BusinessDay-05-Apr-2020.pdf - We have to build an economy...

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Unformatted text preview: We have to build an economy with strong buffers – Amadi S am Amadi, a former chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and currently lecturer with the Baze University, has said that the world economy would receive a major hit as commercial and industrial activities shrink. Unemployment, according to him, is already a problem but will get worse as busi- nesses struggle to survive. He believes that the lesson for Nigeria from the global challenge this time around is to realise that “we have to build an economy that has buffers and only an innovative economy can withstand the degree of risks and vulnerability expected of a globalised economy that is unbalanced”. Amadi See page 15 COVID-19: Don’t be partisan in distribution of relief materials - Abiodun RAZAQ AYINLA & JEREMIAH OLOWOKERE, Abeokuta A s total lockdown declared by President Muhammadu Buhari started in Ogun State Friday night due to waivers granted the state for effective preparation, Governor Dapo Abiodun has warned all party men within the All Progressives Congress (APC) family to steer clear of partisanship in the distribution of relief materials meant for all residents of the state. Governor Abiodun explained that situation at hand in Nigeria affects all Nigerians, irrespective of party or ethnic affiliations as coronavirus is no respecter of anybody no matter how lowly- or highly-placed, therefore, nobody should play politics with the relief materials and stimulus packages either provided by Federal Government or any State Government of the Federation. Speaking at the inauguration of Committee saddled with the responsibility to distribute relief materials for people of Yewa South in Ogun West Senatorial District, Governor Abiodun noted that the stimulus package distribution would reach See page 7 Two weeks of sacrifice won’t kill us – Dauda Birma 20 BDSUNDAY BUSINESS DAY Sunday 05 April, 2020 @businessDayNG @Businessdayng Vol 1, No. 307 N300 How we are surviving the lockdown – Nigerians See page 2 It’s been harrowing without food, electricity ‘Transparency in doubt in palliative distribution’ Review of capital market activities in first quarter of 2020 35 Clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons end prematurely - UEFA 39 Security agents enforcing the Federal Government’s directive on lockdown and social distancing on motorists and residents in parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. picture by TUNDE ADENIYI. 2 BDSUNDAY @businessDayNG @Businessdayng Sunday 05 April, 2020 Cover How we are surviving the lockdown – Nigerians CHUKA UROKO, OBINNA EMELIKE and AMAKA ANAGOR-EWUZIE A s well-intentioned and important as the Federal Government’s stay-at-home order is, many Nigerians insist that government should have gone a step further to help the people by providing palliatives across board, especially for those who earn their income on daily basis. In the absence of the palliatives, a large number of citizens are already groaning under the excruciating pain of forced “holiday”. Brown Okafor is a middle-aged man with an eight-member family living in Ejigbo, a Lagos suburb. Until 2018, he was a staff of a beverage producing company in Ikeja, Lagos where he served as an office assistant—a job he lost when the company decided to downsize its operation. Okafor has since then trained as an iron fitter, moving from one construction site to another to eke out a living and to fend for his family. He is a daily-pay worker whose income depends largely on his going out to search for work at construction sites. For him, the stay-at-home order handed down to the residents of Lagos, which restricts all forms of movements amounts to mercykilling because the only way he and his family can survive is by going out to work, get money and buy their needs. But now, he cannot move about. “It is good that government wants to save us from the deadly disease, but I think that for people like me, what will kill us fast is hunger. As I am talking to you now, I don’t know from where our next meal will come. My house is empty and hunger is just by the door; I have decided to come out to the street because my children won’t let me be,” Okafor lamented. Reminded that the stay-athome order was for his own good and that of his children, an angry Okafor agreed, but asked why nothing was coming from the government to help the poor. In Lagos, compliance level was quite high on the first day which was Tuesday. But ever since then, compliance has been waning. Quite a good number of the residents are becoming restive and impatient, citing hunger and discomfort in their homes due to lack of electricity and other social amenities to keep them indoors. Ordinarily, Lagos is a very difficult and challenging environment where many of the residents are daily income earners. For people in this group, hunger has taken a disquieting position in their families, forcing them out to the