FINANCE MINISTER TO UNVEIL CORONAVIRUS FISCAL STIMULUS ON MONDAY

Ifeanyi Onuba

The Federal Government will on Monday unveil the fiscal stimulus measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the drop in crude oil price.

The measures will be unveiled by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

A statement on Saturday by the Media Adviser to the Finance Minister, Yunusa Abdullahi, confirmed the development.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had in March set up a Special Ministerial Task Force to seek ways and advice on the general economic outlook, stimulus plans and packages to save the Nigerian economy.

The task force is headed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed.

Other members of the team are the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba; Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefele, and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari.

The coronavirus pandemic and the international oil price fall had led to an urgent call by many countries to find ways to keep their different economies from recession.

The coronavirus pandemic had led to unprecedented disruptions to global supply chains, sharp drop in global crude oil prices, turmoil in global stocks and financial markets, lockdown of large movements of persons in many countries, among others

These outcomes have had severe consequences on households’ livelihoods and business activities, resulting from drop in global demand, declined consumer confidence and slowdown in production.

The finance minister had last week said that prior to the outbreak which had led to decline in crude oil prices the Nigerian economy was already fragile, vulnerable and deteriorating.

She said the global economic downturn had forced international oil prices to drop to as low as $22 per barrel.

The minister said international travels and trade had been severely disrupted, while demand for goods and services is deteriorating as a result of the social distancing policies.

The development, she said, had led to financial markets uncertainty which had resulted in capital flows reversals from emerging and frontier markets such as Nigeria.

She had said the government was working on a fiscal stimulus package to cushion the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable individuals and communities.

This, she said, would be financed by concessional borrowings as well as fiscal policy reforms to rationalise tax expenditures.

On the fiscal stimulus package, she gave some of the key proposals to include re-introducing job-creation tax rebates for employers; accelerating construction of over 700km of roads and bridges under the road infrastructure tax credit scheme; and promoting consumer-spending.

Copyright PUNCH.