President Muhammadu Buhari has attributed the country’s slide into recession to the severity of the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Buhari said the decline in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came after 12 successive quarters of positive growth.
The Nigerian leader stated this in Abuja, the nation’s capital where he declared open the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit with the theme: “Building Partnerships for Resilience”.
Buhari who was represented by the country’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo noted that the downturn caused by the pandemic included lockdowns, disruption in global supply chains, business failures, and rising unemployment.
“We can all recall that during the lockdown, farming did not take place, businesses were closed; schools were closed as were hotels and restaurants. Also, airlines stopped flying, while inter-state commerce was disrupted.
“The economy only began to recover when these activities resumed and if we are able to sustain the nearly three percentage point increase from the second-quarter decline of minus 6.1 percent, the performance in the fourth quarter could take us into positive territory,” he said.
The president observed that the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) was introduced to mitigate such impact with all the programmes in the ESP reliant on the private sector playing a key role in creating and conserving jobs and the production and delivery of services in agriculture, housing, solar power, and digital technologies.
He added that the speedy pathway out of the current recession was to quicken the implementation of the ESP.
“An improvement in global economic conditions, including the restoration of global supply chains and resumption of exports and remittances, should enable a V-shaped recovery.
“We expect, in the same spirit of partnership, that the private sector will complement these efforts by making maximum use of the provisions of the ESP and the Finance Bill when it is passed by the National Assembly and also by retaining and creating jobs so as to keep people at work.
“In a similar spirit of partnership, private sector enterprises should also pay their due taxes,” he noted.