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COVID-19 Gulps N2.3trn From Nigeria’s Treasury, Says Federal Government

Prince Clem Agba, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning has said that the Federal Government spent more than N2.3trillion as a stimulus package to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agba disclosed this on Tuesday at the 3-Day 4th National Treasury Workshop with the theme: ‘Covid-19 and the global economy: Implications on Nigeria’s National Treasury,’ organised by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation which held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital.

He said that the fiscal and monetary policies were supported to states, businesses, households and individuals through grants, tax relief, payroll support, tariff reductions, and direct support to the health sector.

According to the minister, the real sector interventions were focused on mass agriculture, mass housing, public works, off-grid solar power installations and support to small businesses.

“COVID-19 which started as a health pandemic snowballed into an economic pandemic, so, to accelerate quick recovery of the economy, we developed some strategies which included; national stimulus economic package, mobilisation of external support and funding and increase in non-oil revenue generation.

“These were aimed at retaining and creating jobs, increasing our productivity ensuring social stability and addressing long-standing economic vulnerabilities.

“Thus, the impact of COVID-19 and dwindling revenue from oil, in spite of these, we will continue to expand government policies to cushion the effect with a total estimated stimulus package by the federal government of Nigeria of 2.3 trillion naira

“We took steps to increase our non-oil revenue generation. These steps included but were not limited to VAT reforms in the Finance Act 2020, customs administration enhancement, tax exemption, increased remittances and recovery of remitted revenue from government own enterprises.”

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom while declaring open the workshop said that the state government had set up a Post COVID-19 Economic Advisory Committee made up of professionals to advise the state government on the way forward.

Emmanuel, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, said that the state government had started implementing some of the committee’s recommendations, such as the applications of ICT and other tools of technology to stimulate entrepreneurial drives amongst the people.

Also, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, said that the workshop would provide financial shock-absorber to the government on how to manage any pandemic induced financial challenges.

Idris added the workshop would further enlighten financial managers in government on how to control aggregate cash flows within fiscal, monetary and legal limits that would in the improvement in the management of critical government borrowings and deploying the same to infrastructure.

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