COVID-19:  How Buhari’s economic stimulus package is helping Nigerians

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Nigerians have been assured of government’s commitment to their wellbeing as the Buhari administration works assiduously with the National Assembly to deliver measures unprecedented in the history of the country to save jobs, businesses and provide comprehensive protection in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Buhari Media  Organisation (BMO) has, therefore, urged Nigerians not to panic as the government is working round the clock to put in place far-reaching measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 and to facilitate citizens’ comfort and economic stability in the face of the global economic crisis caused by coronavirus.

In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said currently, the government is at the verge of churning out additional measures to complement existing ones to fight the pandemic and ensure that Nigerians are adequately protected in all ramifications.

“Aside the interest rate cuts on all applicable Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention facilities, the one-year moratorium on loan servicing, the N20 naira cut from the price of petrol the N50 billion targeted credit facilities through the NIRSAL microfinance bank for households and small and medium-sized enterprises among others, Nigerians should be expecting more robust measures to strengthen the fight against the dreaded disease.

“Some of these measures include a downward review of NNPC’s expenditures associated with oil to include cuts of under-recovery payment from 457.5bn to zero, reduction of other federally funded upstream projects in such a way that aggregate NNPC deductible expenditures are cut by 53%, and revision of the 2020 budget using a $30 per barrel price benchmark with oil production volume still remaining at 2.18mb/per day.

“Other measures are revving up of oil production on shut down wells, reduction of budgeted customs revenues from N1.5tr to N943bn, cut in proceeds of privatisation by 50% from N252bn to N126bn, reduction of MDA’s Administrative Capex by 20%, reduction of administrative Capex and overheads for top 10 government-owned enterprises (GOEs) in FGN 2020 budget by 25%, and similar cutting measures to all other GOEs and thereby increasing FGN revenue by N67bn”.

BMO listed additional measures as; restructuring of the social investment programmes., control of the fast-growing personnel cost by efficiency measures such as non- essential recruitments, design and launch of other policy measures to be agreed with the strategic MDAs, Provision of fiscal relief for Taxpayers and Key Economic sectors, incentivize for employers to retain and recruit staff during the economic downturn and also stimulate investment in critical infrastructure.

“Other important measures in the package are a review of non-essential tax waivers to optimize revenues and complementing of Monetary and Trade Interventions to respond to the consequences of Covid -19

“It should be noted that other incentives and laws proposed include granting job creation tax rebates for employers, accelerating the construction of over 70km of roads and bridges under Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme and Review of sectors eligible for pioneer tax holidays.

“There is also the negotiation of a break on debt servicing with multilateral and financial institutions, import duty waiver for essential input for pharmaceutical firms, tax waiver on new health equipment, deferment of tax to increase production, the release of N6.6bn in two tranches to NCDC to fight Covid19, and release of N1bn for pharmaceutical firms and the release of yet another N10bn to support Lagos State government’s effort to combat Covid19”.

The  group added that implementation of tax holidays and import duty waivers in the Agricultural sector to enhance production and job creation and accelerating the ease of doing business-related reforms are also part of many other stimulus packages

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