The ongoing global economic and health crises have taken a serious toll on the Nigerian economy. This has necessitated the development of a rapid response to some totally unanticipated events, which are perhaps our most challenging yet.
I acknowledge the difficulties that many Nigerians have experienced over the past few months, caused by the emergency measures taken to protect and ensure the safety of lives. Businesses are handicapped, work days have been cut short and personal liberties restricted. We will need to summon the reserves of our famed resilience and adapt quickly to the new realities of the COVID-19 era, aiming to ultimately bounce back even stronger.
This Economic Sustainability Plan has been developed as a short term response to the global economic crisis in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and the shocks caused by the global oil price crisis.
At the beginning of this year, we committed to the goal of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. This Plan is a renewal of that commitment, even in the midst of the current crisis. The Sustainability Plan is not intended to replace the extant medium term planning framework or other extant economic planning tools. It will however provide a signpost for more long-term planning tools, including the successor to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The interventions outlined in the Economic Sustainability Plan are guided by the following principles:
Protection of the most vulnerable groups and ensuring that those in danger of falling into poverty are supported. This will be done by expanding the existing Social Investment Programmes and ensuring that they provide enduring support to more of our people who are below the poverty line.
Commitment to building a health system that will serve everyone and can respond to large scale threats to our wellbeing.
Retention of existing jobs and creation of new ones through the provision of payroll interventions and other specific support to priority sectors, including MSMEs and self-employed workers.
Keeping the Nigerian economy open, competitive and sustainable, with a particular focus on strengthening local manufacturing and energy security while taking advantage of the increased volume of international trade enabled by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
Evolving a mutually reinforcing partnership with State Governments to protect local economies and livelihoods. This plan was developed with the conviction that without the sub-national authorities, not much can be achieved. I therefore look forward to a continuing partnership with them to implement this Plan.
Getting things done is the single most important objective of this Plan. Therefore, the Economic Sustainability Committee will monitor the implementation of the Plan and report regularly to me on progress made.
We must chart a new course and remain steadfast. The policy priorities highlighted in this Plan are not altogether new. However, I think they present a practical way of achieving our desire of a truly competitive economy that can support our people and secure our future.
A central motivation of this plan is the preservation of our way of life. But let me be clear. The next several months will demand utmost prudence and unyielding resolve. There can be no going back. All of us, government, private sector and civil society must now work together in pursuit of a common goal. This is an opportunity for us to move forward with confidence and clarity of purpose.
I believe that with God’s help and a sense of duty to posterity, we will successfully reset our economy for a brighter future.