COVID-19 Offers Opportunity To Reset Nigeria's Critical Sectors-VP Osinbajo
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, says although the Coronavirus pandemic has changed lives and livelihoods of Nigerians in various ways, it offers an opportunity for Nigerian people and government to have a reset in critical sectors of the economy and social services. Prof. Osinbajo stated this from his office in Abuja at a virtual launch of the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund NSSF, an initiative of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority NSIA, the Global Citizen and other partners. The NSSF is designed to give additional support for Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund will allow Nigerian citizens resident at home or in the diaspora as well as international donors to come together and directly contribute to Nigeria’s fight against the pandemic. Speaking about the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the Vice President said the establishment of the Fund would support “the creation of a stronger, more resilient, more inclusive political economy and healthcare system”. “This is a creative, forward-looking and thoughtful response to what is perhaps the most profound global and domestic challenge to health and the economy in human history. “We need not belabour the point that the COVID-19 challenge is also an unprecedented opportunity for us as a nation and people to reset in critical sectors of the economy and social services”, he added. While speaking on re-setting Nigerian systems, Prof. Osinbajo noted that the deep plunge in oil earnings, the disruptions to business and commerce on account of lockdowns, have meant that Nigeria must develop a comprehensive economic response. The Vice President said the Federal Government is making efforts to ensure that Nigeria is properly positioned to deal with the fallouts of the pandemic. “There are several initiatives in place now to attempt an effective response to the COVID-19 disaster. “In addition, there is a drive to re-engineer and rethink our healthcare delivery systems. This by itself is a massive undertaking that will involve the states, local governments and the private healthcare community. “I was excited to hear that Global Citizen already has in mind, a project to build healthcare centres across every local government in Nigeria. “In the past few years, I’m sure those of you familiar with the activities of government probably note there’s been quite a bit of effort around creating a Social Investment Programme. “The precise purpose of that is not just to provide safety nets for several of the vulnerable and poor in our midst, but more importantly to provide jobs, provide credit to several informal traders, smallholder farmers, several others in our economic value chain who are usually ignored or untouched by several other credit facilities and other economic initiatives of the government. The stated that the fund will support the Social Investment efforts of the government, especially the protection of the vulnerable and provision of assistance to many in the huge informal sector of the economy He commended the NSIA, Global Fund and other partners involved in the creation of the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Other participants at the virtual event include the Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NSIA, Mr Jide Zeitlin, the Managing Director NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, the Chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Babatunde Folawiyo and the Vice Chairman Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.