The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has hinted that the current global epidemic may have a negative impact on the country’s economy, and hence might again go into recession if the Coronavirus exceeds three months from now.
According to Zainab in an interview on Friday, March 27, if coronavirus, codenamed (COVID-19) continue until six months, then the country might go into another season of recession.
She said, “We are hopeful that this pandemic will be limited in time,”
“If it is an average of three months, we should be able to close the year with positive growth. But if it goes longer than that – six months, one year – we will go into recession.”
“This was why the government was looking for alternative sources of funding in the form of budget support to boost the economy towards the trying times,” Channels quoted Zainab.
The minister, however, revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus and avoid it from having a negative impact on the country’s economy set up a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Zainab expressed her confidence that the committee which comprised of key Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and chaired by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), will come up with something good and commendable.
Speaking about a suggestion and support received from the former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at this time of the pandemic, Zainab noted that yes indeed his recommendations were considered but its negative impact is their fear.
Naija News recalls that Atiku had earlier proposed the distribution of N10,000 to 30 million households as foodstuff supplements, reduction of the petrol pump price, and suspension of stamp duty.
Also, Atiku has called for the transfer of airtime worth N1,500 to 100 million Nigerian mobile phone users to be useful for them in terms of emergency.
Reacting to the above, Zainab said: “the government has noted Atiku’s recommendations but the consequences were being considered.”
“The government is looking at the possibility of giving out stipend and to increase the stipend that it is already giving out to the category of Nigerians that are classified as the poor and vulnerable.”
“What we are doing is to make sure that we are able to respond to the health crisis because if it gets out of hand, it has also a direct impact on the economy and we have so far shown that the country is able to respond adequately to the health crisis.”
“Health facilities are being upgraded; we have found resources that we can put to also further upgrade. If we don’t respond adequately to the health crisis, the impact on the economy will be worse.”