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JUST IN: Finance Minister Says Central Bank Is In Sync With FG’s #COVID19 ESP Measures

by on August 3, 2020
 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed in a brief statement publicized by the official Twitter account of the Nigerian Government, on Tuesday spoke on the Nigerian Government’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

“ESP is a plan that is for 12 months, designed to help the economy and also help our capacity in reaching the health challenges that we are facing as a result of #COVID19”, she said.

Ahmed revealed that the Federal Government, working in sync with the Central Bank of Nigeria, plans to improve the housing sector of the Nigerian economy, saying at least 300,000 houses would be built, patronizing local building material suppliers and workmen.

“The target is to create 300,000 houses at low cost, and 80-90% of the material used in their construction will be local. We will be providing the funds through Central Bank to small size developers, young groups of 3-5 architects and engineers.”- Ahmed on the mass housing plan.

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“Our commitment is to build a lot of rural roads to link farmers and bring into cultivation between 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of new farmlands. Our target is to get more people back to their farmlands as soon as possible”, she added, while speaking on the agricultural sector.

Following the health and economic emergencies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari had established the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) on March 30, 2020, to develop the COVID-19 Stimulus Plan, otherwise know as Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan 2020, for Nigerians.

The total sum for the plan is put at N2.3 trillion, N500billion of this is a stimulus package that is already provided for in the amended in the 2020 Appropriations Act. These are funds that we have sourced from special accounts.
N1.2 trillion of the funds to be sourced as structured low-cost loans which are intervention from the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as other development partners and institutions

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According to the committee, they “decided that the best way to beat the triple problem of very low foreign exchange, huge unemployment and negative growth is by focusing on Mr. President’s mantra to “produce what we eat and eat what we produce.

This meant focusing on agriculture, increasing the acreage under cultivation and engaging thousands of young people in farming and agro-allied jobs, with a scheme for guaranteeing off-take of farm produce.

This ensures that farmers are assured of an income. Other signature programmes include mass social housing, using local materials, installing solar power in 5 million homes, and providing assistance to daily-paid and self-employed workers – petty traders, artisans like bricklayers, vulcanisers, and electricians as well as commercial drivers and barrow-pushers.

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