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COVID-19: Experts commend FG on proactive measures to stabilise

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Some financial experts, on Wednesday, commended the Federal Government for being proactive in stabilising the nation’s economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The experts, Mr Tunji Adepeju and Mrs Lolade Adesola, said the government’s move to borrow $6.9 billion from international lenders was a noble idea and one needed at this critical time.

Adepeju particularly said that the only option available for government was to borrow, as oil revenue had dwindled drastically due to the effect of the global pandemic.

He noted that other revenue ventures had also been on lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

“People are at home and everybody is expecting government to give them money to spend; so the money has to come from somewhere.

“Borrowing from the Word Bank and other international lenders is the way to go, and this is not peculiar to Nigeria, as virtually all the countries of the world are doing this,” Adepeju said.

He, however, stated that immediately after the lockdown, the economy would require intervention so that money could be in circulation.

On the Sovereign Trust Fund, Adepeju stated that it should be shared among all the states of the federation, including the FCT.

“There are ways for withdrawing from the account, the limit and what the funds can be put into; everything is not going to be withdrawn.

“I am sure the managers of the economy must have weighed all the options, because quite a number of companies will go into recession after COVID-19 must have been over.

“Each nation will have to devise strategies to get out of the problem that may arise thereafter,” Adepeju said.

Similarly, Adesola, while also commending the Federal Government for providing succour to Nigerians, however, expressed concern about the IMF, whose loan, she said, usually came with ‘very bad conditionalities’.

She, however, admitted that African Development Bank and the World Bank were known to give good conditions with their loans.

According toher, the game changer will, however, be for the money to be used for what it was intended, which was social intervention programmes and health.

“For me, such money should not be for the building of new hospitals but to equip the existing ones with the latest equipment, good generating sets and supply of potable water, among others.

“If the government is able to do this, then it will be money well- spent and it will be able to bring revenue back. But if not, then it will be an issue of concern,” the financial expert said.

According to Adesola, Nigeria has never had issues with policies but implementation. But, I am glad that we have saved that money for a time like this.

“The main thing for us, however, is to diversify our economy so that everything will not centre around crude oil.

NAN recalls that the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, had said on Monday that the Federal Government was seeking to borrow $6.9 billion from international lenders to address the impact of Coronavirus on the economy.

She listed the international lenders to include the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and Islamic Development Bank.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq