Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has revealed that 39.4 million Nigerians might be out of job by the end of 2020 according to projections received by the economic sustainability committee.
Osinbajo who disclosed this while presenting the committee’s report to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday June 11, said the National Bureau of Statistics also projects that the country would have a revenue shortfall of N185 billion monthly with oil prices at $30 a barrel.
The Vice President stated the projection might come to reality if government does not take prompt measures. He revealed that the committee has been given the responsibility of developing a credible sustainability plan for repositioning the Nigerian economy pre and post COVID-19 crisis period.
“Several projections, including those done by the NBS on behalf of the economic sustainability committee, showed a severe downturn in our oil earnings, as a result of which, even with oil price at $30 a barrel, we would still have a shortfall of about N185 billion every month, in the amount available for allocation to the three tiers of government.
“That unemployment may rise to 33.6 percent or about 39.4 million people by the end of 2020 if we fail to take prompt preemptive measures; that millions more will fall extreme poverty before the pandemic ends; that GDP may fall to between minus 4.40% and minus 8.91%, depending on the length of the lockdown period and strength of our economic response.
“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.
“Installation of solar home system, targeting five million households, serving about 25 million individual Nigerians who are currently not connected to the national grid.
“The provision of ample support for the informal sector through low-interest loans and by easing procedures for registration, licensing, obtaining permits, etc.”
It was further gathered that the committee recommended that ministers be responsible for implementation of plans situated in their respective Ministries.
On his own part, President Buhari commended the committee for completing their assignment in good time. He added that more efforts would be geared towards making life better for citizens.
“This has been a trying time for those in the informal sector, which constitutes a large part of our economy, important family celebrations were held without the presence of loved ones, schools are closed and parents have had to resort to homeschooling in addition to juggling other responsibilities.
“Despite all these, Nigerians have done their best and persevered. I must salute Nigerians for their resilience in adapting to the realities of the COVID-19 effect while also recognising the superhuman effort of our frontline health workers.”