How We Are Converting Covid-19 Pandemic To Opportunity To Reset The Economy – Osinbajo

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In spite of the despair that came with the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant consequences, Nigeria decided to seize the opportunity to reset the economy amidst worldwide economic challenges, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at a Webinar organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, CWEIC, with its focus on Nigeria.
According to the Vice President, “it seemed the sun was beginning to shine quite brightly after the years of recession and its immediate aftermath. Then came COVID-19 possibly the worst economic crisis the world has seen. For us in Nigeria, it was a perfect storm for oil prices, Russia and Saudi Arabia choosing that very moment for a price war. Then the inevitable lockdowns resulting in the closure of businesses, our huge informal economy all but crashed and Government revenues fell too by over 40%.
“But the silver linings were perhaps bolder in the dark clouds.
The President decided that we could seize the opportunity to reset our economy in a way that may have been impossible had there not been a worldwide economic crash.
“I was asked to chair an inter-ministerial team to develop our Economic Sustainability Plan. A plan which we hope will, in the next 12 months or so, avoid a deep and prolonged recession by supporting businesses and households, but perhaps more importantly, addressing long-term structural vulnerabilities
“Taking into account our economic size and fiscal limitations, we have put together a stimulus package of N2.3trillion, which is just over 1.5% of national income. If other factors like the price of oil and length of the COVID-19 pandemic do not worsen further, these interventions should ameliorate the situation with a mild recession expected of minus 0.59%.”
Other speakers at the international webinar include Lord Marland of Odstock, the Chairman of the CWEIC, Sir Lynton Crosby, Chief Executive Officer C|T Group and the Industry, Trade & Investment Minister, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE COMMONWEALTH ENTERPRISE AND INVESTMENT COUNCIL FOCUS ON NIGERIA WEBINAR ON THE 14TH OF JULY, 2020
Protocols
Thank you for that kind introduction. I am pleased to be participating in this special session focused on Nigeria. There is never a good time for a pandemic, but there can be a terribly wrong time.
That’s how it seemed three months ago as COVID – 19 began to ravage. January 2020, oil prices approached $70 a barrel for the first time since the crash of 2015/2016 which saw prices crash to sub $30 a barrel, Q3 2019 growth was 2.55%, modest but clearly on the upward trajectory, 3% growth was well in sight.
Our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan was beginning to make sense. Work was on-going in major rail, road and bridge projects along the main national trade corridors. The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) arrangements on our Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Train 7 which will unlock an additional 30% more LNG output had commenced.
It seemed the sun was beginning to shine quite brightly after the years of recession and its immediate aftermath. Then came COVID-19, possibly the worst economic crisis the world has seen. For us in Nigeria, it was a perfect storm for oil prices, Russia and Saudi Arabia choosing that very moment for a price war. Then the inevitable lockdowns resulting in closure of businesses, our huge informal economy all but crashed and Government revenues fell too by over 40%.
But the silver linings were perhaps bolder in the dark clouds. The President decided that we could seize the opportunity to reset our economy in a way that may have been impossible had there not been a worldwide economic crash.
I was asked to chair an inter-ministerial team to develop our Economic Sustainability Plan. A plan which we hope will in the next 12 months or so, avoid a deep and prolonged recession by supporting businesses and households, but perhaps more importantly, addressing long-term structural vulnerabilities.
Taking into account our economic size and fiscal limitations, we have put together a stimulus package of N2.3trillion, which is just over 1.5% of national income. If other factors like the price of oil and length of the COVID-19 pandemic do not worsen further, these interventions should ameliorate the situation with a mild recession expected of minus 0.59%.
We have taken the opportunity to remove petrol subsidies and to insist that power distribution companies must engage with customers to ensure that new tariffs are based only on improved power supply. We are talking of service reflective tariffs.
The Central Bank of Nigeria is also committing to moving to a unified exchange rate, to improve certainty in trade and investment. In addition to using fiscal and monetary measures to stimulate the economy, our main objectives are to retain and create jobs, to assist vulnerable people, support businesses and undertake infrastructural investments. I am happy to see from the research that jobs, retaining jobs and creating more opportunities tops Nigerians’ priorities when it comes to what they believe the COVID-19 response should be like.
