Nigeria Has Low Fiscal Buffers – Finance Minister
Nigeria now has considerably lower fiscal buffers now than in previous economic downturns, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has said.
The minister said this in Abuja on Monday at a press briefing on efforts to raise money to finance the budget.
She said the decline in international oil prices and domestic production might be magnified with the severe outbreak of COVID-19, notwithstanding ongoing efforts to curtail the spread of the pandemic through the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the FCT.
She expressed optimism that the President’s approval for the establishment of a N500bn COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund would help to upgrade healthcare and finance the Federal Government’s interventions to support states in improving healthcare facilities.
She said the finance ministry was engaging the key ministries, the public works programme as well as the intervention programmes to meet the requirements of food security and help the poor and the vulnerable in our society.
The committee chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, would be engaging specific sectors, she said.
She said, “We will be meeting with aviation industry; we will be meeting with large food producers to design programmes within this time that meet their own requirements.”
Ahmed said the President had approved drawings from strategic reserves, adding that the Nigeria Customs Service had in its custody a lot of rice that had been seized.
The minister said about 150 trucks of rice were being handed over to the humanitarian ministry for distribution to the states across the federation.