Federal Government will go a long way in preventing the country from
plunging into deep economic recession.
Prince Agba stated this at a virtual roundtable discussion, among state
and non-state actors, international organizations and donor agencies,
facilitated by Nigeria’s secretariat of Open Government Partnership
The minister, who is a co-chair of OGP, led the discussion, which
focused on ensuring an effective and inclusive stimulus as well as
safety nets campaign for Nigeria as part of the response to the COVID-19
The Minister said that the roundtable discussion was aimed at improving
transparency and accountability as the country responded to COVID-19,
especially with the Economy Sustainability Plan (ESP), adding that it
would rebuild citizens’ support for and trust in government.
“The issues that we have is the disconnect between government and the
governed; and, because of this disconnect, there is some kind of lack of
trust, no matter how good the intentions government programmes are,” he
According to the minister, “Mr President has signed up to the Open
Government Partnership (OGP) just to ensure transparency and
accountability and that we are able to engage our citizens as well as
build trust in all that we do.”
He further stated that the meeting was to discuss the existing
transparency mechanisms of government’s COVID-19 response and recovery
plan and to further brainstorm on ways of improving existing mechanisms
The minister said that it was imperative to use the OGP to drive public
participation and ownership of some of the programmes put in place by
the government in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Agba expressed concern over the core crises facing the country, which he
outlined as health, humanitarian, security as well as economic crises.
He said that measures of preventing a deep economic recession could not,
in the context of the current realities, be overemphasized.
According to him, “we have had about 12 consecutive quarters of growth
since the recession we had in 2016, which led to the Economic Recovery
and Growth Plan (ERGP) being put in place.”
He stated that there were indications that Nigeria might be heading into
a deep economic recession because growth was about 1.4 per cent as
against 2.5 per cent growth that the country had in the last quarter of
2019, “hence the introduction of programmes and economic activities that
would engender growth as well as help prevent the country from plunging
into a deep recession.”
Earlier, the co-chair and CEO of OGP, Mr Sanjay Pradhan said the meeting
was important, stressing it that helped to give information about the
provision of massive stimulus package for the vulnerable groups and the
MSMEs as well the commitment to create employment as well as protect
jobs for the citizens of Nigeria.
Mr Sanjay said that jointly, stakeholders would achieve clarity in
terms of road maps, roles and responsibility by collectively monitoring
the money and ensuring it reaches to the beneficiaries.
He said there was a huge benefit to the Nigerian citizens who were made
vulnerable by COVID-19 pandemic as “Nigeria is a member of the steering
committee of OGP.”