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  • COVID-19: Fayemi Asks FG To Help Out States Financially
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic takes toll on the nation’s economy, the Nigerian Governors Forum has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari for interventions.

    The governors said their states were going through tough times, appealing to the president to take certain decisive decisions to ameliorate the sufferings of the citizenry.

     The chairman of the forum and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, made the appeal on Tuesday during his first teleconference meeting with Buhari. Fayemi, according to a statement by the spokesman of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, appealed to Buhari to grant the states debt relief in lieu of the drop in the federal allocation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “I know your penchant for caring for the poor and the downtrodden in the country, Mr President, and I am telling you that allocations from FAAC have dropped significantly so if you turn your magnanimity towards governors and their States into looking at other debts that continue to linger in the system and prioritise their payments, poor people will be the happier,” he said. He assured that if the federal government’s debts to the states were defrayed, the poor and vulnerable in the country would be better taken care of.
    He thanked Buhari for the approval of the release of $150mto augment the projected FAAC shortfall in June, but added that more needed to be done to keep the states properly afloat.

    Fayemi alluded to the revenues from the Liquefied Natural Gas which, he said, could help in assuaging some issues related to revenue shortfalls. He reiterated the NGF’s call for the suspension of all deductions by the federal government so that states could address the COVID-19 challenge from a position of economic strength. He also stressed the need to streamline all multi-lateral and bilateral interventions and funding so that states could also be integrated and considered because of the difficulties they were going through. He said all the 36 states’ governments were currently reviewing their budgets downwards to conform to the prevailing realities.

    He urged the president to encourage evolution of a national strategic plan that would encompass the sub-national level so that the country would find a fast and easy way out of the woods. He acknowledged that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 was doing a great job because the challenges that the coronavirus had thrown at them was huge, adding on a lighter mood that “Hunger-vid is equally as lethal”.

    According to him, because the situation puts governors at the receiving end of the hardships, all governors would be happier if their requests are met.

    Fayemi also told Buhari that if the distribution of palliatives was not reviewed, Nigerians, especially those in the informal sector, would take to the street in violation of the stay-at-home order. He expressed concern that informal sector workers had neither been captured in the World Bank-assisted scheme, the National Social Register and nor included in the conditional cash transfer. He said those people’s plight needed to be quickly addressed “before our situation crumbles into the “Ecuadorian Alternative“ where the poor and vulnerable people of Ecuador flocked into the streets in violation of the stay-at-home order in their country.”

    He said palliatives would be more meaningful if they were distributed through the state governors. Fayemi also told the president that though the targeted testing strategy adopted by the country has done a lot, there was need for more testing. Responding, Buhari asked Fayemi to formalise all the requests of the governors and forward them to him so that he would promptly address them.

    Source:- Daily Trust

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