, usually daily wage-earning, consisting of street vendors, petty traders, artisans, roadside motor mechanics, etc., who have now been deprived of their income.
“With 40% of the population being already classified as poor, i.e., earning less than N137,000 per annum, the COVID-19 crisis is set to multiply the misery, if left unchecked”.
The nine-member committee was established by President Buhari on March 30 to develop a clear Economic Sustainability plan in response to the health and economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and identify fiscal measures for enhancing distributable oil and gas revenue, increasing non-oil revenues and reducing non- essential spending, towards securing sufficient resources to fund the plan.
The President also charged the committee to propose monetary policy measures in support of the Plan; provide a Fiscal/Monetary Stimulus Package, including support to private businesses (with emphasis on strategic sectors most affected by the pandemic) and vulnerable segments of the population; articulate specific measures to support the States and FCT; propose a clear-cut strategy to keep existing jobs and create opportunities for new ones; and identify measures that may require legislative support to deliver the Plan.
The Membership of the Committee consists of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Minister, Finance, Budget & National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba; Minister, Industry Trade & Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; Minister, Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva; Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari; and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Babatunde Lawal – Secretary.The committee later co-opted other ministers.