SWITZERLAND, JULY 15 – Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday announced that government revenue has declined by over 40% due to the lockdown occasioned by coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a webinar organized by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council with Nigeria as its focus, Osinbajo mentioned that the pandemic also wreaked havoc in the country’s huge informal sector.
According to him, things were already looking up for Nigeria until the advent of the pandemic.
“There is never a good time for a pandemic but there can be a terribly wrong time. That’s how it seemed three months ago as COVID-19 began to ravage.
“January 2020, oil prices approached $70 a barrel for the first time since the crash of 2015/2016 which saw prices crash to sub $30 a barrel, Q3 2019 growth was 2.55%, modest but clearly on the upward trajectory, 3% growth was well in sight.
“Our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was beginning to make sense. Work was ongoing in major rail, road and bridge projects along the main national trade corridors. The Engineering, Procurement and Construction arrangements on our Liquefied Natural Gas Train 7 which will unlock an additional 30% more LNG output had commenced.
“It seemed the sun was beginning to shine quite brightly after the years of recession and its immediate aftermath.
“Then came COVID-19, possibly the worst economic crisis the world has seen. For us in Nigeria, it was a perfect storm for oil prices, Russia and Saudi Arabia choosing that very moment for a price war.
“Then the inevitable lockdowns resulting in the closure of businesses, our huge informal economy all but crashed and Government revenues fell too by over 40%.”
Osinbajo, however, said it appeared silver linings have started appearing for the country.
He attributed this to the decision of the President, Muhammadu Buhari to ask him (Osinbajo) to chair a committee that will ensure that the nation bounces back.