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We Have A Shortfall of ₦125bn, Nigeria Is Going Into Recession – Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed Cries Out

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said on Thursday, May 21, the World Bank had proposed the disbursement of $1.5 billion to states as part of the economic stimulus to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Ahmed made this disclosure after the virtual National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja; stating the World Bank maintains that the impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria would lead to severe amplified human and economic cost capable of moving the country into a recession.

She said: “The World Bank planned a proposed package for immediate fiscal relief for the Federal Government.

“This will also involve policy-based policy budget support for the federal government; focusing on measures to maintain macro-financial stability and create fiscal space for the proposed stimulus.

“The World Bank package has also got a proposal of $1.5billion for the states and this package will be dedicated to the states. It will be a programme for results which the states are already used to implementing.’’

The minister said the immediate fiscal relief for the states would include the acceleration of an existing programme to enable disbursement by the end of September.

She added that by the end of September, the $1.5 billion would have been disbursed to the states.

“We are looking at an average of between N150billion to N200billion 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,” she stated.

Ahmed also told journalists that the ministry made a presentation to the Council on the structures that the federal government would put in place to tackle the challenges of COVID-19.

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