Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday, May 3; said he was optimistic that Nigeria and Nigerians as a people will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger.
Osinbajo made this prediction at the 2020 edition of ‘The Platform’ themed “Nigeria’s battle against COVID-19”.
The VP said: “We will get through this much stronger economically and much stronger as a people because of our resilience. There are a lot of challenges but they offer significant opportunities for us to turn things around.
“I am very confident that Nigerians, with our resilience, our strength, and our innovation; we will go through this in great shape.”
The Vice President also explained the efforts of the Federal Government towards mitigating the economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Osinbajo spoke on how the country could transform the challenges caused by the pandemic into opportunities for economic diversification and job creation.
He explained that prioritising the use of local resources and creating local jobs in the construction and allied industry, amongst other things, will be critical in sustaining the economy in the post-COVID-19 era.
He said: “We have to prioritize the use of local resources in all public works. In road construction, for instance, it is cheaper to build concrete roads using limestone than spending resources on the importation of bitumen.
“We have limestone in abundance hence we should be looking in that direction. The road from the Apapa port to the Lagos –Ibadan expressway is being built with cement and is of high quality.”
The Vice President also noted that the nation have been saved from huge forex burden of food imports and related activities due to government’s initial policies.
“We think that by ramping up agriculture, especially smallholder agriculture and improving the value chain, especially in storage and processing facilities, more jobs will be created for many young people.
“We have found ourselves in a situation where we realize that the way to go is to support the creation of the jobs in agriculture and reduce food imports and ultimately address the issue of unemployment and food shortages.
“What we must do as much as we can is to change the narrative about Nigeria and provide more jobs”, he said.
The Vice President also explained that government will focus on improving productivity and improving food stock across the country as a way of further mitigating the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic such as inflation.