For Nigeria to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, it must take actions to quickly address its short-term challenges including cutting costs, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governorship Forum (NGF), Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said.
“With a reduction in revenue, we must reduce the cost of governance,” Dr Fayemi, who is also the Governor of Ekiti State, said during an appearance on The Platform on Saturday.
“Apart from the passage of supplementary budgets by the Federal and state governments, we need to explore various recommendations on streamlining ministries, departments and agencies of government to reduce wastage.
“We must also be ready to eliminate or minimise non-core expenses. And also ensure that the wage bill at all levels of government is accompanied by accountability, productivity and effectiveness of our workforce.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life globally, infecting more than three million people and claiming more than 230,000 lives.
In Nigeria, there have been 2,170 confirmed cases with 68 deaths amid lockdowns and movement restrictions. Also, the price of oil, Nigeria’s biggest source of income, has plummeted.
Although the impact of the pandemic has been devastating, Governor Fayemi, who appeared on The Platform via video conference from his office in Ekiti says it also offers Nigeria opportunities.
“There is an immediate opportunity to support our businesses, particularly SMEs, support our women to rebuild family structures, while modifying the conditions for existing loan guarantees and creating new opportunities that can encourage financial institutions to support small businesses recovering from the economic slowdown,” he said.
“In order to boost consumption, the government can also allow employees who have lost their jobs to access a portion of their pension contributions earlier than the period stipulated in the Pension Reforms Act.”