The federal government’s COVID-19 stimulus package has reflated the economy with the creation and saving of over 2 million jobs, following the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Although the target of N2.3 trillion estimated to be spent under the plan has not been achieved just as yet, the federal government appropriation part of that total being N500 billion has been completely released by the end of May, making it possible to attain several objectives of the ESP directly supporting a few million Nigerians.
While a total of 2,100,021 jobs have been saved and created all together, the breakdown of the figures indicate that 1.3 million jobs have been retained through interventions in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) space, including the Payroll Support. The 774,000 jobs from the Public Works Programme and 26,021 jobs from construction /rehabilitation projects across the country were among those freshly created.
A press statement issued by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President, said these were some of the highlights that emerged from a virtual meeting of the Economic Sustainability Committee measuring implementation presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) on Monday.
Commenting on the implementation of the ESP, Prof Osinbajo said the 100% release of funds appropriated in the budget for the programme was commendable and urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to expedite action on the release of funding components of the ESP that are dependent on financing from the bank.
According to the VP, “Our budget funds were released in total. I thank the Honorable Minister of Finance for ensuring that it was done promptly, which means, in effect, that as far as the budget goes, we have been able to do what we practically promised to do.
“I know that 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.”
According to a summary by the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Prince Clem Agba, construction/rehabilitation of 3,707 km federal roads across the federation under Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is at 65% completion.
He added that under the COVID-19 intervention programme for the health sector, the establishment of 520 Intensive Care Units (ICU) Beds, 52 Molecular Laboratories and Isolation Centres at Federal Tertiary Hospitals is at 67% completion.