Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday said the federal government plans to take advantage of local resources and create jobs, in order to reposition the economy as the country grapples with the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Vice President Osinbajo made the comment during his appearance – via video-conferencing – at the Platform, an annual event organised by the Covenant Nation.
Nigeria has recorded 2,170 cases of the deadly coronavirus and 68 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
To tackle the virus spread, the federal government has implemented lockdowns in three regions – Lagos, Ogun and the FCT – while state governments have instituted varying levels of restrictions that have affected economic activities.
The coronavirus pandemic has also contributed to the drastic fall of international oil prices, crippling Nigeria’s main source of revenue.
The country has turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the homegrown Sovereign Wealth Fund to keep foreign reserves and expenditure capacity afloat.
“Mr President, as you’ve noticed has done a lot of things,” Osinbajo said, of the government’s response to the economic implications of the pandemic.
“The first thing, of course, was to constitute a meeting of the principal Ministers concerned with the economy and thereafter he set up the Economic Sustainability Committee which is meant to look at what to do, during and post-Covid, and what sort of economic plans may be required in order to weather the storm.
“And I think that some of what has transpired, some of what we are seeing, is that we need to do two crucial things, just speaking broadly. One is focusing on the use of our local resources. The second is in the creation of jobs, of decent jobs that will make a difference in the lives of people.”
The Platform was conceptualised by Pastor Poju Oyemade and is designed to generate conversations about nation-building, governance, democracy and personal development.
This year’s edition was devoted to the coronavirus pandemic and guests – which included six state governors – appeared via teleconferencing.