President Muhammadu Buhari amid concerns raised by many Nigerians over increases in the price of fuel and electricity tariffs, has opened up about the trying times affecting the government, which according to him is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although his remarks were delivered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was attending the start of the first-year Ministerial performance review retreat held in Abuja made it known that the country’s revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60 percent since the pandemic took hold.
“For the government, it has been a particularly trying time,” Buhari said. “As a result of the poor fortunes of the oil sector, our revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen drastically. Our revenues have fallen by almost 60 percent. Yet we have had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects, in order to keep the economy going.”
The pandemic forced many economies across the world to shut down, drastically reducing the demand for crude oil, Nigeria’s main export foreign exchange earner. The President said his administration adopted a N2.3 trillion economic sustainability plan to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown.
The plan, which consists of fiscal, monetary, and sectoral measures, is expected “to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs and provide succor to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”
“But we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down,” he said.