The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute an Eminent Nigerians Group to manage donations from the private sector and palliatives from the federal government.
Specifically, the PDP said the group should be constituted to ensure that such interventions reached the desired persons in the overall effort to check the health and economic impact of COVID-19 in the country.
This is just as the opposition party urged the federal government to quickly reach out to vulnerable Nigerians in the informal sector, including cab driver, keke and okada operators, artisans, labourers, market women, traders, food sellers, fruit vendors, farmers and dealers of perishable goods, motor mechanics, among others.
The PDP said it is concerned because the survival of low income earners directly depends on daily income in the markets, shops and streets which, at the moment, is been crippled by lockdowns occasioned by the COVID-19.
Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, said in Abuja, through a statement that if eminent Nigerians are involved in the management of palliative, it will eradicate corruption and bureaucratic bottlenecks.
“The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 should immediately hands off the management of palliatives so as to eliminate corruption as well as political and bureaucratic bottlenecks that would impede effective administration of the social panaceas to vulnerable Nigerians.
“The PDP also asks the Federal Government to halt plans by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to ensure that there is no increase in electricity tariff as Nigerians are going through excruciating pains and cannot carry the burden of further increase in costs.
“The party expresses concerns that the Federal Government has so far failed to reach vulnerable Nigerians in the informal sector, including cab driver, keke and okada operators, artisans, labourers, market women, traders, food sellers, fruit vendors, farmers and dealers of perishable goods, motor mechanics, among others, whose survival directly depends on daily income in the markets, shops and streets, which has been crippled by lockdowns occasioned by the COVID-19.
“The PDP therefore holds that the situation at hand requires an urgent involvement of all Nigerians irrespective of political, ethnic or religious persuasion.
“It is a time we must bring in eminent Nigerians from the private sector to assist in developing and implementing operable target-specific strategies to reach the vulnerable Nigerians across all informal sectors of our economy,” Olgobodiyan stated.
Noting further, the PDP urged for strategic intervention for distressed Nigerians such as cab drivers, keke operators, traders and other small-scale entrepreneurs, who took bank loans for their enterprises, but have been grounded by COVID-19 pandemic.
It advised the Federal Government to adopt strategies to cut interest rates on such loans by micro finance and commercial banks in the country.
Also, the PDP has pleaded with landlords, particularly those of residential apartments, to bear with their low income group tenants, whose businesses have been crippled at this critical time.