Calls for adoption of structured lockdown
By Gabriel Ewepu
AS Nigerians count two days of the two weeks lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, a Civil Society Organisation, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Wednesday, urged Federal and State Governments to begin post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
The Convener, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said this in a chat with Vanguard while emphasizing on the need for government to move fast with the plan to salvage the economy from total collapse, which will strengthen the purchasing power of Nigerians aftermath of COVID-19.
Atoye said: “The priority of government must first be how to entrench an enduring post-COVID-19 economic recovery system and strengthen the purchasing power of the people. It will take a great deal of time for Nigerians to regain and recover what would be lost under an unfolding COVID-19 economic recession.
“Suspending the tariff hike on power is an inevitable option in the face of mounting global and local economic difficulties that is ravaging Nigeria and the entire world due to COVID-19 challenge.
“The government is hereby encouraged to take a further step in reviewing downward, the current power tariff, as it has done with PMS, in order for the people to cope with the reality of the economic situation in the country. Electricity palliative is a significant approach towards supporting the lower rung of the ladder who are terribly ravaged by the economic impact of COVID-19.
“The economic downturn has eroded the purchasing capacity of Nigerians, especially the common people who lived on daily and sometimes no income. Even, a few middle-class available in the country are severely threatened, while the rich are not exempted from impact and are also terribly afraid of their investments and savings.
“In this wise, the government has no option than to suspend a price mechanism that has since been vigorously opposed by majority of Nigerians as anti-people.
“In addition, we also want to insist that any future plan to implement the new price regime must be put on hold and suspended for the rest of 2020.”
Speaking on the reduction of pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, on Tuesday, from N125 to N123.50k as crude oil sells for $20 per barrel, said the review should be sustained as part of palliatives for Nigerians.
“The latest adjustment of PMS pump price to N123.50k is as a result of the further decline in crude oil price to below $20 in the international market. Four years, government gave a reason for increasing fuel pump price from N87 to N145, it is therefore imperative that the same mechanism should be applied to demonstrate fairness and openness, the government should consider this a PMS Palliative for the common man. Also, the present situation provides a solid opportunity for removing fuel subsidy in Nigeria”, he said.