COVID-19: Economic Council sets up committee to work with PTF

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

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The National Economic Council, NEC, has set up a seven-man committee to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The committee was set up at Thursday’s virtual meeting of the NEC presided over by Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The virtual NEC meeting had governors of Nigeria’s 36 states participating from their states, while the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, joined the vice president at the Presidential Villa for the meeting.

Governor of Jigawa State, Badaru Abubakar, who briefed the media from his state after the meeting, said the Committee to be led by Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, also includes the Governors of Lagos, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Plateau, and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

According to Badaru, the vice president said at the meeting that the Committee would “ensure that there would be an even more effective collaboration and coordination between the Federal Government’s Presidential Task Force and the States of the Federation including the FCT.”

The NEC also resolved to cooperate with the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) set up by the President and chaired by the Vice President in the development of a national Economic Sustainability Plan.

He said such a plan was expected to introduce a substantial stimulus package running into a couple trillion Naira, ensure that Nigeria as a country gets through the COVID-19 economic challenges and chart a path of growth and development for the Nigerian economy by ensuring massive productivity in several sectors including agriculture, power, infrastructure, technology and several others.

To this end, the NEC resolved to hold a meeting next week with the Economic Sustainability Committee.

The Council would be represented at the meeting by its earlier constituted Special COVID-19 Committee.

Polio eradication

Badaru said the National Economic Council received an update on Polio Eradication and Support to Community Transmission of COVID-19 from the NPHCDA, presented by the Minister of Health.

“The update indicated that Nigeria is edging towards Polio eradication and is on course to be certified as Wild- Polio free by the WHO African Region next month, June 2020.

“It also reported that no Wide Polio Virus, WPV, cases were reported in Nigeria for 44 months.”

He said that state governors were urged to facilitate the establishment of structures to co-ordinate efforts to stop community transmission of COVID-19.

Electricity distribution

According to the Jigawa State governor, the NEC ad-hoc committee to review the status of the ownership structure of the Electricity Power Distribution Companies (Discos) by Governor of Kaduna State presented a report at the NEC meeting.

“The report has been delivered, adopted and now being implemented especially through the composition by the President of a Power Sector Reform Working Group headed by the Vice President,” Badaru stated.

 

Zainab Sa’id