Journalism of Courage

Straitened economy: Many Nigerian families can’t feed — Delta Governor Okowa

According to the governor, the strangulating effect of the economy on many citizens had made it almost impossible to impose taxes adequately on the people.

Delta State governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday rued the country’s state of the economy with the resultant effects of many families being unable to feed.

Noting that the COVID-19, 2020 actually destroyed a lot of businesses, the governor said generating revenue internally through taxes had been difficult.

“We are doing quite a lot trying to get my people into the tax bracket. Then we are also very mindful of the fact that if you look into the general populace, the economy is such that a lot of people are being strangulated.

“To that extent, you are careful so that you don’t overtax the entire populace and therefore further dig down on the economy and cause a situation where many families are not able to feed.

“All the same, we try to bring a lot into the tax net, we are trying to be very responsible in our approach to that because of the COVID-19, 2020 actually destroyed a lot of businesses,” Okowa told State House correspondents on after a meeting with the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

According to the governor, the strangulating effect of the economy on many citizens had made it almost impossible to impose taxes adequately on the people.

Okowa said as part of efforts to boost the state’s economy measures were already in place to increase the number of youth entrepreneurs and bring more people into the tax bracket.

“We are also doing a lot of things to try to support some of those businesses; we are also growing a lot of youth entrepreneurs in the state through various programmes; so those ones can come in into tax bracket.

“We hope that in that in the midst of the two, we still stay very much afloat; so, we hope that there will be a little growth in our IGR, but not as much we expected because of the impact of the COVID-19”, Persecondnews quotes Okowa as saying.

On COVID-19 vaccination, the governor called for increased enlightenment to enable more Nigerians to take the jab.

Okowa explained:”AstraZeneca vaccine and other products are safe and effective against the virus… there should be collaboration between the federal and state governments as well as the communities and other stakeholders in the fight against the spread of the virus in the country.

“Yeah, it worked well, you realize that out of 4 million about 3.9 million doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine were distributed. We got just about 95,000 doses as a state and that has been fully utilized both in the first and the second dose.

“Actually, in the country they have done well, but there is no doubt that as we entered into the second doses. As a result of the anti-vaccine campaign, the kind of messages they pass out a lot of people started having some level of hesitancy, but of all of the doses we have in state were taken up and across the nation.

“As of the last meeting we had last week Thursday, I chaired the NEC sub-committee interfacing with the Presidential Steering Committee. We didn’t really lose anything and as of that Thursday one will say few days for it expire, we had only nine vials so that means we are not going to lose anything.

“But we have to up the campaign as we are expecting many more vaccines at the end of July, first week of August which is going to run into a few more millions. So we just have to keep the campaign going.

“I want to reassure Nigerians that the AstraZeneca vaccine and all other vaccines, have been proven very safe. The adverse effect following vaccination actually has been very minimal, there is been no reported death following vaccination and we have all taken our first and second doses and we are well.”

“There is need for a lot of collaboration among the governors across the nation and there is need for the federal government to also work closely with the governors.

“All the governors have also realized that they need to work with the communities, the vigilante groups that come in various names and I believe that it is going to help each and everyone of us out”, the Delta governor said.

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