The Federal Government’s has taken stock of the impact of its COVID-19 stimulus package, with visible evidences of the benefit in several sectors of the country’s economy.
Apart from the fact that the country’s economy was saved from collapse, contrary to fears at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, the government said the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan saved at least two million jobs, as much it created.
Although the government said its target of N2.3trillion estimated spend under the plan is yet to be achieved, the appropriation of about N500 billion has been released fully since the end of May, to help the government attain its objectives of directly supporting millions of Nigerians.
A total of about 2,100,021 jobs were saved and created all together, the government said.
Details of the job figures showed that 1.3 million jobs were retained through interventions in the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) space, including the Payroll Support.
The government said 774,000 jobs were created from the Public Works Programme, in addition to about 26,021 jobs created from the construction /rehabilitation projects across the country were among those freshly created.
Some of the highlights came from a virtual meeting of the Economic Sustainability Committee measuring implementation presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday.
On the implementation of the ESP, Osinbajo said the 100% release of funds appropriated in the budget for the programme was commendable, urging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to expedite action on the release of funding components of the ESP dependent on financing from the bank.
“Our budget funds were released in total. The Minister of Finance was prompt, as far as the budget goes. We have been able to do what we practically promised to do.
“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,” the VP said.
A summary by the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Clem Agba, showed construction/rehabilitation of 3,707 kilometers of Federal roads across the federation under Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is at 65 percent completion.
In the agricultural sector, over six million farmers have been enumerated, 3.6 million passed the first stage of validation and 2.4 million scaled the second validation stage.
The Minister sai~d about 129,000 crop farmers and 38,333 animal farmers have been profiled for the Interest-Free Loan Support for the dry season farming cycle.
Under the COVID-19 intervention programme for the health sector, the Minister said the establishment of released for the creation of jobs for youth and women.
The Social Intervention Programme and Support to Persons of Concern received N34.957 billion; WASH Programme and Energy Support to Vulnerable Communities received N22.315 billion; support for building a resilient health system received N116 billion; support for the operations of Security Forces was put at N15.674 billion, and the 36 States of the Federation received N50 billion,” the Minister added.
In the aviation sector, the Minister said N5 billion was ^released to support local airlines, ground handlers and other aviation allied businesses.
He said seven scheduled operators, comprising Dana, Overland, Airpeace, Azman, Aero, Arik, and Max Air received N2.84 billion; 20 non-scheduled operators, comprising Cargo and Private Jet Services received N949, 909,000; five ground handling operators, including NAHCO, SAHCO, Presion Aviation, Batuke Resources Ltd and Swissport Intl Ltd received N233,333,000.
The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies received N196 million; Airport Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN) received N196 million; 7 In-Flight Catering Services Operators received N233,333,000 and Aviation Fuel Operators received N233,333,000.”
On the implementation of the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan, the Technical Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Andrew Kwasari, LD the meer the construction of 340 kilometers of rural roads across the federation under Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have been completed.
He said clearing of 3,200 hectares of land in 8 States have been completed, while the President has granted approval for fertilizer subsidy to over one million farmers already enumerated under the Agriculture for Food and Job Programme.
On his part, the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Salihijo Ahmad, said the Solar Power Naija Programme under the ESP was progressing steadily with more communities to be connected under the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) 100,000 solar connections, among other components of the programme.
he agency under the Energy for All initiative has completed the connection of 200 Primary Healthcare Centres and 104 schools across the country to solar power with plans to connect more schools and health centres.
Under the Social Housing Scheme, the Managing Director of the Family Homes Fund, Femi Adewole, said the scheme is progressing steadily as the financing agreement between the Family Homes Fund and the CBN has been finalized, while the Ministry of Finance has provided the necessary guarantee for the project.
The disbursement request for N30 billion to finance ans total of 29,600 homes would be submitted to the CBN for processing before the end of this week.
Other members of the Economic Sustainability Committee present at the meeting included the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Labour & Employment, and representative of the CBN Governor, among other officials.
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