By Idowu Abdullahi,
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed eleven ministers from his cabinet member to develop a functioning economic policy aimed at piloting the country’s economy following coronavirus induced challenges posed to the global economy.
He explained that the need to protect the nation’s economy from likely hit of recession and to provide a buffer for personal and collective inconveniences suffered by Nigeria and Nigerians due to measures such as restriction of movements and closure of business premises, as well as a crash in the price of crude oil globally had necessitated the move.
The President noted that with the two weeks extension of restriction placed on movement by the Federal Government, there is a dire need to proffer solutions through new policies to protect the economy and interest of the citizens.
Buhari, while addressing Nigerians on the lockdown extension on Monday night, said though the decision was a difficult one to take, it would avert likely repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown, and that the government will do all within its power to protect Nigerians and the nation’s economy.
He noted that the administration understands that no country can afford the full impact of a sustained restriction of movement on its economy, and such informed the directives given to the ministers in collaboration with the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and Economic Sustainability Committee to produce a working economic policy till such times control will be gain over the virus within Nigerian borders.
“As a result of this pandemic, the world as we know it has changed. The way we interact with each other, conduct our businesses and trade, travel, educate our children and earn our livelihoods will be different.
“To ensure our economy adapts to this new reality, I am directing the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment and Education to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for a “Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19”.
“The Ministers will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and Economic Sustainability Committee in executing this mandate,” the President said.
Buhari also announced that he had directed that additional one million homes should be included in the government social investment programs, thus expanding the social register from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.
“In the coming weeks, I want to assure you that the Federal Government, through the Presidential Task Force, will do whatever it takes to support you in this very difficult period. I have no doubt that, by working together and carefully following the rules, we shall get over this pandemic,” he said.