streets in search of whatever they can lay hands on for survival. “I don’t really know how long we have to be in this cage; government has directed that we should stay at home but has not made any provision for us; no food in the house; no money in the pocket to buy anything and there is no light that can even make you stay indoors,” Gbenga Osunyomi, a vehicle licensing agent, complained to BDSUNDAY. Osunyomi, who has not been having it easy on account of the slowdown in the economy, said he had expected the government to give out money to people to cushion the effect of the coronavirus. “Even if they cannot give us cash, why not give out foodstuff as it is done in other places?” he queried. Driving through the streets of Lagos one discovers that many residents are really uncomfortable with the presidential directive. So many people are out on the street, discussing in clusters and making a huge joke of the precautionary measures put in place, especially social distancing. Apparently, a lot of the people do not understand the meaning and essence of the stay-at-home order by the government, creating the impression that they are doing government a favour by staying in their houses and avoiding contact with people on the street who may be infected. “Coronavirus is not just a health problem; it is also an economic crisis which is why the government is trying hard to ensure that it does not spread to a point where it will not be controllable. By asking people to stay indoors, government is trying to make it easy to contain the virus and also to save the economy from total collapse,” Jude Oloyide, a health worker at a Lagos hospital explained. Oloyide observed that many people were yet to come to terms with what is on ground, advising that government has to step up enlightenment campaign, “because many will die for lack of knowledge.” For Harry Ikechukwu, a young graduate who had been unem- ployed for the past three years, the past six days have been the longest six days of his life. Ikechukwu has just secured a job with an accounting firm in Lagos. He has worked for only 23 days and the lockdown happened. “As I am now, I do not know the next step to take. My company says we should stay at home till further notice, yet we have not received our March salary which, of course, is my first. How am I sure that the job will still be there for me after this crisis?” Ikechukwu, who is putting up with an uncle in a Lagos suburb, wondered. On his part, Obiora Eze, who lives in Surulere area in Lagos mainland, complained that power supply has further dropped in the past few days such that in some cases, one can stay the whole day at home without a flash of the electricity. “In such cases, I run generator for at least 12 hours a day in order to cool the refrigerator, watch television and to put on the fan because this is the dry season when the weather is usually very hot and unbearable to stay home without fans,” Eze said. Life has not been easy for Mama Ayo, a mother of four, who hawks sachet water to fend for a family left behind by her late husband since three years ago. Mama Ayo or ‘Oni Pure Water’, as she is fondly called, is among many hawkers who queue to collect bags of sachet water and bottled ones from a major dealer who freezes them at Jakande Estate Junction in Isolo, Lagos. In this business, the hawkers only need bowels to put the water; they collect, sell, bring back the capital to the supplier, take the little profit and continue in that order as much as their strength can carry them. It is with this little profit that Mama Ayo takes care of her fam- ily. It is also from daily hustling that the roadside mechanic, rewire, vulcanizer, loaders at motor parks, informal sales agents at Idumota market, touts at passport offices and visa centres earn their livelihood. Mama Ayo is in a dilemma now as she needs daily hustling to keep up with her family and so also many others who are looking for daily bread. Even though she moves out, she does not see people to sell the water to because of the lockdown. She couldn’t stock food because of lack of money and cannot get money now because there is no savings in the bank. “Oga, it is when you get money that you save in the bank. I make N3, 000 everyday from selling sachet water; it is from there I settle government touts, eat once, and buy food for my family. So, how much is left to save?” she asked. Towing her line, Afis Kaka, a mechanic, lamented that hunger is likely going to kill more people than coronavirus if the lockdown persists because people are hungry and government has not been supportive. “All my customers are not picking my calls again because they think I want to beg for financial assistance. Two of them warned me to buy enough food and drugs for my family; keep some money in my pocket and prepare for one month without any job. I did not listen because I thought coronavirus is big man disease. It is for everyone now and my family is not finding it easy”, Kaka confessed. But Muniru Adekumbi, a motor electrician, who managed to