A file photo of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created an opportunity for the Nigerian people and government to have a reset in critical sectors of the economy and social services.
This is according to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who noted that the pandemic has affected the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians in different ways.
He stated this on Thursday at the virtual launch of the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) from his office in Abuja.
On the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the Vice President said the establishment of the Fund would support the creation of a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive political economy and healthcare system.
“This is a creative, forward-looking, and thoughtful response to what is perhaps the most profound global and domestic challenge to health and the economy in human history.
“We need not belabour the point that the COVID-19 challenge is also an unprecedented opportunity for us as a nation and people to reset in critical sectors of the economy and social services,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.
While stressing the point about resetting the nation’s systems, Professor Osinbajo noted that the deep plunge in oil earnings, as well as the disruptions to business and commerce on account of lockdowns, have meant that the nation must develop a comprehensive economic response.
He also revealed the efforts being made by the Federal Government to ensure that Nigeria was properly positioned to deal with the fallouts of the pandemic.
The Vice President said, “There are several initiatives in place now to attempt an effective response to the COVID-19 disaster. In addition, there is a drive to re-engineer and rethink our healthcare delivery systems.
“This by itself is a massive undertaking that will involve the states, local governments, and the private healthcare community.”
“In the past few years, I’m sure those of you familiar with the activities of government probably note there’s been quite a bit of effort around creating a Social Investment Programme.
“The precise purpose of that is not just to provide safety nets for several of the vulnerable and poor in our midst, but more importantly to provide jobs, provide credit to several informal traders, smallholder farmers, several others in our economic value chain who are usually ignored or untouched by several other credit facilities and other economic initiatives of the government,” he added.
Professor Osinbajo stressed that the Fund has the mandate to support the social investment efforts of the government, especially the protection of the vulnerable and provision of assistance to many in the huge informal sector of the economy.
He commended the NSIA, Global Fund, and other partners involved in the creation of the NSSF which was designed to provide additional support for Nigeria’s response to the pandemic.
Other participants at the virtual event included the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NSIA, Mr Jide Zeitlin; the Managing Director of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji; the Chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Babatunde Folawiyo; and the Vice Chairman Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.