The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan has hailed the performance of the economy despite contracting by six percent in the second quarter. Lawan stated this at the end at the end of the Council of State meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmaker said top among the topics discussed at the meeting is the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and what the government is doing to keep the economy going. He said he is impressed with what has been achieved in the area of ensuring that the economy stays afloat, despite the negative growth.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had earlier reported that the Nigerian economy shrank by 6.1 percent in the second quarter due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. The contraction is the largest decline in the last 10 years.
“The decline was largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity during the quarter, which resulted from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic,” the NBS said.
In his remarks, Lawan said Nigeria is not in a difficult situation, when compared to other countries. “Yes we still have a long way to go, we know where we would have loved to be, but when you are faced with COVID-19, you know that this is a global pandemic and no country has been spared and when you compare your performance in the area of economy with other giants, more robust economies like the USA and Germany, you’ll be happy that you have experienced only -6 downturn in your economy when others have 19, others have even more, those are economies that are stronger, that have put in more resources to address the COVID-19 challenges.
“We have tried to put in what we can, but I think the secret here is we have been able to sustain what we are doing even with lesser resources although the six percent contraction, as reported by the NBS, is a downwards turn in our GDP. Ordinarily we shouldn’t be happy with it, but in the current circumstance where every country is experiencing this kind of thing, South Africa, the second largest economy in Africa, is experiencing worse.”
While he commended the performance of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, he admonished the government to work on a post-COVID-19 economy.
“We should continue to invest to ensure that we protect the employment of our people so that our people don’t fall into joblessness. We should provide palliatives as much as we can for those who are so disadvantaged and require the support of the federal government,” he said.