The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the Federal Government must have disappointed experts who predicted that Nigeria and other African countries would collapse under the damaging economic effects of COVID-19.
The Director of Press, Ministry of Interior, Mrs Blessing Lere-Adams, made this known in a statement on Monday, July 13, in Abuja.
According to her, the minister made the assertion while delivering the Third Annual Lecture of the Faculty of Arts, Ekiti University, Ado Ekiti, titled, COVID-19: “The Economy and Security”, in Ado Ekiti.
Aregbesola stated that the enforcement of non-pharmaceutical policies of lockdown, isolation; stopping inter-state movements; maintaining social distance; wearing of face-masks; and aggressive public enlightenment; proved to be effective in significantly halting the spread of the disease.
“The pandemic hit us but the government was able to mitigate the consequences.
“It also brought out the capacity of Nigerians for resilience in the face of adversity; and human kindness in the way a lot of our compatriots demonstrated generosity to the less privileged in our midst.
“The Federal Government impaneled the Presidential Task Force which immediately swung into action; coordinating with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ministry of Health; to respond positively to the occasion; including holding daily national televised briefing.”
On the economy, the minister applauded the efforts of the Private Sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) for the tremendous work done to assist the government and Nigerians in militating against the effect of the Pandemic.
Aregbesola also recalled that in April 2020, the Federal Government commenced the transfer of N20,000; to poor and vulnerable households registered in the National Social Register (NSR).
“The NSR was increased from 2.6 million households about 11 million people to 3.6 million households during the COVID-19 crisis.
“In the same month, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development began the provision of food rations to vulnerable households in the four states put under lockdown.”
He further stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); taking proactive measures; pledged to pump N1.1 trillion into critical sectors of the economy.
“The Federal Government commenced a three-month repayment moratorium on all TraderMoni; MarketMoni; and FarmerMoni loans.
“These beneficiaries could not have been in good positions to repay the interest-free loans they collected when the economy was being shut down and the streets empty.”