By BASHIR LADAN, Gombe
The United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) and Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon has assured Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of UN’s support to Gombe state in its quest to strengthen its social safety net as part of its post COVID-19 plans.
The UN representative in Nigeria gave the assurance when Governor Yahaya paid him a courtesy visit at the UN House in Abuja.
He noted that the imposed restrictions, temporary closure of schools, markets and other establishments have impacted on the markets and left those in the informal sector as well as many households in immediate economic setbacks, hence the need to come up with strategies to utilize the social protection system that will be adaptive and resilient to shocks as a measure to respond to socio-economic implications at the household level and stabilize the economy.
Mr. Kallon said “, these are difficult times for the leaders. And Until we find a convergence between fiscal and monetary policy, we are in a fix”.
“On our part however, we are trying to do our best to help. We have established a COVID-19 Basket Fund to complement ongoing efforts to mobilise resources in support of Government’s Multi-Sectoral Pandemic Response Plan. We have so far mobilized about 61 million US Dollars. And we have been so open about it. The budget proposals were thoroughly debated by a technical committee. We are now putting a procurement of essential medicines and drugs to the tune of about 33 million US Dollars which will be distributed to cover not only the federal authority but also states, including Gombe”.
The UN Resident Coordinator said the distribution list will be made available to the Governors so that they will hold those responsible for the distribution accountable.
He said, Gombe is one of UN’s priority states, as such will benefit from the intervention and many other programmes being reeled out by the global body.
Earlier, Governor Yahaya sought the UN’s support in his administration’s efforts to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the global pandemic of covid-19.
He said although the pandemic exposed the weakness of the country’s health system, in Gombe state it served as a challenge to rejig the public health sector for effective service delivery.
The Governor said, being an area of priority, the health sector has received a remarkable attention in Gombe state with about 80 percent of the primary healthcare centres revitalized while Gombe Specialist Hospital upgraded.
Governor Yahaya said even before recording any case of coronavirus, Gombe state Government took proactive measures by constituting a Task force made up of highly experienced public health experts, establishing isolation and fully equipped treatment centres, adding that the state has also procured a PCR machine for its soon to be inaugurated testing centre among other strategies to curtail the spread of disease.
He said with the obvious socio-economic impact occasioned by the consequential restrictions and measures put in place, his administration is seeking closer collaboration and support from the UN and other development partners and agencies in its social protection agenda and other post covid-19 policy plans to stabilise the economy and protect the people.