Nigeria governors call for debt restructuring to ease Covid-19 strain
Share this article:
Johannesburg - The Nigerian Governors' Forum (NGF) has called for urgent fiscal measures to safeguard the liquidity of state governments by restructuring debt service payments, among other measures, as the country grapples with the impact of Covid-19.
The appeal comes after briefing from the minister of finance, budget and national planning Zainab Ahmed.
In a statement, the forum said it had also been briefed by the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq on stimulus incentives from the federal government to help vulnerable households across states cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods in coming months.
"Governors committed to leading the effort through state focal persons in charge of social protection to ensure that palliatives including food and cash transfers reach the most vulnerable population in all states," the NGF said.
Members of the forum also discussed the legality or otherwise of lockdowns in states around the country and resolved to maintain the status quo until the chairman and governor of Ekiti state discussed the issue with the presidential committee on Covid-19.
"Members also resolved to leverage on the lockdown situations to send essential food items across borders as part of the palliatives so that perishables produced in one state get to states that need them unhindered," the governors said.
Finance minister Ahmed said President Muhammadu Buhari had been briefed on current developments around the world related to Covid-19 and the impact on Nigeria's economy, and had since disclosed measures that would be put into place in mitigation.
“He has directed that we should make sure that salaries are paid, make sure that critical infrastructures like roads, rails are protected, and as much as possible use local inputs so that we retain value within our economy," Ahmed said via Twitter.
"The consequences of the lockdown are the additional slowing down of the economy and we are to consider the measures that we need to take to mitigate the negative consequences of the slow trade and businesses,” she added.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control confirmed ten new cases of Covid-19 virus, taking the total to 184, two people have died and 20 recovered.