By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Presidency yesterday said Nigeria has created and saved over two million jobs through the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, which began in June last year.
The ESP, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, designed the N2.3 trillion ESP as the country’s response to the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While inaugurating the committee in March 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari charged members, among other things, to develop a clear economic sustainability plan in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; provide fiscal and monetary stimulus package, including support to private businesses; and propose a clear-cut strategy to keep existing jobs and create opportunities for new ones.
Briefing journalists after the ESP meeting, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said over two million jobs were created around micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs.
Akande said the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, gave a report on the implementation of the plan at the meeting, detailing the outcome of the plan and the release of funds for it.
He said: “The committee was also briefed that over two million jobs have been both saved and created since the implementation of the ESP.
“This is especially around MSMEs with the Survival Fund; the Payroll Support, construction and a lot of rehabilitation that has been going on, including the 774,000 jobs created around public works in each of the 774 local government areas in the country.”
According to Akande, the Finance Minister also informed the committee that there has been considerable progress in the release of funds, with about 57 per cent of the N500billion allocated to the plan in the amended 2020 Appropriation Act released so far.
He said this “is why there has been considerable progress in the work of the committee.”
Akande said the vice president and members of the committee were committed to doing more to meet the president’s target of ensuring that the fallouts of the pandemic did not badly affect Nigerians and that the economy got the recovery it deserved.