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Stimulus to immune Nigeria against global recession coming –FG


The Federal Government said it is working out a stimulus package that will hedge the country’s economy fromglobal recession and to the path of positive growth by 2021.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made this disclosure Thursday, while fielding questions from State House Correspondents after the meeting of the Economic Sustainability Committee presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

According to her, the global economy would go into recession in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic now ravaging countries of the world.

She said the prediction of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, that Nigeria would go into a negative growth of -3.4 per cent next year was based on the assessment of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in Nigeria.

Ahmed said: “But if we take all these measures that we are planning now, we will be able to by 2021 go back into positive growth. That is why this is very important.”

She said that the stimulus package being worked out by the Economic Sustainability Committee, would be approved by President Muhammadu Buhari before it would be announced to Nigeria’s.

“But remember that the president had already announced an initial package of N500 billion.

“So now, how that N500 billion would be used and subsequent intervention, which we will be rolling out, when funds from multi-lateral institutions come in, is what this committee is working on. We are looking at various ways and means to support each sector of the economy, providing withn clear interventions that would be designed for the primary purpose of creating jobs and ensuring that businesses stay afloat during these difficult times.” The Minister said.

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Ahmed added that the committee would in the next couple of days finalise its report before submitting to the president for approval.

Meanwhile the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday approved relief on debt service for 25 member countries that are eligible for support from the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) with four more countries likely to request same relief in the coming weeks. The approval enables the disbursement of grants from the CCRT for repayment of total debt service falling due to the IMF over the next six months, with potential extensions, up to a maximum of full two years from April 14, 2020, subject to availability of sufficient grant resources. The initial relief provided to these countries amounts to SDR 157.1 million (US$213.4 million). Relief on debt service will free up scarce financial resources that now can be directed toward vital emergency medical and other relief efforts while these members combat the impact of the pandemic.

Managing Director of the Fund, Kristalina Georgieva had launched the fundraising effort to enable the CCRT to provide relief on debt service for a full two years, while leaving the CCRT adequately funded for future needs. This will require a commitment of about US$1.4 billion. Donors have already stepped up with pledges and contributions including a US$185 million pledge by the United Kingdom and US$100 million provided by Japan as immediately available resources.

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