The federal government has kickstarted plans to borrow $750 million on behalf of states to stimulate local economies in Nigeria.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed made this known at the inauguration ceremony of the Federal Steering Committees of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) in Abuja on Friday.
According to Ahmed, the federal government “is in the process of accessing a World Bank loan of $750 million on behalf of the states, to stimulate the local economy and support vulnerable household’s consumption”.
She said government is considering the cause and consequences of civil unrest and COVID-19 in the country as reasons for borrowing the money.
She stated; “The consequences will be too high if we ignore the root cause of rising civil unrest in our country. We must, therefore, fashion out ways of ensuring that post Covid-19 is not injurious to the Nigerian people and the economy.”
“The federal government has created several windows of interventions as captured in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to, among other things, “respond robustly and appropriately to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, identify fiscal measures to enhance oil and non-oil government revenues and reduce non-essential spending”.
Speaking on the need for proper implementation, the finance minister said that “to ensure that the implementation of the N-CARES is in line with the federal government priorities as outlined in the ESP, the Federal Steering Committee, made up of ministers and permanent secretaries as well as a Technical Committee, made up of directors of key ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) has to be in place”.
According to her, the government has carefully selected the “members of the Federal Steering and Technical Committees because of the important role your MDAs play in the recovery of the Nigerian economy as well as the fulfillment of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.
“The inauguration of the committees is expedient given the nature of this emergency intervention; Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa cannot afford to remain in recession; the survival of over 200 million population is germane to all we do and we must address the concerns of the majority of our populace”.