COVID-19: You're in good hands — Buhari assures Nigerians

He said Nigerians should not worry about tomorrow, that everything will be alright.

Friday, May 15, 2020

/ by National Pivot

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, gave Nigerians his words of assurance that fears over life after covid-19 should not be entertained so long he remains in charge of the country.

There has been concerns that life after covid-19 would be tough considering the global economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic, and directionless policies by the Buhari administration.

Fareed Zakaria, an author and journalist at CNN, had predicted 'chaos' for countries whose economy is heavily dependent on oil.

Speaking in a publication by The Washington Post on April 5th, 2020, Fareed said, "Even as we are just beginning to confront the magnitude of the shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic we need to wrap our minds around a painful truth. We are in the early stages of what is going to become a series of cascading crises, reverberating throughout the world.

"The shock of Covid-19 is being felt in countries like China, Italy, Spain, and the US, but next will come “explosions in the developing world,” where testing has been scarce, as are resources to cope with an economic crash.

"Oil-producing states could see chaos: with oil prices crashing even before Covid-19 hit, countries like Libya, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela could see economic catastrophes resulting in “political turmoil, refugees, even revolutions, on a scale we have not seen for decades.

"The world entered this crisis with mountains of public debt and with global cooperation at a nadir. The problem we face is broad and global but unfortunately the responses are increasingly narrow and parochial”.

Of greater concern is how poorly the Buhari administration had managed the covid-19 situation in country by failing to provide palliatives for its millions of poor citizens it confined to their homes since March.

But despite all these, President Muhammadu Buhari is confident that everything will be alright and Nigerians need not live in fear.

The President made the statement through his spokesman, Femi Adesina, in response to the anxiety over the future, particularly in respect of the economy, healthcare, job security, and general wellbeing, Buhari said he had taken and would still take more steps to cushion the impact that the disease would have wrought on the citizens.

According to the statement: “There is global anxiety on what the future holds for humanity post-COVID-19, particularly in respect of the economy, healthcare, job security, and general wellbeing.

“Naturally, Nigerians are not immune from the disquietude, as they belong to the global community.

“Below is a checklist of some measures that President Muhammadu Buhari has taken, and will further take, to make life abundant for Nigerians. This should assuage some apprehensions:

  • An economic team, headed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning has been set up to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
  • Economic Sustainability Committee headed by the Vice President to define a post-COVID-19 economy for Nigeria.
  • Task force set up on free movement of farm produce headed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • Plans afoot to tackle weak health systems and infrastructure through establishment of standard laboratories, intensive care units, and isolation centres in all states of the Federation. The health infrastructure will eventually be recalibrated for the good of the people, and in readiness for future emergencies.
  • As long term measure, emphasis will be placed on integrating local content in proven researches in cure, and production of materials in the heath sector.
  • A Fiscal Sustainability Plan to complement the suite of monetary and banking interventions recently announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
  • A mass agricultural programme to be put in place.
  • Major rural road construction programme.
  • Mass housing programme.
  • Large scale installation of residential solar systems, utilizing mainly local materials.
  • Expansion of the Social Investment Programme.
  • The 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Budget 2020 assumptions and targets have already been revised.
  • Time-sensitive expenditures are to be prioritized over less critical spending.
  • Extant financial controls are to be strengthened to detect, eliminate and sanction instances of waste, funds misappropriation and corruption.

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