COVID-19: Osinbajo Sets Up Committee on Reopening of the Economy

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 22 – Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has constituted a committee on the reopening of the economy.

This was one of the resolutions reached after chairing a virtual National Economic Council (NEC) meeting on Thursday, May 21, the first since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a press release signed by Mr. Laolu Akande, the VP’s spokesperson, Osinbajo noted that members of the NEC resolved to ensure a more effective synergy between the Federal Government and the sub-nationals especially in matters relating to the fallouts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to effectively and efficiently reopen the Nigerian economy after the lockdowns and shutdowns across the country.

Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Delta State governor is to lead a lean committee of seven which will work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

Other members include the Governors of Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Plateau, and the FCT Minister.

The Vice President also disclosed that the committee will ensure that there would be an even more effective collaboration and coordination between the Federal Government’s Presidential Task Force and the States of the Federation including the FCT.

In the council’s resolve to toll a path of growth and development for the Nigerian economy by ensuring massive productivity in several sectors including agriculture, power, infrastructure, technology among others, the NEC agreed to cooperate with the Osinbajo-led Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) towards the development of a national Economic Sustainability Plan.

The NEC will now meet next week with the ESC.

Speaking earlier while briefing the council, the Hounorable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said: “to prevent a deep recession arising from the COVID-19 economic crisis, the orthodox approach all over the world, which is also in the works in Nigeria, is to deploy a stimulus package”.

She blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the collapse of oil prices which impacted negatively on Federation revenues and Foreign exchange earnings.

While informing the council on the measures put in place, the finance minister noted that the President established the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Crisis Management Committee and the Economic Sustainability Committee which was part of the established structures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

She also gave an update on the excess crude account (ECA)

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, gave a report of the NEC Ad-hoc Committee to review the status of the ownership structure of the Electricity Power Distribution Companies (Discos).

The Honourable minister on health, Osagie Ehanire, also gave a brief on the eradication of polio and support to community transmission of COVID-19.

Present at the meeting were, all the 36 State Governors, the FCT Minister, Central Bank Governor, and other top officials of the Federal Government.

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