The Federal Government will use part of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package to purchase locally produced items as buyer of last resort in line with its Economic Sustainability Plan, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has stated.
The Vice President made this known on Friday at the virtual edition of the 2020 Presidential Policy Dialogue of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
According to him, “In all of what we are doing, part of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package is to make government the buyer of last resort. This is to ensure that the whole question of demand, which is weak at the moment, is strengthened by the fact that government stands ready to be the purchaser of last resort, with respect to agriculture or even with respect to our housing programme.”
“But quite seriously, the fact that industry and businesses survived even in those early days with all the difficulties, surely must teach us something and the spirit of innovation, the spirit of being creative even in the most difficult times catches the essence of our approach to the challenges of the current situation.
“The Federal Government developed the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) with a stimulus package of N2.3 trillion to give fillip to the economy across various sectors. The size of the stimulus is about 1.5% of national income or GDP.
“This is not as large as we would have liked it to be but it was the best we could do given existing fiscal and monetary constraints, and this is also based on the assumption that the price of crude will average around 30 to 40 dollars per barrel throughout the year. We anticipate an economic growth of about -0.59% in 2020.
Continuing on measures put in place to support small businesses, he said “Working with the Central Bank, we try to ensure that we are able to put in place a system whereby many businesses that have taken loans will be able to restructure those loans.
“This is an on-going conversation and we intend to keep the banks reassured that allowing generous restructuring programmes will be supported by the Central Bank and that the Central Bank will not throw them under the bus.”
“A fundamental feature of the Economic Sustainability Plan is the role of the private sector. Take agriculture for instance, at 22 per- cent of GDP, agriculture continues to be the major non-oil contributor to national economy and Nigeria is deemed to be “one of the richest potential sources of agricultural growth globally”.
“Nigerians are consuming more processed food than ever before yet the ratio of agro and food processing to primary agriculture is low leading to imports whereas if agricultural produce is processed locally it can meet domestic needs and even be exported in large quantities abroad. There is no reason why we cannot be net exporters of some of the agricultural products that our land and climate can sustain.”
According to the Vice President, the plan covers many economic and social sectors and some of its key provisions include: Jobs for food, Jobs through Homes, Solar Homes Systems programme, supporting MSMEs, Jobs programme in technology among others.