The Nigerian government is working towards reversing the declining trend in the country’s economy, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Development, Zainab Ahmed, has said.
Responding to the latest gross domestic product figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, which showed Nigeria is now in its second recession in five years, Mrs Ahmed said the economy would be restored in the path of sustainable inclusive growth in no time using the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that is being implemented.
Speaking at a two-day annual event organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will be on the theme, ‘Building Partnerships for Resilience, the minister said “The administration is fully aware of the current economic situation and is working round the clock to reverse the trend and restore the economy in the path of sustainable inclusive growth.
“For the three quarters combined for 2020, aggregate GDP decline is now 2.60 percent, this is a clear signal that the Nigerian economy is improving, that there are economic activities that are being better,” she said.
She said the negative growth of 3.62 per cent in the third quarter of 2020 is much better than the -6.01 per cent earlier forecasted by the NBS.
“Let me remind you that before the impact of COVID-19 the Nigerian economy was experiencing sustained growth which has been improving quarter by quarter for 3 years until the 2nd quarter of 2020 when the impact of the covid 19 was felt.
“Despite the recession, Nigeria has outperformed many economies in terms of economic growth.
“Though the economy has entered into a recession in the third quarter, a trend of the growth suggests that this will be a short-lived recession and indeed by the fourth quarter or at worst by the first quarter of 2021, the country will exit recession.
“The NBS had earlier forecasted that Nigeria will close with a negative growth of -4.4 per cent but the third quarter performance shows that this trend will not be so.
She said the country’s expectation of a quick exit from recession will be historically fast because of the various interventions that have been proactively introduced by the government to forestall a far worse decline of the economy and alleviate the negative consequence of the pandemic.
“To achieve this government has developed an economic sustainability plan to cushion the effect of covid 19 pandemic and is already vigorously implementing these policies that aimed at stabilizing the economy,” she said.
She said the federal government through the principle in the ESP was taking action to stimulate the economy by preventing business collapse through ensuring liquidity, maintaining and creating jobs through support to labor-intensive sectors, and direct labour interventions.
The minister also said the government will activate the economy by undertaking growth-enhancing and job-creating infrastructure investments in roads, rails, bridges, solar powers as well as communication technologies.
“Promoting, manufacturing and local production at all levels and advocating the use of made in Nigeria goods and services as well as creating job opportunities
“Achieving self-sufficiency in critical sectors of our economy and curbing unnecessary demand for foreign exchange which put pressure on the exchange rate.
“Extending protection to the very poor and vulnerable including women, persons living with disabilities through proper spending” she stated.
She, however, said the recession was clearly induced by the impact of covid 19 and the national responses that were taken to contain the spread of the pandemic and its manifestation across several sectors.
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