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Coronavirus: EAC meets with Buhari, warns of recession

Coronavirus: EAC meets with Buhari, warns of recession
March 18
08:39 2020
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The presidential economic advisory council says Nigeria would have to work hard to keep its head above the waters of economic troubles arising as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

During a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa on Tuesday, the council which is led by Doyin Salami said many countries across the world may go into economic recession.

Members of the council listed various scenarios of what could happen to the Nigerian economy if the Covid-19 pandemic lasted for too long.

These include; slower growth, as the supply and demand sides of the global economy would be affected, uncertainty, which would erode confidence, governments acting unilaterally instead of cooperatively, further drop in oil prices, and lockdowns gaining grounds around the world.

“There would also be oil glut, trade imbalance, drop in foreign reserves and rise in unemployment,” they said.

In response, Buhari said Nigeria has foreseen the economic problems that may come in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and will explore all alternatives to protect her people.

“We will see how to survive fallen prices, as we already envisaged the problem,” the president said referring to crude oil price which is now $30 per barrel as against the budget benchmark of $57.

He promised that inputs in agriculture, education and healthcare would continue as much as practicable.

The economic council recommended a possible revision of the 2020 budget, with priority spending on healthcare, reprioritization of expenditure on infrastructure to focus on projects nearing completion with pro-poor effects, curtailing recurrent expenditure, mobilizing the private sector to strengthen health sector infrastructure, and boosting of government revenue.

The EAC stressed that the projections may seem dire, but the worst may be avoided with hard work and scrupulous implementation of policies.

Nigeria’s last recession occurred in 2016 when crude oil prices fell as low as $25.

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