Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has rolled out economic stimulus to assist residents following the directive to stay indoors to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The stimulus, which comes in food packs, to be distributed to every local government in the state is aimed at cushioning the effect of the fourteen days stay-at-home directive, targeting the vulnerable.
Also, 50 improvised large food markets are to be set up in various neighbourhoods around the state to enable residents buy food items during the 14-day partial shutdown of the state.
Speaking at a news conference at the State House, Marina, Sanwo-Olu the government would continue to watch developments and might be compelled to totally shut down should the number of confirmed cases of the virus continue to rise.
Lagos for now has 44 of the total 65 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 in the country, and has been taking measures to contain further spread.
Earlier on Friday, Sanwo-Olu inspected one of the state-owned food banks, located inside the premises of the ministry of agriculture and cooperatives in Agege. Sanwo-Olu said the economic stimulus would reduce the burden of the temporary economic downturn on the citizens caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The governor said the food packs, which were put together by the ministry of agriculture and cooperatives will reach the most vulnerable communities and households across Lagos, saying that the indigents who rely on daily wages will be given priority.
‘‘We are here for an on-the-spot assessment, of our readiness, to see how we can fast track some of our stimulus package for our citizens. We are all aware that this is a trying time for our citizens and since the partial drop in economic activities, our government deemed it necessary to reach out to the vulnerable ones in the society. These people are those that fall below the pyramid, the aged and the physically challenged who need to move from one part of the city to another for them to have a living. We felt that as a government, the least we can do is to identify them and give them these stimulus packages immediately.’’
The governor stated that the package would touch at least 200,000 thousand households in the first phase, saying the food packs are produced for a size of six people per household and would last for at least fourteen days.
“We have packaged dry food stimulus for about two hundred thousand families in the first instance for a household of husband, wife and about four children. We would be giving bags of rice, bags of beans, garri, bread, dry pepper and we are trying to see if we can add water and some elements of vitamin C. Each ration, we believe is going to be able to last them at least minimum 14 days just so our advocacy around stay at home, stay with your loved ones will be respected.
“This is a catalytic initiative of our administration with the hope that well-meaning corporate organisations and private individuals can step up to complement the efforts of the government’’ Sanwo-Olu said.
The commissioner for agriculture, Gbolahan Lawal earlier said the government would be working with the existing database of the state – using the Lagos State Social register and 4000 community development association register in 377 wards.
He said the economic stimulus is part of administration’s initiatives tailored towards ensuring that food security is sustained in Lagos.