Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has revealed that the Federal Government has saved over one million jobs through the Economic Sustainability Plan; while preventing the closure of over 150,000 small businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Vice President, social protection schemes can break the cycle of poverty; give real access to jobs, economic opportunities, and improve human capacity.
Osinbajo said this on Tuesday, September 28, in Abuja; while speaking virtually during a United Nations High-Level Forum on Jobs and Social Protection.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Why social protection schemes are crucial, by Osinbajo at UN high-level forum on jobs’.
According to him, Nigeria’s response to the fallouts of COVID-19 was guided by the conviction that “social protection schemes are crucial; and can break the cycle of poverty, give real access to jobs and economic opportunities; and improve human capacity and productivity.”
He added that the Economic Sustainability Plan which was the government’s response is aimed at restoring growth by mitigating the macro-economic shocks, tackling the health challenge, averting business closures, protecting and creating jobs, protecting the poor and vulnerable while repositioning the economy for future resilience.
“The ESP also had a Survival Fund which gave payroll support to small businesses in manufacturing and services as well as to artisans and transporters. As a result of our interventions; we have been able to provide finance and off-take opportunities for millions of farmers.
“We have also been able to save up to one million jobs; and prevented the close-down of at least 150,000 small businesses. We are also able to extend support to vulnerable groups by deepening our existing social intervention programmes; and the development of a Rapid Response Register for cash transfers to the urban poor.”
He noted that poor financial resources remain a constraint to achieving set objectives; saying “the importance of the recently approved increase of $650 billion in SDR allocations for improving global liquidity.”