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Coronavirus: Details of Buhari meeting with Economic Council emerges

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The Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) led by Professor Doyin Salami, has demanded review of the 2020 budget over the coronavirus outbreak.

It made the call at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja.

At the meeting, Buhari said Nigeria had foreseen the economic problems that may come in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and will explore all alternatives to protect citizens.

Buhari said many variables, including production cost and political impact, determine oil prices, “and we will see how to survive fallen prices, as we already envisaged the problem.”

The President explained that protecting the people from vagaries of international economic fortunes, and associated fallen prices of oil, is a priority of government, “and we will do our best to do so.”

On education and healthcare, the Nigerian leader stated that if people were adequately educated, “they won’t accept any form of mismanagement by leadership, nor would they allow themselves to be manipulated by those promoting ethnic and religious sentiments.”

Prof Salami had earlier given scenarios of what could happen to the Nigerian economy, if the coronavirus pandemic lasted for too long.

He said theses lower growth, as the supply and demand sides of global economy would be affected, uncertainty, which would erode confidence, governments acting unilaterally instead of cooperatively, further drop in oil prices, and lockdowns gaining grounds around the world.

The team recommended revision of the 2020 Budget, with priority spending on healthcare, reprioritization of expenditure on infrastructure to focus on projects nearing completion with pro-poor effects, curtailing recurrent expenditure, mobilizing the private sector to strengthen health sector infrastructure, and boosting of government revenue.

A third case of the disease was announced in Lagos on Tuesday.

Coronavirus, which originated from China, has claimed 6,000 lives across the globe and affected about 150 countries, including 27 in Africa.

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