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COVID-19 will produce over 39 million jobless Nigerians, widespread poverty – VP Osinbajo

The Federal Government on Thursday painted a gloomy picture of post-COVID-19 Nigeria warning that over 39.4 million Nigerians may lose their jobs by the end of 2020, if the government “fails to take prompt preemptive measures.”

Vice President (VP) Yemi Osinbajo sounded the alarm on Thursday as he presented the post COVID-19 Economic Sustainability Plan to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Plan was embarked upon to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on country’s economy and prevent misery from spreading among the citizens.

 The VP warned that with a severe downturn in Nigeria’s oil earnings, the country would still have a shortfall of about N185 billion every month.

He explained that the mandatory lockdowns and social distancing measure rules imposed by the government due to the Coronavirus pandemic have had a severe negative impact on the economy, crippling farming and factories, as well as  trade, the transport industry and tourism.

Said he, “Several projections, including those done by the NBS on behalf of the Economic Sustainability Committee, showed: a severe downturn in our oil earnings, as a result of which, even with oil price at 30 dollars a barrel, we would still have a shortfall of about N185 billion every month, in the amount available for allocation to the three tiers of Government,” the VP said.

“Unemployment may rise to 33.6% or about 39.4 million people by the end of 2020, if we fail to take prompt preemptive measures.

“Millions more will fall into extreme poverty, before the pandemic ends”, predicting that GDP may fall to between minus 4.40% and minus 8.91%, which, according to him, is depending on the length of the lockdown period and strength of the country’s economic response.

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