According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, thanks to the federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus package, the Nigerian economy did not degenerate as feared and at least over 2 million jobs have both been created and saved with the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
The Osinbajo-led Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) also reiterates that although the target of N2.3 trillion estimated to be spent under the ESP has not yet been achieved, the federal government’s appropriation of part of that total–which is N500 billion–was completely released by the end of May.
The committee also says that a total of 2,100,021 jobs have been saved and created.
“The breakdown of the figures indicate that 1.3 million jobs have been retained through interventions in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) space, including the payroll support.
“The 774,000 jobs from the Public Works Programme and 26,021 jobs from construction /rehabilitation projects across the country were among those freshly created,” a statement from Laolu Akande, Osinbajo’s spokesperson, reads.
According to Osinbajo, “our budget funds were released in total. I thank the Honorable Minister of Finance for ensuring that it was done promptly, which means, in effect, that as far as the budget goes, we have been able to do what we practically promised to do.
“I know that if we were able to infuse N2.3 trillion into the Nigerian economy, we will not have the employment figures that we have today, we will not have the problems that we have today, they will be significantly reduced.
“Even with what we are able to do with the budget, growth figures at least indicate that things have not degenerated as badly as many had thought.
“So, you can imagine what we could have done if we were able to fully implement what we thought we would be able to implement. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case.
“We hope that in the next couple of weeks, we will be able to get some good response on more funds that we expect to get from the CBN which will help us to make some progress on the implementation.”
Other members of the ESC who attended the meeting on July 5, 2021, included the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Labour & Employment Chris Ngige; and representative of the CBN Governor, among other officials.