Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has suggested measures the country could take to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
Speaking during the 2020 edition of ‘The Platform’ with the them: “Nigeria’s battle against COVID-19”, he said the country could transform the challenges caused by the pandemic into opportunities for economic diversification and job creation by prioritizing the use of local resources in the construction and allied industry.
His words: “We have to prioritize the use of local resources in all public works. In road construction, for instance, it is cheaper to build concrete roads using limestone than spending resources on the importation of bitumen. We have limestone in abundance hence we should be looking in that direction. The road from the Apapa port to the Lagos –Ibadan expressway is being built with cement and is of high quality.
“In the housing sector where we have a huge deficit, we need to focus on using local resources to build houses and in the process we will be creating opportunities for young engineers, architects and builders etc.”
“In the area of agriculture, the Vice President said government’s initial policies had saved the country from the huge forex burden of food imports and related activities.
“We have found ourselves in a situation where we realize that the way to go is to support the creation of the jobs in agriculture and reduce food imports and ultimately address the issue of unemployment and food shortages.
“What we must do as much as we can is to change the narrative about Nigeria and provide more jobs.”
The Vice President expressed optimism that Nigeria would emerge a strong economy after the pandemic. “We will get through this much stronger economically and much stronger as a people because of our resilience,” he enthused.