stock up his food supplies, said it is now he is at home that he has discovered the volume of food his family consumes daily. “I was banking on doubling the items at home, but I was deceived by my daily food item purchase approach. The supplies are almost drained and I will need money to stock up now. I should have listened to my wife to buy in bulk when I made some money last month”, the electrician lamented. Like Adekumbi rightly observed, most breadwinners, especially fathers hardly have time for their families, as long as they bring money for food. While most fathers leave very early and return very late, they hardly know how the family is doing apart from what the children or wives tell them. Some are still giving their wives same upkeep amount they started three years ago despite high cost of food items in the market today. So, the lockdown is now opening their eyes to the reality of the high rate of inflation in the country. “Our wives are trying. With my stay-at-home, I have noticed that my wife makes up any amount I give her for upkeep”, Adekumbi said. But some people also see themselves as part of the masses too, who are affected by the lockdown. Ada Enuwah, a banker, said that salaries at some levels in the banking profession are poor and that such staff depend on the goodwill of some generous customers. With the lockdown, she said life has not been easy for some bank staff, especially those who have many mouths to feed. “As a banker, nobody believes you don’t have money. Almost all my relations have been calling on me to send money to them to stock food. But the bank has not increased my salary, we even expected salary cut. So, we are part of the masses and equally affected”, Ada declared. But the grave concern for Ikem Oti, an economist, is when the lockdown did not achieve the expected results and government extends it across the country. “There is suffering in the land before now, the lockdown is worsening it. The masses will revolt at some point if the lockdown is extended and we pray this does not happen, Oti warned. He thinks that the masses have had so many disappointments from government that make them always suspect any move by government. “I think, there should be sincerity in dealing with the masses now. Government should not just promise, but fulfill any promise now, especially of providing alternative supplies for food and essentials, financial assistance and other forms of support needed to alleviate the hardship imposed by the lockdown”, Oti said. Dare Okiki, a lawyer, said government should truly cushion the harsh impact of the lockdown on the masses as most families who depend on daily bread are suffering now. “As a people, we hardly plan. Many were taken unawares by the lockdown. Those who have money can still buy things at supermarContinues on Page 6 Sunday 05 April, 2020 @businessDayNG @Businessdayng BDSUNDAY 3 News Lockdown: ADP urges FG to check brutality of Nigerians by security agencies Iniobong Iwok T h e Ac t i o n Democratic Party (ADP) has charged the Federal Government and state governors to urgently address the issue of police and military brutality of Nigerians, during the current lockdown. T h e Fe d e r a l Government last Sunday declared a fourteen day lockdown in three states of Lagos, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ogun in a bid to check the spread of the COVID-19 in the country. However, there have been complaints by some section of the populace of brutality by security agencies against some Nigerians in a bid to enforce the lockdown. The party stated this through a press statement made available to journalists on Friday by, Adelaja Adeoye, its national Buhari Publicity Secretary, noting that there was no part where it was mentioned that citizens, seen on the streets should be arrested or be brutalised when President Muhammadu Buhari gave the order for a lockdown. Ac c o r d i n g t o t h e statement, “Police have been seen in some cases extorting money from the people, while soldiers are flexing their power by beating and humiliating innocent citizens. These are well captured in many trending videos on social media. “To avoid a situation where unrest may spring up, when citizens decide to fight back, as many are already angry over the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, through inability to freely move and other reasons, such as hunger and lack of basic support from government during this time” he said. The party therefore, called on government, State Governors, the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Adamu, Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai to call their men to order. “We cannot be dealing with a deadly virus that is capable of terminating the lives of our citizens and also have police and soldiers doing the same to Nigeria citizens,” he added. COVID-19: Pistis Foundation launches food bank, health scheme for less privileged SEYI JOHN SALAU P istis Foundation, a non-profit social intervention arm of The Elevation Church, said it has launched the Pistis