Vice President Osinbajo in his contribution said the resilience, innovative spirit and sheer strength of the ordinary Nigerian, coupled with the potential opportunities that have presented themselves with the troubles of the times will pull the country through and make it economically stronger at the end of the pandemic.
“We will get through this much stronger economically and much stronger as a people because of our resilience,” he said.
“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.”
On specific efforts by government to address the economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Osinbajo said prioritizing the use of local resources and creating local jobs in the construction and allied industry, amongst other things, would 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.
“In the housing sector where we have a huge deficit, we need to focus on using local resources to build houses and in the process we will be creating opportunities for young engineers, architects and builders etc.
“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.”
Still on mitigating the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic such as inflation, the Vice President said government would focus on improving productivity and improving food stock across the country.
According to Osinbajo, “if you can ramp up food production and the logistics of bringing food to the urban centres, inflation will be controlled to a large extent.”
He added that boosting agricultural production for export purposes and supporting the mining sector will bolster the country’s foreign exchange earnings and reserves.