Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Monday said the coronavirus pandemic had dwindled the country’s revenue and foreign exchange earnings.
“For the government, it has been a particularly trying time,” Osinajo said while representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the start of the first-year Ministerial performance review retreat holding in Abuja.
“As a result of the poor fortunes of the oil sector, our revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen drastically. Our revenues have fallen by almost 60 percent,” he added.
Osinbajo said despite the slump, the Nigerian Government had to sustain expenditures, “especially on salaries and capital projects, in order to keep the economy going.”
He said the government adopted a N2.3 trillion economic sustainability plan to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown.
The plan, which consists of fiscal, monetary, and sectoral measures, is expected “to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs and provide succor to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”
“But we have also had to make some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down,” he said.
Nigeria’s economy is facing collapse as it largely depends on oil exports. The oil markets have been on a downward trend as COVID-19 has crippled demand. Fuel prices fell and recorded 18-year low trading at less than 22 dollars per barrel and expected to go lower.
Buhari during the height of the coronavirus inaugurated Economic Sustainability Committee on March 30, chaired by Osinbajo.
The committee was specifically charged with the responsibility of developing a clear Economic Sustainability Plan in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to propose monetary policy measures in support of the plan, among others.
Still, finance experts and organisations have projected that the country may experience a severe recession.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba on Tuesday said Nigeria may experience another negative growth in the third quarter of the year 2020.