Some key interventions include: Jobs for Food which is an agricultural programme aimed at expanding the acreage under cultivation across the country, to create, we hope, hundreds of thousands of jobs and we also intend to guarantee uptake processors, aggregators and to some extent, by government.
We also have a Jobs through Homes programme which is a programme to provide jobs and increase our national housing stock, at the same time by a massive social housing programme where we intend to engage young professionals and artisans who are involved at the moment, in small businesses, building and using local products such as cement, doors, tiles, windows and paint.
We also have a Solar Homes Systems Programme where we intend to engage private solar power companies who will be able to access cheap loans to provide modular solar-powered units to about 5 million households which will roughly translate to serve 25 million people in rural or under-served areas. At the moment, we have about 40million homes without power. So, we expect that this will be a major dent in that deficit.
The scale required means we will be encouraging suppliers to establish production facilities in the country. We expect to be able to attract solar companies to establish manufacturing and assembly plants in Nigeria.
Supporting small businesses is also a priority and I am sure the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment will talk more about it.
We are also looking at the Future of Jobs programme in technology taking into account the ‘new normalʼ, our creative and significant youth population and the need to prepare our economy to be an outsourcing hub, providing services across the whole gamut of possible technology engagements, including animation, software engineering and data analysis.
These are areas where we have invested considerably already and we intend to do a bit more and we hope that some of the efforts we put into the response will address these areas even more pointedly.
To be sure, improving health outcomes is very much part of the package. To meet the immediate challenge, we have dug deep to find resources to respond to the pandemic. We have more built isolation centres and laboratories, incentivizing medical personnel, buying test kits and personal protective equipment, as well as several other medical types of equipment.
We have increased the number of modular laboratories that can handle COVID-19 samples from 5 at the onset of the pandemic to 39 today.
The crisis has also revealed significantly, the vulnerability of our health sector. So, as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan, we are also looking at the universal health coverage, about improving the work we are doing in universal health insurance with a view to universal health coverage by a combination of public finance and mandatory social insurance.
While we are bullish on promoting local production, we remain committed to engaging with our traditional trading partners. This is in recognition of the potential contribution of trade to growth.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is pertinent in this regard, but so certainly is also trade with our Commonwealth partners, including the United Kingdom. This was indeed evident from Nigeria’s participation in the UK-Africa Investment Forum held earlier this year. It is particularly noteworthy that intra-Commonwealth trade is projected to rise from an estimated $1trillion this year to $2.75trillion by 2030 and we intend to be a major part of this growth.
It is not news of course that the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted international trade with disruption of global value chains, export bans, and protectionist policies. On our part, Nigeria remains committed to the multilateral trade system but we will ensure that our economy is not subjected to unfair trade practices.
Ultimately, we see Nigeria as ‘Africa’s Gateway Economy’. As the continent’s most populous nation and its largest economy, we think that we can leverage our geographical location, which is right in the middle of far-flung Commonwealth countries, we are poised to catalyze intra-Commonwealth trade. Our investments in fast-growing sectors and infrastructure, power, rail, roads and several other areas especially technology where we think we can benefit from other Commonwealth countries.
Once again, I thank the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council for convening this important discussion especially now, when we certainly see a greater need for socio-economic engagements with our Commonwealth partners and we are set and ready to continue these engagements and we look forward to not just what this particular session will bring but to all our future cooperation.
Thank you very much indeed.
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New entrant AECO Energy launches business innovation to deliver ‘last mile of value chain’ to Singapore’s maturing open electricity market

