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Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria still unclear —UN

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Effect of Covid-19 Pandemic on Nigeria, still unclear — UN…As FG launches One Covid-19 Basket Fund

By Omeiza Ajayi

The United Nations, UN, has expressed concerns about the effect and true magnitude of the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, saying it was yet unclear.

According to the global body, the quality of response to the disease must match the scale of the crisis.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, who stated this during the launch of  Nigeria/UN COVID-19 Basket Fund in Abuja, said:  “This is a trying moment for all of us as our shared humanity is under threat of COVID-19 pandemic.

‘’Societies around the globe are in turmoil and economies are in a nose-dive. It is still unclear what the true magnitude of the spread and impact of the virus will look like in Nigeria. The available emerging evidence is, however, clear. The only effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic is testing, isolation and contact-tracing.

“From preliminary macro and micro social economic analysis, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to place immense pressure on Nigeria’s healthcare system and will result in a serious economic and fiscal pressure with a risk of a negative social impact, if proactive measures are not taken to prevent, prepare, respond and cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.

“The International Monetary Fund has reassessed the global prospect for growth for 2020 and 2021, declaring that we have entered a recession – as bad as or worse than in 2009.

‘’We must respond decisively, innovatively and together to suppress the spread of the virus and address the socio-economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing in our world today.

“The magnitude of the response must match the scale of the crisis — large-scale, coordinated and comprehensive, with country and international responses being guided by the World Health Organization, WHO.   And it must be multilateral, with countries showing solidarity to the most vulnerable communities and nations.

“The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy. Everything we do during and after this crisis must be with a strong focus on building resilience, ensuring equal access to social services though systems strengthening, in particular health systems strengthening, and investments in building more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change, and the many other global challenges we face.’’

READ ALSO: Porous borders, cause of rise in COVID-19 cases — FG

Launching the “One COVID-19 Basket Fund for Nigeria,” Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, described it as a monumental joint initiative that signalled the togetherness that humanity desired at all times.

According to him, the “basket fund” will serve as the only “Financing and Investment Platform” through which different multisectoral stakeholders can channel their financial contributions to the multisectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response.

He said the Nigeria/UN COVID-19 Basket Fund will also enhance coordination, technical and financial support to the Presidential Task Force to prevent, prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SGF said:  “On March 23, 2020, the national COVID-19 leadership of Nigeria met with the UN leadership and key bilateral donors to discuss the unfolding emergency. Both parties agreed to adopt the ‘Four Ones’ guiding principles of engagement for national authorities and partners to respond to the pandemic:

“One agreed National COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Pandemic Response Plan; One COVID-19 National Coordinating Authority with a broad-based multi-sector mandate; One COVID-19 M&E System for tracking and reporting progress; and One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform.

“I am happy to state that the COVID-19 Basket Fund has been designed to serve as the One COVID-19 Financing and Investment Platform, through which the different stakeholders (including UN, other multilateral and bilateral donors, as well as private sector donors, foundations and philanthropists) can channel their financial contributions to the multisectoral efforts of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Response.”

Vanguard

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