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Nigeria: Oil Price Crash ‘Shocking’ – Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says the crash in oil price on Monday was a shock to the country.

Mrs Ahmed spoke at a consultative roundtable meeting organised by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

The roundtable has as its theme “Going for Growth 2.0”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that oil price crashed to $33.15 per barrel, a decline of nearly 20 per cent due to the impact of COVID-19 known as coronavirus.

She explained that the oil price crash was a sudden shock to the country because it never expected it.

The minister said that the development was a wakeup call, adding that Nigeria as a country must look beyond oil and the best time was now.

“We should not panic, we shouldn’t allow speculation, there is need to put our hands together with all major stakeholders to wither this storm.

“We must take opportunities this impact of coronavirus has provided for us. We are working to strengthen micro-economy and we are also making moves to provide fiscal incentives for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow.

“The president has formed a team to review the impact of this crash in oil price on the budget.

“We are also working seriously to raise revenue from non-oil sector and in spite of the dwindling revenue, increased funding to critical sectors is important.

“The government is as well making effort to enhance the Ease of Doing Business and will soon inaugurate E-Customs project to help facilitate trade,” she said.

Mrs Ahmed said plans were ongoing by the Federal Government to set up a national saving committee to design a national saving policy.

The finance minister said she was looking forward to the outcome of the meeting as the input would form the advice that would be given to the president in finding solutions for the country to come out stronger economically.