Covid-19: Osinbajo, Okonjo-iweala, Kaberuka outline measures to revive the economy, boost SMEs

Yemi Osinbajo, vicepresident of Nigeria, has said the Muhammadu Buhari administration would formulate policies to aid local production of goods, while also creating the requisite environment to aid local industries.

Osinbajo said the administration plans to invest in the housing sector by building 30 million homes for Nigerians in five years, while the labour and raw material would be sourced locally to create jobs and boost local industries.

He stated this on Friday while featuring in a Covid-19 webinar interactive with the theme: ‘Economy sustainability beyond covid-19’.

The interaction was organised by the em manuel chapel methodist Church.

The interaction also featured Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala former finance minister in Nigeria and current chair- Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance, and Donald Kaberuka, former president of the African Development Bank (ADB).

Osinbajo further said that the Federal Government was planning to boost the power sector by investing more in renewable energy, liberalising the sector to encourage private investment in whose tariff would be service driven.

Speaking further, Osinbajo added that the liberalism of the power sector had reduced the subsidy regime and saved a huge significant amount of money for the federal government.

According to him, “If we have a cost effective value chain it would make the Gencos and Discos to have their value chain. The critical thing is to make the market based system work.

“NEC has proposed a system where the Gencos can go and negotiate the price with their customer on service. Through this we can reduce the subsidy regime which has consumed money in the country.

“We intend to build 30 million homes in five years it is an opportunity to grow the local industry and develop the housing programme; We thought we can generate jobs, because we intend using local materials, the engineers, architecture would all be source locally and we can give them 20 or 10 houses to build in some states.

Also speaking Donald Kaberuka advised African leaders that providing a relief package for the citizenry to cushion the effect of the covid-19 was crucial than projecting economic growth.

Kaberuka identified policy inconsistency as the reason for retarded growth witnessed in several African countries over the years, while urging Africans to take extra precautionary measures toward safe-guarding the economy and empowering their citizens because the Covid-19 may stay for long.

“This is a crisis like no other, the government has reduced lockdown because people have to survive; what is happening to families matters, providing support for households is more important than saying my country is growing at 7%,” Kaberuka said.

Also speaking , Iweala outlined the achievements of the African Union (AU) in mitigating the virus in the continent, stressing that AU was putting measures in place that make newly discovered vaccines accessible and affordable to every class of persons in the society.

“The lockdown was necessary because of the increasing number of the virus across countries in the continent and it was to tell the people the severity of the infection.

“We don’t want a situation where the vaccine, if it is discovered, is bought off by the rich countries, that is why we are taking measures so that the poor countries can see it,” Iweala said.

Source – businessday.ng

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