W/Bank Predicts Nigeria’s Descent Into Recession
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has said that the World Bank country director in Nigeria who was invited to the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, held in the State House yesterday told the council about the bank’s assessment of Nigeria’s economy. She added that the pandemic would imminently plunge the country into a recession.
She said the Bretton Wood institution’s representative told the council that it had proposed to offer Nigeria some relief package, including a $1.5 billion fiscal support to states to be disbursed at the end of September.
Ahmed said with the development, the 36 states of the federation would get between N150 billion to N200 billion.
According to her, “We also had discussions with the World Bank. The World Bank Country Director was invited into the meeting and he spoke to the meeting in respect of their assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and also their review of the measures that the government has taken.
“This package also includes the increase in the social register by one million households to 3.5 million for cash transfer programmes and palliatives and other social safety net programmes.
“The World Bank maintains that the impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria will lead to severe amplified human and economic cost, which will move the country into a recession. The World Bank planned a proposed package for immediate fiscal relief for the federal government.
“This will also involve policy-based budget support for the federal government, focusing on measures to maintain macro-financial stability and create fiscal space for proposed stimulus. The World Bank package has also got a proposal of $1.5 billion for the states and this package will be dedicated to the states. And it will be a programme for results which the states are already used to implementing.
“So, the immediate fiscal relief for the states, as stated in the presentation, will include the acceleration of an existing programme to enable disbursement by the end of September. So, the proposed $1.5 billion plan, by end of September, will have been disbursed to the states.
“We are looking at an average of between N150 billion to N200 billion based on the plan to the 36 states. These are states that have already made some particular commitments and achievements so that they will be able to get immediate disbursements of parts of these funds.”
Ahmed, who noted that cases of COVID-19 infection have continued to rise in the country unabated said with over 7,000 cases already recorded by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the situation could grow worse to 300,000 incidences by August.
She also gave the balances in the federation accounts as at May 21, 2020 as $72.04 million in the Excess Crude Account (ECA), N39.337 billion in Stabilisation Account and N125.19 billion in the Natural Resource Development Fund Account.