The minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has reeled out palliatives and measures put in place to cushion the economic impact of the covid-19 on Nigeria’s economy
According to her, the measures put in place by the federal government is aimed at promoting local production especially in the health sector.
“Our policies starts with the health sector, because the pandemic is a health crisis before it became a socio-economic crisis. So for the health sector, we targeted pharmaceutical industries were giving them import duty waivers for production because supply lines are broken, and we encourage them to go out there and get the equipment they need so the CBN will give them forex. We also giving waivers to bring the goods by air so it can be fast,
“Also we have funding to NCDC that asides the 6.5bn, we have $9m from World Bank that we are expanding, asides N3.4bn from a multilateral institution that we are negotiating,” she said.
“On the cushion for poor Nigerians, we have a national investment programme, so we have been directed to review it so that it reaches more people and add more to the list, so we are expanding government enterprise and conditional cash transfer,” she said.
The minister pointed out that inadequate data of tracing vulnerable Nigerians are currently the challenge the government is facing.
“The challenge is that most of our populace is not financially inclusive, that is they are not in the banking system, and by the time we are locked down and movement is restricted, it is difficult to meet people with the resources we provide.
“So if we are looking at how best to do this is to an assessment of the lowest income earners within the banking system and be able to provide funds for them, it means we won’t reach the people in the rural areas that are not banked except the social register developed and the number of households developed has just about 12 million people.
“Therefore we are working with the humanitarian ministry and state governments to reach those people that require governments intervention and it requires support from different groups so that such people will be identified.
Nigeria already has a component of two million dollar for humanitarian response and largely it will address the northeast. One good thing is that there is a lot of work going on in that area so it easier to reach people hit by the impact of insurgency, so distributing support is easier than in other parts of the country,” Ahmed added