• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Updated: Economic Advisory Council raises concern, urges revision of 2020 budget

Muhammadu Buhari-meeting


As Crude Oil prices continue to fall on the global market, the Presidential Economic Advisory Council PEAC, lead by Doyin Salami has expressed concern over possible slower growth and recommended the revision of the 2020 budget to prioritize spending on health care, infrastructure and basic needs.

The PEAC stated this in a statement signed by Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina, after the meeting President Muhammadu Buhari who also presided over an enlarged meeting of his Economic Advisory Council and the Presidential Economic established to review the impact of Corona Virus and crash of Crude oil price

The Salami led team had while briefing government, painted out sobering scenarios of what could happen to the Nigerian economy, if the Covid-19 pandemic lasted for too long.

The team expressed fears over possible “slower growth” occasioned by the dwindling world crude oil price, on which Nigeria’s budget is heavily dependent

They also see supply and demand sides of global economy being impacted negatively by the uncertainties, which would erode confidence, “governments acting unilaterally instead of cooperatively, further drop in oil prices, and lockdowns gaining grounds around the world.”

The EAC said there would also be oil glut, trade imbalance, drop in foreign reserves,  and rise in unemployment.

Noting that many countries round the world may go into economic recession, the PEAC advocated hard work for Nigeria to keep its head above the waters.

They recommended amongst others, a possible revision of the 2020 Budget, with priority spending on healthcare, reprioritization of expenditure  on infrastructure to focus on projects nearing completion with pro-poor effects”

Other include “curtailing recurrent expenditure, mobilizing the private sector to strengthen health sector infrastructure, and boosting of government revenue”

The Council stressed that the projections may seem dire, but the worst may be avoided with hard work and scrupulous implementation of policies

But President Muhammadu Buhari in his response , assured that his administration will explore all efforts to protect Nigerians

The team is made up of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mele Kyari.

The combined meeting BusinessDay gathered was to afford both group opportunities to critically assess the situation and the response mechanism so far announced by the government.

The Economic Advisory Council was represented by its Chairman, Doyin Salami, Mohammed Sagagi vice-chairman and Ode Ojowu

Others present include, Shehu Yahaya , Iyabo Masha , Bismark Rewane ,
Mohammed Salisu  who is serving as secretary (senior special assistant to the president, development policy)

President Buhari after the meeting noted that government was conscious of the economic problems that may come in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and will explore all alternatives to protect her people.

The President had given the assurances while meeting Tuesday at State House, Abuja, during a briefing session by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) led by Doyin Salami, according to the statement.

With oil prices oscillating between 29 and 30 dollars in recent times, as opposed to the 57 dollars benchmark for year 2020 Budget, President Buhari said many variables, including production cost and political impact, determine oil prices, “and we will see how to survive fallen prices, as we already envisaged the problem.”

He explained that protecting the people from vagaries of international economic fortunes, and associated fallen prices of oil, is a priority of government, “and we will do our best to do so.”

Stressing the importance of education and healthcare, the President submitted that if people were adequately educated, “they won’t accept any form of mismanagement by leadership, nor would they allow themselves to be manipulated by those promoting ethnic and religious sentiments.”

He promised that inputs in agriculture, education and healthcare would continue as much as practicable.

Tony Ailemen, Abuja