  • AECO Energy announces the launch of its operations in Singapore to provide innovation to the open electricity market for businesses with generation 2.0 of its technology and service offerings.
  • The company will introduce three solutions as part of its initial portfolio, customisable to specific business needs.


SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 13 April 2021 - AECO Energy, a new entrant to Singapore's electricity sector, has today announced the launch of its operations. AECO Energy will be the first-of-its kind energy technology and services company aimed at innovating customer-centric offerings in electricity and renewable energy markets.

With over 12 years of experience in delivering open market electricity services and solutions to businesses in Australia under the Power Choice brand, AECO Energy is bringing its second generation of services and technology to Singapore for the first time. AECO's second generation delivers on two major offerings.

Firstly, AECO delivers the 'last mile' of value in Singapore Open Electricity Market (OEM) value chain by providing innovative services to assist businesses to manage, plan and make better buying decisions.

AECO is all about enabling increased profits for businesses. AECO has a customer-centric mission to use its low-cost proven technology and expert-led services to enable better business decisions within a complex electricity market with multiple providers and opaque medium- to long-term pricing information. This comes against the backdrop of Singapore's maturing OEM, which gives businesses and consumers the autonomy to buy and choose their electricity providers - the freedom to choose.

AECO Energy's technology platform, MarketPro™ with its unique, electricity futures market simulator Rate Watch™, delivers business and electricity efficiency and empowers businesses through relevant and timely pricing information, while also helping Singapore businesses make better buying decisions via automated tenders and reverse auctions. Moreover, for businesses who do not have the capability and capacity to manage and purchase its own electricity, AECO Energy Portfolio™ delivers scalable buying power with a fully-managed contract management and purchasing aggregation service for small, medium and large businesses.

Alan Jones, CEO, Chairman & Founder, AECO Energy, said: "We are incredibly excited and humbled to be joining Singapore's dynamic energy scene with our low-cost, high-value products and services. Our mission is clear: just like Amazon is revolutionising the 'last mile' of product supply chains with its same day delivery, we are also delivering the 'last mile' of the value chain in Singapore's OEM that enables more businesses better purchasing decisions, more business profitability and growing all of Singapore's economy."

Secondly, with SGX-listed entities, enterprises and multinational corporations (MNCs)' increasing emphasis on sustainability, AECO (through its SustainPro™ offering) will bring for the first-time in Singapore the benefit of AECO's direct relationship with generators of International Renewable Certificates (I-REC). This enables Southeast Asian markets the benefit of medium- to long-term low-cost and structured REC solutions to meet renewable energy targets and sustainability goals. This translates to more profits by providing more predictable costs for businesses in meeting their sustainability and renewable energy goals.

"As a specialised company, unburdened with corporate overheads and distractions from Singapore's local market participants, we can offer companies who are based anywhere in Southeast Asia, sustainability and renewable energy solutions that span markets and countries at a lower and more predictable price. We are honoured to play our part to bring sustainability and increased renewable energy throughout the world and to do so while benefiting our customers' cost structures," continued Mr. Jones.

AECO Energy is introducing three offerings as part of its electricity management solutions:

  • MarketPro™: Businesses can optimise costs and seize market opportunities with exclusive access to customised market price information through AECO Energy's integrated online procurement and management platform equipped with Rate Watch™, a market simulation and automated procurement technology from as low as SGD $149 per month.
  • Portfolio™: Businesses get exclusive access to economies of scale with better buying power through professional and expert-managed energy procurement portfolios overseen by AECO Energy experts. This allows enterprises to focus on their core business while AECO Energy experts will fully-manage their electricity contracts and make better buying decisions on their behalf from as low as an additional SGD $74 per month.
  • SustainPro™: SustainPro focuses on helping businesses meet their sustainability goals at the lowest cost. AECO Energy offers lower costs on the procurement of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and tailored REC supply solutions designed to meet transition needs towards a more sustainable business.

"With the understanding that business needs are unique for every organisation, our energy experts will work closely with customers here in Singapore to help them reduce costs, drive efficiency and make better buying decisions. By providing technology-enabled, insights-driven energy technology solutions, we want to create a profound impact on our customers' businesses to better position them for sustainable growth in the long-term," concluded Alan.


About AECO Energy:

Based in Singapore, the AECO Pacific Group owns and operates the Power Choice and AECO Energy brands. A leading pioneer for more than 12 years in electricity brokerage and consulting services in Asia Pacific focusing on deregulated electricity markets, AECO Pacific helps businesses with electricity procurement and management backed by market intelligence. Transforming and saving businesses more, AECO's combined experience in energy leadership and innovative technology solutions remain unmatched in dynamic and changing energy markets. For more information, visit https://powerchoice.com.au/ and https://aecoenergy.sg/.

How We Are Converting Covid-19 Pandemic To Opportunity To Reset The Economy - Osinbajo - Brand Spur
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