The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute what it called an Eminent Nigerians Group to manage donations from the private sector and palliatives from the federal government to ensure that such interventions reached the desired persons in the overall effort to check the health and economic impact of COVID-19 in the country.
The party said the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 should immediately hands off the management of palliatives so as to eliminate alleged corruption as well as political and bureaucratic bottlenecks that would impede effective administration of the social panaceas to vulnerable Nigerians.
The PDP, in a statement on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, also asked the federal government to halt plans by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to increase electricity tariff “as Nigerians are going through excruciating pains and cannot carry the burden of further increase in costs.”
The party expressed concerns that the federal government has allegedly failed to reach vulnerable Nigerians in the informal sector, including cab drivers, artisans, labourers, market women, traders, food sellers, fruit vendors, farmers among others, whose survival directly depended on daily income in the markets which has been crippled by lockdowns occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our party is deeply worried about the cries of hungry children whose parents can no longer go out to provide for their families at this critical time.
“The PDP therefore holds that the situation at hand requires an urgent involvement of all Nigerians irrespective of political, ethnic or religious persuasion.
“It is a time we must bring in eminent Nigerians from the private sector to assist in developing and implementing operable target-specific strategies to reach the vulnerable Nigerians across all informal sectors of our economy.
“The party calls for special interventions for farmers as well as Nigerians involved in the production, distribution and marketing of perishable consumer items by undertaking emergency bulk purchase, storage initiatives as well as waivers on loans so as to check waste and buoy production.
“We also urge for strategic intervention for distressed Nigerians such as cab drivers, keke operators, traders and other small-scale entrepreneurs, who took bank loans for their enterprises, but have been grounded by COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the same vein, our party pleads with landlords, particularly those of residential apartments, to bear with their low income group tenants, whose businesses have been crippled at this critical time,” the party said.