Buhari Extends Easing Of Lockdown In Two States And Abuja By Two Weeks
Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Federal Government on Monday said the recent order of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on gradual ease of lockdown will remain in force for another two weeks.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja.
The President had on April 27, announced a “phased and gradual easing” of the lockdown, while declaring a nationwide curfew with effect from May 4.
He also ordered a ban on all inter-state movements.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria was not yet ready for full opening of the economy “and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority.”
He said, “Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace.
“Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.
“The two weeks extension of Phase One of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy to prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.”
For the avoidance of doubt, the SGF added that “Mr President has approved the following: (i) The measures, exemptions, advisories, and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 00 midnight today (18th May, 2020 to 1st June, 2020);
“(ii) intensifying efforts to ‘tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases;
“(iii) elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions;
“(iv)Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks;
“(v)Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions; and
“(vi)Aggressive scale-up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high-risk states.”
Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Micro Small and Medium and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), says 100,000 small businesses will get N50,000 each.
NAN reports that the gesture is part of COVID-19 economic stimulus.
The presidential aide made the announcement at the inauguration of the Implementation of Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Schemes for MSMEs on Thursday in Abuja.
Johnson, the Project Coordinator, said that the schemes were part of the Economic Sustainability Plan drafted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Payroll Support targets 100,000 businesses. However, the number of individuals who will benefit from this is 500,000. What the government has done is to say that there a lot of MSMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“Afterward, there is a CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) free registration; it is free for the MSMEs but the government is paying the CAC for this. What the government has done is to say to the CAC, you do this regularly to the MSMEs at about N12,000 or thereabout; give it to us at half price, we will give it to the MSMEs free.’’
Johnson added that under the National MSMEs Clinic, Osinbajo and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment went to no fewer than 26 states.
He said it was discovered that very creative businesses were not registered.
“They will tell you they don’t have N10,000 to N12,000 to register their businesses. The government had promised that at some point, we will do and I think the opportunity has come now; the opportunity cannot be better than now.’’
The official also announced that under the Survival Fund, the last strap would be the Transport and Artisans Support.
At least 333,000 beneficiaries will get a one-off N30,000 grant, Johnson said.
He added that the government will work with associations, individuals and the Ministry of Transportation to implement the scheme.