COVID-19: APC urges Zamfara residents to embrace safety measuresBy Henry Umoru

THE thirty – six State Governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF have been forced to suspend, indefinitely its planned meeting following the growing trend of the ravaging Coronavirus, COVID- 19 that is at the moment, ravaging the world and its economy.

The meeting which was slated for tomorrow, would have enabled the governors further discuss economic issues as they affect the Country and the states of the Federation.

They would have also brainstormed on how the effect of the crash in the price of crude oil as a result of coronavirus could be addressed.

The State Executive Officers  would have also at the meeting taken  decisions on how they would run their budgets, especially with regards to payment of salaries, considering the crash in oil prices, which will lead to lower revenues or allocations from the Federal Government.

Announcing  the cancellation of the meeting yesterday in a text message  in Abuja, NGF Head of Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo simply wrote, “meeting for Wednesday postponed indefinitely.”

Recall that the NGF had last week set up a Committee to comprehensively review the trend of the ravaging Coronavirus on the economy as well as advice State governments on the set of actions required to address challenges in economy.

The  governors has after an extensive discussion of the impact of the COVID-l 9 pandemic and falling oil prices in the Nigerian economy and the revenues of States governments, decided to set up the seven- member sub-  Committee.

The Committee which is chaired by governor Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna State, has governors of Edo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Ogun and Nasarawa States as members.

The Committee  is saddled with the responsibility of engaging the Executive arm of government on measures to be taken to insulate the Nigerian economy against the impact of the sudden crash of crude oil price globally.

The Committee is also to revisit  the crude oil benchmark price of $53 per barrel used to prepare the 2020 budget. The Committee will engage the Executive and outside the government especially those in the finance sector as well as those controlling the economy, with a view to preparing for any eventuality.

The meeting would have been a follow-up to last Wednesday’s one where a Committee headed by Governor Nasir El- Rufai of Kaduna State was set, just as the Committee would have briefed the NGF on far it has gone and the way forward.

The Federal Government had  cut the 2020 budget following a sharp drop in oil price to $28 per barrel from the $57 budget benchmark, as coronavirus continues to impact the global oil price, fuelling concerns that the days ahead will be tough.

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