The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called for urgent fiscal measures to safeguard liquidity of state governments as the country continues with efforts to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The 36 state governors made the appeal in a communiqué issued at the end of the 2nd COVID-19 teleconference meeting of the forum held on Wednesday, made available to the media on Thursday in Abuja.
The communiqué signed by the Forum Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that members of the NGF at their second teleconference meeting deliberated on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and resolved as follows:
“Following a briefing from the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on fiscal measures taken by the Federal Government to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum called for urgent fiscal measures to safeguard the liquidity of state governments.
“This include the acceleration of an arrangement to suspend all state deductions and restructure all debt service payments on Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria-owned debts.
“Members also received briefing from the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, on stimulus incentives from the Federal Government to support vulnerable households across states cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods in the coming months.
“Governors committed to leading the effort through state focal persons in charge of social protection to ensure that palliatives, including food and cash transfers, reach the most vulnerable population in all states.
“Members also discussed the legality or otherwise of lockdowns in other states around the country and resolved to maintain the status quo until the Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State resolves the matter with the Presidential Committee on Covid-19.”
The governors, according to Fayemi, also resolved to leverage on the lockdown situations to send essential food items across borders as part of the palliatives so that perishables produced in one state get to states that need them unhindered.
He disclosed that the next meeting of the forum would be convened on April 8.