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President Buhari enlists Pantami, others to develop policy for ‘Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19’



President Muhammadu Buhari
The President and Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast on Monday, April 13, 2020, acknowledged that collaboration is critical to the short and long-term success of all the measures that have been instituted in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The President said that as a result of this pandemic, the world as has changed. “The way we interact with each other, conduct our businesses and trade, travel, educate our children and earn our livelihoods will be different”.

To this end, the President listed the Minister in-charge, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, FMoCDE, among the Ministries to develop policy for what he termed ‘Nigerian Economy functioning with COVID-19’.

In his words, President Buhari said, “To ensure our economy adapts to this new reality, I am directing the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment and Education to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for a “Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19”.

The Ministers will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and Economic Sustainability Committee in executing this mandate.

“I am also directing the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Security Adviser, the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council and the Chairman, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure the impact of this pandemic on our 2020 farming season is minimized”.

Earlier, the Nigerian President while announcing the extension of lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun State by 14 days, said,”…having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight.

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“This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death”.

“No country can afford the full impact of a sustained restriction of movement on its economy. I am fully aware of the great difficulties experienced especially by those who earn a daily wage such as traders, dayworkers, artisans and manual workers.

“For this group, their sustenance depends on their ability to go out. Their livelihoods depend on them mingling with others and about seeking work. But despite these realities we must not change the restrictions.

“In the past two weeks, we announced palliative measures such as food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of our restrictive policies during this difficult time. These palliatives will be sustained.

“I have also directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks. This means we will support an additional one million homes with our social investment programs. A technical committee is working on this and will submit a report to me by the end of this week.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has brought severe human suffering and major economic disruption around the world. Within three months over 1.8 million people have been infected worldwide, with the virus currently affecting 198 countries and having taken the lives of over 90,000 people.

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