Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said that his first contact with recession was in 1989, but pointed out that the country survived it.
Fashola was speaking at the special Town Hall Meeting in Abuja, organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
He called on youths not to despair and assured that “there is light at the end of the tunnel”.
Fashola said: “Between 1979 and 1983 when I was in school, Nigeria had a lot of money in reserve. There was nothing we couldn’t buy, but by 1984 the money was gone.
“We spent the money on all sorts of things, including drinks. There was no kind of drinks that you would not find in the country then. That was the time we started importing rice, other food items and exotic drinks.
“However, 1989 was my first contact with recession. That was when it became very difficult to buy sugar and milk and all kinds of imported drinks suddenly disappeared.”
The former Governor of Lagos State, also pointed out that the recession in 1985 was so bad, that there were no more cafeterias in schools.
“We used to eat a meal at the cafeteria at 50 kobo, including chicken, egg, bread and tea.
“To feed as a student then was N45 a month for three good meals daily. In 1985 when that disappeared, Nigeria did not disappear”, he said.
Fashola also spoke about how some of his friends left the country, while he stayed back because of his belief in Nigeria.
“I believed so much in the future of this country; I remained, worked hard, though I never knew I would sit here as a minister.
“So I want to say to you the youth: don’t lose faith, don’t despair, there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel”, he added.
He added that the 2017 Budget, tagged ‘Budget of Recovery and Growth’, is meant to address recession.
“Only the president cannot recover and grow the economy; everybody must understand that we are at the time when we must work our hardest,” Fashola said.