Deji Elumoye in Abuja
Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, has hinted of the readiness of the federal government to review the 2020 budget using the $30 per barrel price benchmark as against $57 per barrel benchmark used for the passage of the budget by the National Assembly last December.
Ahmed, who disclosed this at a meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on Wednesday, said the review was aimed at preparing the nation for the worst case scenario, as well as insulate Nigerian economy against any form of unexpected crisis.
She explained that “prior to COVID-19 and oil price decline, the Nigerian economy was already fragile and vulnerable.”
According to her, due to the a global economic downturn precipitated by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, international oil prices plunged as low as $22 (USD) per barrel in the international market.
She added that the impact of the pandemic which resulted in international crisis created a disruption in travel and trade, and put “increasing pressure on the naira and foreign reserves as the crude oil sales receipts decline and the country’s micro-economic outlook worsens.”
Ahmed said that in view of Nigeria’s economic realities, the Crisis Management Committee constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in response to the COVID-19 and Oil Price Decline Crisis expressed concern that “the decline in international oil prices or domestic production may be magnified if a severe outbreak of the pandemic occurs in Nigeria.”