President Muhammadu Buhari announced the expansion of the Social Register of his administration’s social investment program from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks, to meet the needs of vulnerable and poor Nigerians across the country that will be affected during the lockdown extension occasioned by the deadly coronavirus.
In his live address to the nation on Monday where he directed the extension of lockdown in Abuja, Ogun and Lagos States for another two weeks, Buhari said he was’fully aware of the great difficulties experienced especially by those who earn a daily wage such as traders, day workers, artisans and manual workers. ‘But despite these realities we must not change the restrictions,’ he added.
He said a technical committee was working on the expansion of the social register and will submit a report to him ‘by the end of this week.’
Buhari stated: “I have also directed that the current Social Register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.
“This means we will support an additional one million homes with our social investment programs. A technical committee is working on this and will submit a report to me by the end of this week.”
The president, had in his last live national broadcast on Sunday, March 29, announced palliative measures such as food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of restrictive policies during the difficult times. ‘These palliatives will be sustained,’ he stated.
To ensure the Nigerian economy adapts to the new realities of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Buhari directed the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment and Education to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for a “Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19.”
He said: “The Ministers will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and the Economic Sustainability Committee in executing this mandate.
“I am also directing the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Security Adviser, the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council and the Chairman, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure the impact of this pandemic on our 2020 farming season is minimized.”
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