Amid threats of the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, the spread of COVID-19 infection in the last one year has negatively impacted on businesses. Governments in Nigeria at all levels have employed a number of measures to not only stem the spread of the pandemic but also to minimise the negative impact on the economy.
In Imo State, government’s assistance and state aid in the form of subsidies, grants, tax incentives and reliefs have continued to be made available to residents, especially the most vulnerable members of the society whose income has declined.
Although the International Monetary Fund predicted a global growth fall by 3% in 2020 and possibly double the percentage in the current year, it is worthy to note that businesses in Imo State have actually not derailed completely. This could be attributed to self-determination on the part of individuals and government’s ingenuity.
The kind of government commitment that led to a thorough ‘Enumeration and/Capturing’ of commercial motorcycle riders, popularly referred to as Okada riders, for the purpose of accessing Federal Government’s COVID-19 Survival Fund Scheme at Ikeduru Local Government Headquarters.
The operation was led by Barr. Ogechi Njoku-Ehirim, Imo State Governor’s Special Adviser/Director General to Bureau of
NGO, Grants, Anchor Borrowers and Cooperatives.
She was strongly supported by the State Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku.
The Deputy Governor of Imo State and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Cosmus Iwu.
Both Senior Imo Government officials applauded the Special Adviser for her extra commitment in the discharge of her duties.
They also commended the Okada riders and business community in Ikeduru for their discipline and cooperation all through the exercise which took place on February 1, 2021.
Speaking, Hon. Barr. Ogechi Njoku-Ehirim stated that “the COVID-19 funds are aimed at cushioning the hardship and decline in income faced by small-medium enterprises and large businesses. Here in Imo, our aim is to help these businesses even further.
“Therefore we seize these opportunities to ensure a well detailed capturing, hence we come into the communities as suppose the communities coming to us. This isn’t the first set of funds that has been disbursed.
“My office has coordinated the disbursements of various Covid19 survival funds, targeted at diverse business communities”, the Governor Hope Uzodimma’s Aide explained.
She added, “I’m constantly out in the communities with my team facilitating the ‘survival funds’ process.
“Nothing gladdens my Principal’s heart so much than to hear that people are getting the various financial supports they need to bounce back on their feet.
“Our Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma is always happy to get my phone call or report saying ‘the disbursements are well received by the people’.
“At intervals, there will be survival funds set aside for particular community or business groups. Qualifying members of the Imo public are actively encouraged to apply for the COVID-19 Survival Funds”, she said.