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Nigerian govt spent N2.3tr to cushion effects of COVID-19 – Minister

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The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, said on Tuesday the Federal Government had spent N2.3 trillion as a stimulus package to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Agba stated this at a three-day 4th National Treasury Workshop organised by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation in Uyo, Akwa Ibom.

He said: “Despite the impact of COVID-19 and dwindling revenue from oil, our strategy was to expand government’s activities to cushion the effect of the pandemic with the total estimated stimulus package by the Federal Government of N2.3 trillion.

“This package consisted, to a large extent, of a combination of fiscal and monetary policies, sectoral interventions, and social programmes.

“The fiscal and monetary policies were support to states, businesses, households, and individuals through grants, tax relief, payroll support, tariff reductions, and direct support to the health sector.

“The real sector interventions were focused on mass agriculture, mass housing, public works, off-grid solar power installations and support to small businesses.”

The interventions, according to the minister, created a large number of jobs, empowered farmers and entrepreneurs, conserved foreign exchange, and provided guaranteed off-take of output, especially in agriculture and housing.

He added that despite the COVID-19 challenges, Nigeria was still the largest economy in Africa.

Agba stressed that the federal government would continue to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country.

READ ALSO:Delta COVID-19 variant still dominant in Nigeria – NCDC

He said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was committed to attracting and supporting foreign direct investments and partnerships in Nigeria.

The minister added: “The government is creating an enabling macroeconomic environment by eliminating barriers and putting in place many incentives to attract investments.”

In his remarks, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, said the state government had set up Post COVID-19 Economic Advisory Committee made up of professionals to advise the government on the way forward.

Emmanuel, who was represented at the forum by his deputy, Moses Ekpo, said the state government had started implementing some of the committee’s recommendations like the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other tools to stimulate entrepreneurship among the people of the state.

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