President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday directed a repositioning of the economy, starting with a review of 2020 budget to reflect realities in oil sector, and prioritizing health sector infrastructure to respond to the threats posed by Coronavirus.
Buhari gave the directive after the 2nd Regular Meeting of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC), held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja and was contained in a statement signed and sent to News men by its spokesperson, Garba Shehu.
The president recommended securitization of government debt, design and institutionalization of a revenue stabilization program and the imperative of cutting the cost of governance at all levels.
Buhari agreed with the Advisory Council on the need to prepare the country to take the necessary tough economic decisions, including embark on a national agenda of stakeholder mobilization – bringing the National Assembly, government organs, private sector and civil society together around a programme to respond to the major challenges confronting the nation.
Highlighting immediate and short-term measures to consider and implement in order to mitigate any adverse economic effects, the meeting reviewed the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential economic spill-over effects on the global and Nigerian economy.
The meeting with the Advisory Council reviewed the state of the Nigerian economy and noted its continued fragility and vulnerability to external shocks in spite of recent gains in output growth.
It also noted, with concern, the changing economic fundamentals – as manifested in a renewed cycle of rising prices and weaknesses in the external sector.
The meeting also considered indirect effect that would come through the impact of the pandemic on Nigeria’s other trading partners and the global economy, with implications of global recession that could slow down Nigeria’s fragile growth and trigger exchange rate re-alignment.
Nigerian had placed a travel restriction on some countries, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Several cases of the disease had been recorded since its first outbreak in Nigeria.
However, an activist who wished not to be named in a chat with News men faulted Buhari’s silence since the outbreak of the disease.
“It’s uncalled-for that Buhari has not addressed Nigerians properly on these issues. The president of a country like US has addressed his citizens.
“Anyways, what do you expect from a man like Buhari, not serious. Give him an opportunity, he may just mess up.”