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Covid-19 in Nigeria

FG extends inter-state travel ban, curfew for another two weeks

Valentine Chinyem

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The Secretary-General of the Federation and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha has said the economy can not be reopened at once, as the country is not yet ready for that.

Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Monday at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja.

He said, easing the lockdown would be gradual, so as not to put the populace in danger. He said the tough decision is for everyone’s benefit.

He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority. Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace.

“Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.

“The two weeks extension of Phase one of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.

“For the PTF, we share your pains but our future is in the hands of every Nigerian and future decisions will depend greatly on our compliance.

“Based on the recommendations of the PTF, Mr. President has approved the following: The measures, exemptions, advisories and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 00 midnight today (18th May, 2020 to 1st June, 2020);

“Intensifying efforts to “tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases; elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions;

“Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks; Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions; and

“Aggressive scale up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high risk states”, he said.

He added that, exemptions made in the first phase of the eased lockdown would remain in force, especially as regards farmers who need to resume for the new planting season.

“In recognition of the global impact of COVID-19 on economies and the need to stimulate and positively turn around our economy, the Federal Government has been implementing various stimulus packages offered to businesses and state governments through the CBN. These include: reduction of interest rates from nine per cent to five per cent for all CBN intervention facilities.

“Restructuring of loans to longer tenors for all companies whose businesses are adversely impacted by COVID-19; N50 billion facilities to household and businesses adversely impacted by COVID-19 through NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank;

“N100 billion facility to pharmaceutical and health sectors companies to retool their businesses; N1 trillion facility to agric and manufacturing companies to expand and set up new factories; and suspension of repayment of all state government loans for one year to give states ample financing room to pay salaries”, he said.