…..calls for social transfer to the poor as lockdown continues
The Vice President of IndustriAll Global Union, Comrade Issa Aremu mni, has commended the Kaduna State Governor, Malla Nasir El-Rufai, for the honest and audacious disclosure of his health status on coronavirus.
Comrade Aremu said the openness of Kaduna state health status depicts his good leadership quality and sincerity of purpose in piloting the affairs of the people of Kaduna state.
Comrade Aremu disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday ( March 29, 2020) and made available to newsmen in Nigeria, adding that Mallam El-Rufai and others, who made their health status known, have validated the authenticity of the spread of Covid 19 to Nigeria.
“By this singular act, Governor Nasir and other statesmen, who were opened about their status, had offered necessary leadership to convince those still in an unhelpful denial.
“I commend the statesmanship of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State for his weekend status full disclosure as a Coronavirus case in Nigeria. His honest and audacious disclosure was timely in removing ignorance among some citizens. It was a wake up call for all Nigerians that this rampaging virus scourge is real.
“The Governor Nasir El-Rufai had rightly submitted to COVID-19 test and in line with the protocol managing the COVID-19, self-isolates as requested by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)- for cases showing no symptoms” the statement added.
Comrade Aremu, who titled his address “COVID-19: ARISE OH COMPATRIOTS”, also called on Nigerians to use this trying period to organize themselves and not agonise by ensuring that they heed the advice by the Governors and public health authorities in general to observe preventive measures, “stay home and stay alive”.
He urged the Federal Government to as mater of urgency revive the tripartite National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) made up of workers, employers and government with proactive coordinated and strategic interventions to minimize the impact of the Virus.
He called on Organized labour, civil societies and organized businesses to complement the efforts of governments to tame the spread of the virus in the country.
Aremu who is a frontline labour leader in the country also appealed to Employers to invest on the protection of essential health workers on prevention awareness and control of the disease.
He appealed to all labour market institutions such as negotiating councils to be more reactivated in both public and private sectors for innovative, problem-solving agreements so as to ensure that workers don’t suffer loss of lives and earnings, wages and pensions during the ongoing lock down.
Comrade Aremu also lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Gidwin Emefiele for initiating proactive 6-points new measures to ameliorate the impact of the disease on the country economy.
He mentioned Cutting of rates from 9 to 5 percent per annum for one year effective March 1, 2020, Grantting extension of moratorium on all CBN intervention facilities effective March 1, 2020 and N50bn targeted credit facility through NIRSAL Microfinance Bank for households and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hard hit by Covid-19 as some of the laudable interventions of the CBN.
Aremu equally commended President Muhammadu Buhari for promptly approving a 10 billion Naira grant (about $27 million) to fight the spread of coronavirus, and already released to Lagos State, which is still counting the highest number of coronavirus cases.
The former Governorship Candidate on the platform of Labour Party during the 2019 general election in Kwara state also called on fiscal authorities to complement the monetary policies of the CBN for Nigeria to cope with the challenges of diversification and the impact of COVID-19 Nigerian Economy.
“2020 budget proposed as much as N2.45 trillion (almost a quarter of the budget!) into Debt servicing. With coronavirus crisis, these allocations to debts of dubious value are unsustainable. It is unacceptable that N2.45 trillion into Debt servicing is more than N2.14 trillion of capital expenditure!. It is time to review downward N125 billion statutory allocation scandalously allocated to the National Assembly of some 500 senators and legislators.
“Indeed the budget per capital of the National Assembly at N266,524,520.30per legislator dwarfs the national budget per capital of about N57,388.88. In fact, the total allocation, to the National Assembly almost equals the total sums of N44.5 billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and N111.79 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) expected to impact on millions of citizens. Nigeria needs pandemic- sensitive budget! ” Aremu affirmed.
He called for the need to complement the lockdown with direct and targeted social transfer to the poor in formal and informal sectors whose per day incomes are engendered.
“With the spirited national efforts, this singular pandemic will come to pass, but the poverty and underdevelopment challenges would persist.
“Corona Virus crisis is another costly opportunity to reinvent an economy like China’s white remarkable resilience that has tamed the Virus and restoring growth and development. Meanwhile we remain under lock and key against an invisible virus, ask about the plight of your neighbors and send relief materials for those in need” Comrade Aremu added.