Food Bank to provide at least 2,000 less privilege residents of Lagos state with food supplies during this period of untold hardship in the country. Ac c o r d i n g t o t h e Foundation, this was the first step in executing the two-pronged initiatives embarked on by the Elevation church to help economically challenged residents of Lagos state in this season of 14-days lockdown of Lagos State by the Federal Government to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria. The second initiative was the launch of Pistis Health Intervention Scheme which was being carried out in partnership with St. Kizito’s Clinic in Jakande area of Lekki, and Chion Hospital at Maryland Ikeja. According to Godman Ak i n l a b i , t h e Pi s t i s Foundation is partnering with these two hospitals to provide medical aid to anyone who might need medical assistance during this time. “Medical bills will be paid by the Foundation, he said. He s a i d t h a t t h e s e interventions are executed in addition to other social impact initiatives already embarked upon by the foundation with its three key focus areas as education, health and shelter. He further stated that both the Pistis Food Bank a n d t h e Pi s t i s He a l t h Intervention are at no cost to the beneficiaries and can be accessed by anyone proven to be in need of them. “However, for the sake of order, to access these interventions, intended beneficiaries should send an email to [email protected] pistisfoundation.org or call the foundation help lines on 09085222216 or 0817 003 5878. According to the church, all requests will be treated on a first-come, first serve basis. “ Th e e c o n o m i c a l l y challenged are the worst hit during this pandemic because they lack access to the basic necessities, e s p e c i a l l y f o o d . Le t ’s continue to show love this season. Remember, love is an action word,” said COVID-19: Ondo raises welfare committee KORETIMI AKINTUNDE, Akure T he Ondo State Government has set up a 9-member palliatives committee to address burdens facing the people of the state as a result of various measures against the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, in a statement signed by his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, and made available to journalists Friday in Akure, said: “Concerned by the enormous burden imposed on the populace arising from the various measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Ondo State Government has set up the State Palliatives Committee. Among other responsibilities, the Committee is to work out modalities as well as mobilise human and material resources to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the areas of food supply and access to same. The Committee comprises the following members Akin Olotu, chairman; Mo r e n i k e Al a k a , Al e x Ka l e j a y e , Mo r i n s o l a O l a n i p e k u n , Ab a y o m i Eniayewu, Roseline O k a f o r, Ja c o b Ad e b o, Festus Aregbesola and To s i n O g u n b o d e d e , secretary. WAHO reiterates support to ECOWAS member states to tackle COVID-19 Innocent Odoh, Abuja T he West African Health Organisation (WAHO) has again reaffirmed its commitment to support Member States of the Ec o n o m i c C o m m u n i t y of West African States (ECOWAS)inthefightagainst the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that has bedeviled its member states. As t h e i n s t i t u t i o n designated by the highest authorities of ECOWAS to lead the coordination, collaboration and communication in the region with regards to Covid-19, WAHO in a statement said the institution has distributed over 30,000 diagnostic test kits, 50,000 specimen transportation kits and 10,000 personal protective equipment (PPE), and some medications to Member States supplementing what individual countries are doing by themselves. “WAHO has been very active in bringing together Member State to adopt a regional approach to the pandemic and to support them as necessary. As at February 2020, a few days after the declaration by World Health Organization (WHO) of COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, WA H O c o n v e n e d a n emergency meeting of the Ministers of Health across ECOWAS on preparedness and response to the outbreak of Covid-19, and the meeting agreed on a unified regional approach to the pandemic,” the statement said. The statement noted f u r t h e r t h a t “ WA H O immediately strengthened the capacity of all 15 member states to test for COVID-19 through a regional laboratory training and distribution of the first batch of diagnostic kits to all member states. In all the 15 ECOWAS Members States, several actors including health workers are being mobilized to save lives. “However,therecontinues to be the challenge of securing sufficient materials given the disruption in global supply chains, this is something WAHO is tackling through its partnership with other agencies and bodies to ensure Member States do not run out of stock” the statement d...
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