Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Most Rev. Dr. Peter Odetoyinbo has advocated for a more enduring policies that will assist Nigerians to cope with post Covid-19 pandemic.
Odetoyinbo, who made the call at a One-Day seminar organized by Justice Development and Peace Movement, (JDPM), on the effects of coronavirus, advocated for people oriented welfarist approach to cushion the effect of the pandemic on the masses.
He equally called on government at all level to urgently look into ways to salvage the nation’s economy from the impacts and factors that are likely to cripple the economy of the country.
Bishop Odetoyinbo, who was represented by the Director of Social Communications in the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Gregory Fadele, said “contrary to the notion that the world is been rebooted, the lessons learn’t from the pandemic is that the grace of God always abound with the saints.
He said, the coronavirus has led more people to God rather than creating fears in their mind.
“Though the worst is not yet over, but the grace of God has shown that God will never allow His chosen to pass through periods that He has no control over.
While admonishing Nigerians to continue to obey all precautions to further curtail the spread of the virus, Bishop Odetoyinbo said the country will soon witness a better turn around.
Speaking at the seminar with the theme, “Implications, gains and impact of COVID 19 on our socio-economy”, the State Coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group, Comrade Sina Adefolahan revealed that due to the escalating global economic impact of the pandemic, many economies around the globe have witnessed reduction in activities.
“Industrial facilities have been shut down and the global supply chain has been disrupted”.
“Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is awakening to a new economic and social reality as a result of the COVID-19 crisis”.
“While the virus infects people regardless of wealth and social status, the poor will be mostly affected in the post covid survival.
On his part, the State Chairman, National Volunteer Group on COVID 19, Fidelis Igbodipe said with recession looming as a result of the pandemic, the number of people with abject poverty will grow if proper measures were not enacted.
“Living in typically high-density houses, with reduced access to sanitation, and a lack of savings to facilitate self-isolation, poor Nigerians are at greater risk of contracting the disease”.
“More so, due to the high cost of health care, greater economic fragility, and higher mortality rates, we are bound to see many more Nigerians fall below the poverty line before this is finally over”.
Also speaking, a Socio-political Analyst, Mr. Ola Animashaun, while appreciating government for the provision of stimulus package, said the stimulants are necessary to spur economic growth, structural policy changes are required to achieve macro-economic stability and long-term sustainable growth.
He advised that in order to reduce unemployment and poverty, which are inevitably linked to this pandemic, it is imperative that policy makers provide relief packages tailored towards Nigeria’s vulnerable citizens.
“Nigeria needs to ease the financial burden ensuing from the lockdown, and cushion the aftermath of the pandemic”.
“Nigeria can cushion the impact of the virus by introducing measures to protect companies and their workers, most especially the vulnerable citizens, from the impact of the pandemic. Such measures could include unemployment benefits, employment retention, social assistance benefits, financial support and tax relief.