The Federal Government has rolled out what it calls “immediate tasks” to reflate the economy and reduce the current hardship in the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo unveiled the measures in Lagos yesterday at the Presidential Policy Dialogue organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Such measures include reducing fiscal and forex imbalances; boosting dollar liquidity; curbing inflation; lowering interest rate, ensuring lending to the real sector as well as increasing Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
Others are encouraging Public Private Partnerships (PPP); deepening diversification; creating jobs directly and indirectly as well as reducing poverty.
The vice president said these measures would put Nigeria on the path of sustained growth and transformation.
The vice president disclosed that the government would release another N100 billion in the next few days.
He said the government had already released N332bn for power, works, housing, defence, transportation and agriculture sectors which are more than the entire amount released last year for capital expenditure.
He said the government had scheduled a Quarterly Business Briefing as a means of institutionalising policy dialogue starting next quarter.
He noted that the government had taken steps to boost household and social spending which, he said, were key steps to prevent the economy from falling into deep recession.
The vice president also said the government’s recent interventions such as the bail-out funds and the latest loan of N90bn to states as well as deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector had made significant impact in the country.
“This action has led to reduced daily demand for premium motor spirit (PMS) for which the daily demand has reduced from 1,600 trucks per day to 850 trucks per day resulting in the savings of N1.4 trillion on subsidy payments
Osinbajo added that the recent introduction of a flexible exchange rate regime had helped to ease the pressure on the external reserves.
He said though it was true that the immediate effect of the new forex regime was depreciation of the Naira and some of the consequences for inflation, the government expected that with the greater clarity being seen in the implementation of the policy by the CBN, the foreign exchange market would stabilise, and confidence would be restored.
He revealed that Nigerian agricultural products are being exported to neighbouring countries in substantial quantities resulting in more foreign direct investments.
Osinbajo said additional 700,000 companies had been added to the tax net as compared to the targeted 500,000 set at the beginning of the year.
According to him, Non-oil revenue from both FIRS and Customs continues to lag behind projections partly due to seasonal factors and economic conditions but noted that the FIRS has achieved 73.17% of its target for the first half of the year.
He noted that the recent settlement on Ajaokuta holds out the promise for reviving our iron and steel industry.
On transportation he said while the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line has started operation, work is underway with regard to the first leg of the Lagos-Kano railway which will run from Lagos to Ibadan and the Calabar-Lagos line which will start at that end of the year.
On road rehabilitation, he said the government had paid N70bn to contractors who had not been paid in over two years with over 70 construction firms benefiting, saying “This has resulted in the recall of not less than 5,000 workers. Indeed, work has started on sections of Kano-Katsina; Kano-Maiduguri; Ilorin-Jebba; and Lagos-Ibadan roads amongst others.”
He recalled that in addressing poverty and youth unemployment, the administration had established the most far reaching N500bn social investment programme with the current applications on the N-Power website for recruiting young graduates reaching 710,000.
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