Wednesday 8th April 2020
COVID-19 IN KANO STATE: AFRICAN CENTRE FOR INNOVATIVE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (AFRI-CIRD) CALLS FOR A MORE ROBUST MEASURES THAT ENGENDERS ACCOUNTABILITY, INCLUSION, AND TRANSPARENCY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19 PREVENTIVE, RESPONSE AND PALLIATIVE MEASURES THROUGH ESTABLISHMENT OF A TRIPARTITE COVID-19 SITUATION ROOM (CSOs, MEDIA & STATE ACTORS) IN KANO STATE
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in late 2019, and the declaration by World Health Organization (WHO) of the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January 2020, the world economy has since been flung into socio-economic disruption, and perhaps a new wave of disruption never seen before. Globally, health systems noticeably have been overstretched beyond measure, and the economic impacts are taking their toll on government resources, businesses, families, and individuals across the world as noted in the report by KPMG. The pandemic came with it a volcanic like economic shock with huge impacts on both the demand and supply angles of the economy. In this light, the Nigerian government is seen to have evolved with economic stimulatory measures to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic on Nigerians and save the Nigerian economy from collapse.
In a similar effort, AFRI-CIRD observed that the Kano State Government has evolved with a plethora of policy frameworks and actions, with the major ones being the constitution of the ‘Kano State COVID-19 Taskforce’ and ‘Kano State COVID-19 Fund Raising Committee’ as radical strategies to ensure adequate preventive and response measures to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic, and similarly provide palliative measures stimulatory to ensure people abide by the very vastly pronounced measures to contain the possible spread of the pandemic in the State, in particular adherence to travel restriction in and out of the state, skeletal operation of both public and private sector organizations, rigorous handwashing with soap and water, application of hand sanitizers, and social distancing – all of which come with financial strain, especially for the low-income earners who are the vast majority in the state.
AFRI-CIRD acknowledges such initiatives as a welcome development and commends Kano State Government, considering the economic realities ravaging the global economy, in which Kano State is not an exception.
While AFRI-CIRD acknowledges the state’s effort the implementation and management of the several preventive, response and palliative measures, AFRI-CIRD wishes to call for a more robust and inclusive mechanism that engenders accountability and transparency of actions and mandates of the two major committees to the well-meaning people of Kano State. In this regard, AFRI-CIRD is calling for:
A. Establishment of a ‘SITUATION ROOM’ that is a tripartite initiative to synergize between CSOs, Media and State Actors as an intervention to complement the several efforts of the state government in the prevention and response to COVID-19, and provision of palliative measures as planned and being implemented in Kano State. Thus, entrenching absolute core values of democratic governance built on the sound principles of inclusivity, accountability, and responsiveness, especially in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. AFRI-CIRD is of the view that the ‘Situation Room’ shall be preoccupied with and not limited to:
1. Liaise with relevant agencies including the NCDC to map out isolation centers, appraise operational readiness and provide written feedback to Kano State government;
2. Liaise with both the established committees by Kano State government in the design and implementation of the several preventive and response measures including the palliative measures in Kano State;
3. Monitor implementation of the several policy frameworks and actions and activities of the state government in the prevention and response to COVID-19, and similar provision of the planned palliative measures in the state;
4. Monitor public compliance to the several policy pronouncements by the state government towards containing the possible spread of the pandemic in the state;
5. Track and monitor expenditure of the COVID-19 by the ‘Trust Fund Committee’ and any other appropriations for containing COVID-19 in Kano State and;
6. Liaise with appropriate bodies/organizations in engendering massive awareness creation on the key global preventive and response measures in containing the widespread of the pandemic.
B. Also, AFRI-CIRD recommends that for the ‘Situation Room’ to effectively undertake its role, particularly the conventional supportive role of close oversight and monitoring of the several initiatives by the government, especially those of the ‘Fund Raising Committee’, and engender accountability and transparency of expenditures and actions of the government, AFRI-CIRD suggests that the ‘Situation Room’ interfaces with and not limited to:
• National Council for Disease Control (NCDC)
• Kano State Government COVID-19 Taskforce
• Kano State Government COVID-19 Fund Raising Committee
• Ministry of Health, Kano State
• National Orientation Agency (NOA), Kano State
• National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
• National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Kano State Office
• Nigeria Police Force (NPF)
• Nigeria Army (NA)
• Donor Funding Institutions (DFIs)
• Organized Body of Philanthropists (OBP) in Kano State.
In addition to the ‘Situation Room’ creation, AFRI-CIRD calls on Kano State government to:
1. Establish measures that strengthen the cash flow of businesses and individuals, especially for the groups most adversely affected by the implementation of the on-going COVID-19 preventive measures instituted in the state. This may include importers/exporters of non-essential products, transporters, and those sectors with low-profit rates, high fixed costs and high debts levels. Some of the recommended measures as entrenched in some of the developing countries include temporary extensions of tax deadlines and deferral of tax payments due to Kano State.
2. Key into the several palliative measures introduced by the federal government, and ensure Kano State attracts maximum support that guarantees its burgeoning population is effectively catered for in this trying period of COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the notable federal government measures include and not limited to:
• Creation of N50 billion target credit facility for affected households and small and medium enterprises;
• N100 billion intervention fund in healthcare loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners intending to expand/build capacity and;
• N1 trillion in loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors.
3. Make a policy pronouncement requesting all ‘Landlords/Landlady’ in Kano State extend by three (3) months payments for rented properties (house, shops, etc). This action will serve to ease tension amongst those whose payments are due within this trying period of COVID-19 pandemic, especially those whose income has adversely been affected by instituted preventive and response measures such as restrictive interstate movement currently on-going in the state.
Finally, AFRI-CIRD calls on all persons in Kano State to ensure strict compliance with the issued preventive guidelines by Kano State government, and further ensure suspected cases are quickly reported to the nearest health facility. THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS A FIGHT WE MUST JOINTLY DEFEAT!
God Bless Nigeria!
God Bless Kano State!!
Founder/Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
African Centre for Innovative Research and Development (AFRI-CIRD),