COVID-19 lockdown: Tinubu advises FG to pay relief funds to households through BVN
- The APC national leader, Tinubu, has advised President Buhari on how two take care of Nigerians and sustain the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic
- Tinubu advised the president to pay stipends or relief funds to Nigerian households using BVNs
- The former Lagos state governor also urged the CBN to reduce the interest rates just as he urged the government to push for debt relief
As the coronavirus lockdown bites harder on Nigerians, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari on how to sustain the economy and save citizens from hunger.
The Sun reports that Tinubu advocated an economic relief package in the form of emergency sustenance payments to vulnerable Nigerians.
The APC leader also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to lower interest rates to single digits in order to assist the private sector and help reduce the charge on deficit spending.
Legit.ng gathers that Tinubu stated this in his Economic Policy paper entitled Coronavirus Economic Stimulus Programme.
The former Lagos state governor said the goal of the government must be for the people to live neither with the disease nor in hunger.
“This situation presents a historic chance to establish a more beneficial social contract between government and the governed,” he noted.
He also advised the Buhari-led administration to push for diplomatic debt relief.
He said: “With the fiscal latitude provided by lifting the budgetary limit, government can render emergency sustenance relief to most Nigerian households, especially the recently unemployed, via cash payments. This will blunt hunger, maintain aggregate demand in the domestic economy and help sustain private-sector markets to the extent possible. Directed towards needy and modest households, such expenditure must be heavily weighted to local produce, not to imports. This will help mute inflation.
“Such payments can be done in either one or in a combination of three ways. First, we can designate a stipend for every household. The amount should be enough to pay for the monthly needs of an “average” household for food and other basics. While this may somewhat penalise larger families, perfection cannot be had at this time.
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"Second, the stipends could be given as a form of emergency unemployment insurance to those who can prove they were relieved of employment due to the crisis. This would be more targeted at the actual victims of the crisis but harder to administer. This stipend would also have to be extended to owners of small and medium-sized businesses.
“Third, we could render some form of payroll support to companies and businesses that seek to retain workers albeit they may not be fully employed. The stipend could help companies stay in operation while maintaining workers on their payroll. By maintaining workers, the company can more swiftly return to full operation when normalcy returns. Payment of these stipends will require hiring additional government workers to augment the existing bureaucracies to implement this program."
Tinubu stated that the palliative payments can be made quickly by using the BVNs of prospective recipients to make direct deposits into individual bank accounts.
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He noted that this will also encourage those without bank accounts to establish such accounts.
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In a related development, Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria's former vice-president and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election, has advised African leaders on how to save the continent's economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the recommendations given by the experienced politician is that Nigerian and other African leaders must be united in the face of the pandemic and seek debt relief.
Atiku also advised President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders to start preparing for how to tackle another economic recession which may happen soon due to COVID-19.
The PDP chieftain said it is time Africa looked inward for solutions, adding that the western leaders are already preoccupied with their own problems.
Atiku also advised President Buhari to engage Saudi Arabia and Russia diplomatically to settle the crisis between the two which is affecting the price of oil.
The former vice president also advised Buhari to be more committed to recovering the funds looted by the former military leader, Sani Abacha.
Lastly, he advised Buhari and other African leaders to review their budgets to reflect current realities.
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