The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the novel Coronavirus, which had led to a huge drop in crude oil prices worldwide, would put a severe strain on the Federal Government’s budget.
She said with the attendant effects of the spread of the virus, the time had come for the country to begin to live a life without oil.
Ahmed said these at a consultative roundtable with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.
The finance minister, who described the current economic challenges as a shock to the government, however, said this is not the time for Nigerians to panic.
She said, “The sudden and unexpected drop in crude prices to just over $30 comes as a shock and great surprise.
“These strong headwinds would reinforce the wake-up call to life without oil. But that should not spread panic and speculation in our economy.
“We need to put our hands together to weather the storm. We need to work together to take the opportunities provided by this very harsh reality.
“We are working as a government to strengthen our macroeconomic fundamentals. Today, we are far stronger and more robust than in 2014-2016.
“There is no doubt that the combination of crude oil price crash and coronavirus will put a severe strain on our budget, revenue, forex, and many sectors.”