The Federal Government on Sunday disclosed that the lingering COVID-19 pandemic on broad sectors of the economy resulted in about 65% decline in projected net revenues from the oil and gas sector in the first half of 2020 fiscal year. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, gave this hint at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) capacity building for special advisors and technical assistants of the ministers.

While noting that these challenges are still being anticipated in the 3rd quarter, the minister said the impact of COVID-19 which necessitated the lockdown of the economy and social distancing measures caused lay-offs across most sectors, loss of income, and a drop in average household purchasing power.

Ahmed explained: “All of this takes place against the backdrop of the most recent National Bureau of Statistics 5-year household survey on poverty in Nigeria, which has found that the annual household income is less than N137,000 (equivalent to approx. N11,000 per month) for more than 40% of Nigerian households.

“What began as a health crisis has quickly snowballed into a global economic crisis, and the effects have been swift and far-reaching, and Nigeria has not been insulated from this” she added.

She also lamented that the economy, largely dependent on oil revenue and foreign exchange earnings, was also contending with a high debt service ratio, a weak infrastructure base, and low human capital development indices.

She urged the special advisers to work to look beyond the short term and ensure policies and programmes developed under the current Administration are institutionalized and implemented.

The Resident Representative of KAS, Dr Vladimir Kreck, said the seminar was the first of a series of seminars on capacity building for special advisors and technical assistants of the ministers.

He said the Foundation aimed to empower the special assistants to improve their performance, especially against the backdrop of the development of a new long-term development plan for the country.

 

Source: Daily Trust

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