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Osinbajo chaired ESC committee submit report to President Buhari

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The Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari, recommending that the government embarks on mass job creation to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari set up the committee on March 30, 2020, in response to the drastic fall in the price of crude oil production that has become threat of the most severe economic downturn in the country’s history, largely caused by the pandemic.

Its terms of reference include to develop a clear economic sustainability plan in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; to propose monetary policy measures in support of the plan; and to provide a fiscal/monetary stimulus package, including support to private businesses and vulnerable segments of the population among others.

The committee was also set up because of the adverse effects of lockdown imposed on the country to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Presenting the report to Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo said the committee recommended that the government put in place mass programmes that can create jobs and utilise local materials.

 Osinbajo in his Presentation further report that even if the country was consistently earning $30 per barrel from crude oil, Nigeria would still lose N185 billion from its oil revenue.

Osinbajo said, “We have therefore recommended that we must carry out mass programmes that create jobs and utilise local materials.

“Such will include a mass agricultural programme, which is expected to bring between 20,000 and 100,000 hectares of new farmland under cultivation in every state of the federation and create millions of direct and indirect job opportunities.

“Extensive public works and road construction programme focusing on both major and rural roads and using locally available materials like limestone, cement, and granite.

“Mass housing programme to deliver up to 300,000 homes annually, engaging young professionals and artisans who form themselves into small and medium scale businesses within the construction industry, using indigenous labour and materials.”

Buhari, shortly after receiving the report, praised Nigerians for their resilience and adaptation to the realities of COVID-19.

He said, “While the COVID-19 pandemic spread through our towns and cities, it continues to take a massive toll on the economy.

“I know that many of us have experienced great difficulty during this time, businesses have considerably slowed down and in certain instances, operations closed, workdays have been cut short and personnel liberties restricted, people have lost their jobs and earning a living has indeed been difficult.

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