By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government is committed to improving healthcare infrastructure, economy, creating jobs among others despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic globally.
He said that the government would not relent in creating more jobs for millions of Nigerians in different sectors, supporting small businesses, local production and manufacturing, as well as extending the social safety net.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolou Akande, in a statement in Abuja said the vice president participated as a guest panelist in the Emmanuel Chapel’s “Economic Sustainability Beyond COVID-19” webinar on Friday.
According to Osinbajo, improving healthcare infrastructure remains a major objective of the administration.
He said that with the introduction of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund – one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund – the kind of provision made for healthcare had increased significantly, especially in the period of a global pandemic.
“Out of the N500 billion initial stimulus fund that is factored into the current budget, N126billion of it is going into healthcare.
“We have all noted how states have risen up to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and how resuscitated healthcare facilities, new isolation centres, new Intensive Care Units(ICUs) are coming up.
“The number of testing centres has also increased. We are hopeful that we’ll be able to sustain that momentum.”
The vice president said that one of the ways the administration was supporting small businesses was by reducing Company Income Tax.
On power, Osinbajo said that one of the proposals of the Economic Sustainability Plan was the adoption of renewable energy, especially solar, and working with the private sector to install mini grids and solar home systems across the country.
He said that as part of Federal government’s plan to tackle unemployment, one of the proposals by the Economic Sustainability Committee, was to build 300,000 homes across the country within 12-months’ time frame.
Osinbajo added that small and medium scale local businesses and young professionals within the construction industry would benefit immensely from the policy.
“This is also an opportunity for us to develop the local industry, especially the construction industry.
“That is exactly the plan in developing the housing programme, because we thought it would generate the jobs that are required now, aside from the fact that we have a housing deficit.
“The second point is that we intend to use local materials, locally produced, as much as is possible in construction.
“ It is also a fantastic opportunity for the private sector to bring in equipment and set up factories that could be used to manufacture some of these things.
“It would be a massive game changer if we are able to deliver it in the way that we planned,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had on June 11, received the Osinbajo-led Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) report entitled “Bouncing Back: The Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan.”