Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has presented the report of Presidential Panel On The Economic Sustainability Plan to President Muhammadu Buhari with emphasis on embracing local contents in the nation’s economic development.
Presenting the report today, June 11, Professor Osinbajo said that the panel recommended support for local production and manufacturing of all that is possible, including tech apps, software, shoes, garments, steel fabrication, ceramics and furniture, with the required capital and essential machinery.
He said that the panel’s recommendations were hinged on President Buhari’s mantra of “produce what we eat and consume what we produce,” adding that they are aimed at creating millions of new jobs.
“We need to focus on encouraging local production, local services, local innovation, and emphasize the use of local materials. “Nigeria and Nigerians can produce our food, build our houses and construct our roads, using local materials in all cases. If we must import, it must be to support local production. “We have therefore recommended that we must carry out mass programmes that create jobs and utilise local materials. “Such will include: A Mass Agricultural Programme, which is expected to bring between 20,000 and 100,000 hectares of new farmland under cultivation in every State of the Federation and create millions of direct and indirect job opportunities.
“Extensive Public Works and Road Construction Programme focusing on both major and rural roads and using locally available materials like limestone, cement and granite.
“Mass Housing Programme to deliver up to 300,000 homes annually, engaging young professionals and artisans who form themselves into small and medium scale businesses within the construction industry, using indigenous labour and materials.
“Installation of Solar Home System, targetting 5 million households, serving about 25 million individual Nigerians who are currently not connected to the National Grid.”
Vice President Osinbajo said that such measures have been recommended in view of the havoc which the consequences of coronavirus, including inevitable mandatory lockdowns and social distancing had caused the economy, especially the severe negative impact they have on farms and factories, as well as on trade, transport and tourism. “Several projections, including those done by the NBS on behalf of the Economic Sustainability Committee, showed:
(i) a severe downturn in our oil earnings, as a result of which, even with oil price at 30 dollars a barrel, we would still have a shortfall of about N185 billion every month, in the amount available for allocation to the three tiers of Government;
(ii) that Unemployment may rise to 33.6% or about 39.4 million people by the end of 2020, if we fail to take prompt preemptive measures;
(iii) that millions more will fall extreme Poverty, before the pandemic ends;(iv) that GDP may fall to between minus 4.40% and minus 8.91%, depending on the length of the lockdown period and strength of our economic response.”