Top officials of Federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including officials of government parastatals, considered critical to the execution of the 2020 budget were Wednesday invited to be part of the weekly Cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
At the meeting are top officials of the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Investment, as well as those of Transportation and Water Resources.
BusinessDay gathered that the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, is expected to brief the cabinet meeting on the current state of the economy as Nigeria.
It was also gathered that the President has asked the Presidential Economic team established to review the impact of Coronavirus and crash of Crude oil price, headed by the Minister of Finance to regularly update the cabinet of measures to tackle the effects of Crude Oil prices falls as experts projects that oil prices could go to as low as $20 per barrel
The Presidential Economic Advisory Council PEAC, led by Doyin Salami, had on Tuesday expressed concern over possible slow growth occasioned by the negative impact of Coronavirus and recommended the revision of the 2020 budget to prioritise spending on health care, infrastructure and basic needs.
The Federal Executive Council is expected to review the Salami-led team submissions and adjust policies and projects accordingly, BusinessDay gathered on Wednesday
The PEAC had painted 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 the 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 a rise in unemployment.
Noting that many countries around the world may go into 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 government revenue”.
They stressed that the projections may seem dire, but the worst may be avoided with hard work and scrupulous implementation of policies
Our source stated that “FEC is expected to reel out far-reaching measures as part of government response at the end of today’s meeting”.