Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says providing support to small businesses in the informal sector should be priority for all economies aiming at lessening adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, said the vice president made this submission on Wednesday at a virtual conference entitled “How Africa’s Informal Sector Reacts to COVID-19”, organised by Africa.com.
Osinbajo acknowledged that Nigeria’s massive population constituted a challenge in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Vice President said that the advantage of being able to manage the issues in smaller measures through the states had enabled authorities to reassess responses across sub-nationals and adjust where necessary.
The online meeting also featured President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Prof. of Economics, Yale University and Amandla Ooko-Ombaka, Senior Engagement Manager, McKinsey and Co.
Mr Hakeem Bello-Osagie, a Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, and Teresa Clarke, Chief Executive Officer of Africa.com, moderated the discussions with participation by several thousands who signed in across the world.
“Perhaps we have the advantage of being able to manage our problems in smaller measure, or by dividing them.
“Of course, we run a federation, which means that Gov. Nasir could do some very excellent work there in Kaduna, Lagos could do some excellent work, Ogun state and others could also do some excellent work.
“But of course, by the very nature of this pandemic, it also means that you run the risk of everything going south if some state isn’t doing as well as it ought to.
“I think, in the end, we have that advantage that we are able to almost isolate responses, and even look at best practices across the various states and try and ramp up wherever we find that there are deficiencies.”
The vice president also spoke on some of the measures that were currently being implemented to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy.
According to him, a lot has been on conditional cash transfers especially within the context of the social investment policies.
“But we are now looking at how to possibly enlarge the scope of that and do more.
“We are looking beyond using cash transfers as if it were some incentive for staying at home.
”We are trying to see whether this can address some of the increasing problems of poverty that we are likely to find now given the disruptions in the economy.
“Aside from the lockdown, just the disruption in the economy have meant that the daily paid worker simply has no means of working and many laid off,” Osinbajo said.
On his part, el-rufai spoke about the efforts of the Kaduna State Government in containing the spread of the disease as well as mitigating the effect of some of the measures adopted by government to check the spread.
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