The National Economic Council has constituted a special committee to coordinate Federal and State Governments’ response to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic Covid-19 in the Nigerian economy.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State briefed State House correspondents after the NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, also briefed NEC on the Monetary Policy angle to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Obaseki said the CBN governor in his presentation pointed out that though Covid-19 was a public health issue, it had serious consequences for the financial market.
Obaseki said Emefiele informed the council that analysts had predicted that the year 2020 would be a difficult one because of the US-China trade war.
He said, however, that it was never anticipated that the issue of Covid-19 would have the kind of effect it was having on the financial market.
Obaseki said: “NEC resolved that public gatherings should be discouraged and recommends that the maximum number of people in large gatherings should be reduced and that state governors should decide after consultations in their various states how to restrict the number of people in gatherings.
“The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Boss Mustapha) suggested that the states and their governors should look at the possibility of shutting down schools and also regulating the number of people in social gatherings and in other places of worship.
“A Special NEC Committee on the socio-economic response to Covid-19 was set up to coordinate Federal and State Governments responses to the socio-economic implications of Covid-19.
“This committee is to be chaired by the chairman of NEC, the vice president.
“Other members include governors of Jigawa, Edo, Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kebbi and Ogun.”
He said the CBN governor informed the council that Nigeria’s first priority was to keep its citizens as healthy as possible by ensuring that it boosted its healthcare facilities.
According to Obaseki, the CBN has also put in place some policy measures to assist small businesses from the consequences of a slowed down.
He said for borrowers, the CBN was also providing interest rate and moratorium reliefs.
The governor said the SGF also gave an update on the steps being taken by the Federal Government to deal with Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “He revealed that the Federal Government has already taken steps such as the constituting a committee on the Coronavirus, which is headed by the SGF.
“The SGF admonished that all the 36 states should begin to build capacity in their people to tackle this pandemic.
“He revealed that government was concerned that measures such as social distancing should be adopted in addition to issues related to personal hygiene.”