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COVID-19: Osinbajo says FG addressing disruptions in nation’s economy, cash transfer palliatives

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) said on Wednesday that the Federal Government was looking beyond cash transfers as “incentive’’ for staying at home following disruptions in the country’s economy as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Also, the government was addressing increasing problems of poverty and lay-offs a result of the lockdown.

 

Osinbajo spoke at a virtual conference entitled, “How Africa’s Informal Sector Reacts to COVID-19”, organized by Africa.com.

Besides the Vice-President, others who spoke at the webinar were President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics, Yale University; and Amandla Ooko-Ombaka, Senior Engagement Manager, McKinsey & Co.

Mr  Hakeem Bello-Osagie, a Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, and Teresa Clarke, CEO of Africa.com, moderated the discussions with participation by several thousands who signed in across the world.

Osinbajo said: “We have done a lot on conditional transfers especially within the context of our social investment policies, but we are now looking at how to possibly enlarge the scope of that and do more.

“We are looking beyond using cash transfers as if it were some incentive for staying at home. We are trying to see whether this can address some of the increasing problems of poverty that we are likely to find now given the disruptions in the economy.

“Aside from the lockdown, just the disruptions in the economy have meant that the daily paid worker simply has no means of working and many laid off.”

On the management of the Coronavirus pandemic,

Osinbajo said although Nigeria’s massive population constitute a challenge in the fight, the advantage of being able to manage the issues in smaller measure through the states and develop best practices had enabled authorities to reassess responses across sub-nationals and adjust where necessary.

 

The vice-president said providing support to small businesses in the informal sector remained the priority of the government with a view to mitigating the effects of the pandemic on the economy.

 

“Perhaps we have the advantage of being able to manage our problems in smaller measure, or by dividing them, of course we run a federation, which means that Gov. Nasir could do some very excellent work there in Kaduna, Lagos could do some excellent work, Ogun state and others could also do some excellent work.

“But of course, by the very nature of this pandemic, it also means that you run the risk of everything going south if some state isn’t doing as well as it ought to.

“I think in the end, we have that advantage that we are able to almost isolate responses, and even look at best practices across the various states and try and ramp up wherever we find that there are deficiencies,’’ he said in a statement given to Persecondnews by Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity,
Office of the Vice-President.

 

Also speaking, Gov. el-Rufai highlighted the efforts of the Kaduna State government in containing the spread of the disease as well as mitigating the effects of some of the measures adopted by government.

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