The federal government through the minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, said over 2.1 million jobs have been created and 167,333 farmers profiled for support under the federal government Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
Speaking at a town hall meeting with beneficiaries of the federal government ESP, Agba noted that survival fund had saved about 1.3 million jobs through the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) and Payroll support, adding that, the sum of N250 billion had been allocated to support small scale businesses.
In addition, he said, 774,000 jobs were created through the public works programme under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and 26,021 jobs were generated from construction/rehabilitation of federal roads under Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).
Significantly, he added that, 129,000 crop farmers and 38,333 animal farmers have been profiled for support for the dry season farming cycle and N471 billion was allocated as loans to farmers under the Agriculture Jobs and Food Programmes across 14 Crop Value Chains (including beef production, aquaculture and poultry farming, among others) out of which the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) reported that N14 billion was disbursed to commercial banks for lending to farmers for the 2021 wet farming season.
Agba stressed further that, the measures put in place by the government which spanned from business to health to agriculture sector “have ensured that both health and economic data have continued to be on the positive trajectory after the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
To this end, he said, government is moving the country “decisively towards the reforms required to unlock local content development, sub-national economic diversification, competitiveness and growth, making moderate, incremental progress in poverty reduction and job creation in the medium term.”
“Nigeria has an enabling investment climate and business environment, underpinned by a motivated, capacitated, well-resourced, world-class civil service that drives open, transparent, high performance governance at all levels.
“In spite of the COVID-19 challenges, Nigeria is the largest economy and most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of more than 200 million, which is expected to grow to 411 million by 2050 and become the third most populous country in the world after China and India.
“The country’s middle class of roughly 50 million people is expected to help grow the country into one of the top-twenty global economies by 2050. These statistics show that Nigeria has enormous potential and opportunities,” he pointed out.
“Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.01 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter and 4.03 per cent in 3rd quarter of 2021. The Q2 and Q3 2021 growth rates were higher than the -6.10 per cent decline recorded in Q2 2020 and the 0.51 per cent growth recorded in Q1 2021 indicating the return of business and economic activity near levels seen prior to the nationwide implementation of COVID-19 related restrictions.
“Similarly, headline inflation has continued to trend downward for the seventh consecutive month from 18.17 per cent in March 2021 to 15.99 per cent in October 2021. Food inflation has also continued to go down in the last seven months after peaking in March 2021 at 22.95 per cent, to 18.34 per cent in October 2021.”
Meanwhile, he said, government is focused on consolidating the diversification of the economy as the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021 – 2025 envisions Nigeria being a leading industrialising and reforming nation in Africa, that will focus on building its institutional capacity and capability as well as fostering a private sector-led growth to help address the critical issues of job, wealth creation and poverty reduction.
With the non-oil sector contributing more than 65 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product, he said, Nigerian can no longer be referred to as a mono product economy as the only aspect where oil contributes a major aspect is the foreign exchange revenue.
This, he said, could be turned around if the country leverages on its non-oil sector and increases its export viability