COVID-19: Provide citizens with socio-economic palliatives, CISLAC urges FG
By Nasiru Yusuf Tsakuwa
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged the government to waive taxes for citizens as part of socio-economic palliative measure to ameliorate the impact of corona virus pandemic.
The CISLAC’s Executive Director, Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, in a statement on Tuesday, noted with concerns the current trend in the spread of covid-19 pandemic.
According to him, the increasing global spread as well as the latest sporadic spread in the country is worrying.
“We also note the continual shut-down of government offices including the legislative arm of government both at national and state levels, schools, some international airports and private sector offices within the country.
“CISLAC therefore urges citizens to abide by government directives on mass gathering and to observe personal hygiene, and imbibe healthy eating habits,” the statement noted.
Rafsanjani also called on governments at local, state and federal levels to be more prepared for disaster response and management to be able to curb the spread of the virus and other epidemics.
“CISLAC observes that inadequate preparedness for the management of epidemics, such as the Covid-19, is a result of poor funding allocation for the health sector, widespread corruption and lack of palliative measures.
“Nigeria has only two doctors per 1,000 citizens and 0.5 beds per 1,000 citizens. Health personnel are unable to effectively deliver essential health services.
“In addition, over 90 per cent of the Nigerian population is without health insurance coverage and cannot afford even basic health care,” the executive-director lamented.
Rafsanjani added: “CISLAC’s long-term experience in the health sector shows the inability to effectively address numerous public health challenges.
“Political instability, corruption, limited institutional capacity and an unstable economy are major factors responsible for the poor development of health services in Nigeria.
“Households and individuals in Nigeria suffer from dysfunctional and inequitable health system, which prompts them to delay or not seek health care and having to pay out of pocket for health care services that are not affordable.
“This could prove disastrous in the context of the fast spreading COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rafsanjani, therefore, called on Nigerians to comply with health experts’ advice and government directives in order to stay safe from contracting corona virus.