Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said President Muhammadu Buhari established the Economic Sustainability Committee to come up with plans to respond and fully overcome the effects of the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Osinbajo, while speaking at the 2021 LCCI Presidential Policy Dialogue, noted that, the Economic Sustainability Plan(ESP) emphasised the need to ameliorate the situation of the Nigerian economy through rapid health interventions, keeping businesses going, creating and protecting jobs, boosting local production and providing social protection for the most vulnerable sections of society.
According to him, the ESP included a suite of macroeconomic policies including fiscal grants, tax breaks, regulatory forbearance to banks as well as reduced interest and moratorium on CBN intervention facilities amongst other things.
In addition, he posited that, this created the MSME Survival Fund which was designed to keep as many junior private sector workers as possible employed and up to 1.1m people benefitted in this regard.
He stated that the Federal Executive Council(FEC) recently signed-off on the new Medium Term National Development Plan 2021-2025, adding that, the strategic objectives of the Medium Term Plan include establishing a strong foundation for a diversified economy, investing in critical infrastructure, enabling human capital development and improving governance and strengthening security.
He maintained that the implementation of the Plan is expected to be supported by a range of measures of fiscal, monetary and trade measures including reformation of subsidy regimes and a better functioning foreign exchange market.
Osinbajo further affirm the need to focus on value addition in practical terms, as the guiding principle for agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, digital services, tourism, hospitality, sports, entertainment and indeed all critical sectors.
He added that, in agriculture, equal attention is given to primary production as well as other aspects of the value chain such as storage, transportation, processing, marketing and exports.
He averred that the creation of jobs is also a central objectives of the New National Development Plan in the sense that the labour intensity of programmes and projects were considered before their inclusion in the plan, noting that, “when implemented in full, the strategic orientation of becoming a value-adding economy will help create a high number of jobs.”
Speaking further on ESP, Osinbajo said one of the essential component of the plan is the promotion of a business friendly environment and building trade competitiveness, adding that, “our work on Ease of Doing Business is pertinent in this regard, it would also be important to loosen generalised restrictions on trade and focus instead on the new strategic direction of promoting value addition.
“This means that we should allow the imports of goods to which value can be added before domestic consumption or exportation. Bangladesh, for instance, imports textiles worth about $11bn annually and exports garments well worth over $31bn a year.”