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World Bank, Nigerian Govs collaborate to mitigate COVID-19 effects

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says that it is working with World Bank to mitigate the economic and social effect of the global coronavirus pandemic on Nigerians.

NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi said one of the ways is through the disbursement of new financing for States under the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results. 

Fayemi said in a communiqué at the end of the meeting on Sunday that the mitigation is to ensure the recovery of local economic activity within 18 months to two years.

He said the governors commended Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but want to be involved in the distribution of the palliatives.

CACOVID had pledged to support the States to increase their capacity to mitigate the spread of the virus and care for confirmed cases through the construction of isolation centres and the distribution of personal protective equipment to States. 

But the Ekiti State governor said the governors underscored the need for CACOVID to work directly with the states in the distribution of palliatives.

He also called on Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to involve the Governors in the distribution of food and essential materials to households to help them cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods.

“Members also emphasized the necessity for stronger collaboration with states because they are best positioned to administer palliatives to mitigate the impact of the crisis, including the distribution of food and essential materials to households to help them cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods,” he said.

The Governors expressed support to the Federal Government’s implementation of the petrol price modulation mechanism to eliminate petrol subsidy permanently in the country.

They further welcomed the unification of exchange rates into “a single, market-determined window and the use of the market-determined exchange rate to calculate all revenues due to the federation.”

The Governors also supported the collaboration between the MTN  and the NGF secretariat to profile States vulnerability to “the spread of the coronavirus based on parameters such as population age and density, travel history, location, income level, etc. 

“Governors approved the vulnerability model and resolved to use the model to drive a data-driven approach to stopping the spread of the virus in the country.”

The Governors had in their last meeting last week, called for the rescheduling of debts States owe the Federal Government and the CBN.

The Governors reiterated their position at their last meeting, for the cancellation of all deductions and restructuring all commercial debt service payments on Federal Government and CBN-owned debts.

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