President Muhammadu Buhari in a nationwide broadcast to mark Nigeria’s 21 years of democratic rule, said the advent of Covid-19 has adversely affected humanity, democracy and the socio-economy of many nations of the world including Nigeria.
The pandemic according to the President made Nigeria’s GDP to grow from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities.
He posited that every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate. “In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market. The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments”.
“Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million”, he said.
President Buhari also said, “The Power Sector remains very critical to meeting our industrial development aspirations and we are tackling the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies”.
He listed some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme to aid the socio-economic life of Nigeria which include: Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano; 330kv DC 62km line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba; Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project; Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme; and Northern Corridor Transmission Project.
Although the economy of the nation has been disrupted he said, “as part of the strategy to create jobs in reducing the effect of COVID-19 on our youths, I directed the employment of 774, 000 Nigerians. These youths will be engaged in Special Public Works Programme aimed at cushioning the effects of economic downturn. Each of the 774 local government areas in the country will be allotted 1,000 slots”.
President Buhari promised that he will build a nationwide health system from the realization of covid-19 that will prepare the nation for any future outbreak.
- Eniola Olatunji.