The Plateau State government has come up with modalities for a post COVID economic sustainability in the state, owing to the impact of the pandemic on economies, globally and in the nation.
The state governor, Simon Lalong, on Wednesday, directed that the State Economic Advisory Council, chaired by Ezekiel Gomos, should immediately brainstorm and come up with practical and comprehensive strategies on the sustainability and continuation of the State Economy under COVID-19.
In a statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the governor, Makut Macham, the governor equally directed the Council to put together a post-COVID-19 road map for the Plateau State economy, especially for its revival and recovery.
The emergence of COVID-19 and its increasing incidence in Nigeria has called for drastic review and changes in the earlier revenue expectations and fiscal projections, says the Centre for the Study of Economies of Africa.
Compared to events that led to recession in 2016, the current state of the global economy poses more difficulties ahead as the oil price is currently below US$20 with projections that it will dip further going by the price war among key players in the industry.
Unfortunately, the nation has grossly underachieved in setting aside sufficient buffers for rainy days such as it faces in the coming days. In addressing these daunting economic challenges, the current considerations to revise the budget downward is inevitable. However, certain considerations that are expected in the review must not be left out, the CSEA added.
In this regard, the governor mandated the Council to liaise and consult extensively with all Ministries, Department and Agencies; Local Government Councils; key private sector players in the State in the manufacturing, agriculture, banking and finance; hospitality and entertainment; trade and commerce; ICT; mining sector; and other important stakeholders like the MSMEs; the informal sector; Trade Associations; Chambers of Commerce; development partners, NGOS and CSOs, Labour Unions and others.
Cutting expenditures must be done such that the already excluded group and vulnerable are not left to bear the brunt of the economic contraction.
The economic and growth recovery program, which has the aim of increasing social inclusion by creating jobs and providing support for the poorest and most vulnerable members of society through investments in social programs and providing social amenities, will no doubt suffer some setbacks.
Besides, the downward review of the budget and contractions in public spending could be devastating on poverty and unemployment. The last unemployment report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) ranks Nigeria 21st among 181 countries with an unemployment rate of about 23.1%. The country has also been rated as the poverty capital of the world with an estimated 87 million people living on less than $2 a day threshold, according to the CSEA.
The latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University reveals that 2,629,801 cases have been detected worldwide, with 183,454 deaths and 713,537 people recovered.
In Nigeria, there have been 873 cases, with 28 deaths and 197 people recovered.
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