Members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) met on Wednesday to discuss issues affecting the country, including the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Nigerians and the economy.
At the meeting which held virtually and was presided by the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, the governors resolved to approve the work of the NGF Sub-Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, to consolidate measures to gradually open the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the chairman of the committee, had briefed the Forum on steps taken to provide a coordinated strategy between the Federal and state governments to ease the lockdown and open the economy.
His counterpart in Kaduna State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, also provided an update on the implementation of the final report of the NEC Ad-Hoc Committee on COVID-19 “Containing the Outbreak and Responding to the Adverse Economic Effects,” which was presented to the Vice President and Chairman of the Committee, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in March.
Governor El-Rufai, who is the Chairman of the NGF Sub-Committee on COVID-19, informed his colleagues that the recommendations of the report have been integrated into the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
He also outlined the cross-cutting imperatives for a post-COVID economic recovery, including a unique identity system for Nigeria, broadband connectivity, and investment in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical generics.
Others are research and development, as well as institutional reforms for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) along the lines of PENCOM.
In their resolution, the governors endorsed the work of the sub-committee and resolved to engage with the Vice President to facilitate states’ representation in the implementation committee of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan.
They also called for the revitalisation of the Nigeria’s Mortgage Bank to support the government’s housing programme, as well as the importance of the N2 trillion Nigeria Infrastructure Investment Fund to stimulate the economy.
Concerned about the rate of the community spread of COVID-19 cases with mild or no symptoms, the NGF urged the state governments to ramp up testing to curb the spread of the virus.