The Nigerian government has been called upon to explore other avenues to reduce the suffering on the masses as a result of lockdown order.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the federal government to ask the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to open an arrangement with commercial banks for the suspension of charges for use of ATM cards.
The party also asked the FG to suspend charges for low amount mobile fund transfers, as part of measures to ease the burden of poor Nigerians during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
In a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP noted that the lockdown has subjected majority of Nigerians to extensive use of ATM and mobile transfers for survival, making the suspension of charges on minimal transactions within this period of restriction highly imperative.
“The party notes that the lifting of the charges within the period of this pandemic will ease the burden on cash withdrawals by our vulnerable citizens, as well as encourage more Nigerians to support one another at this critical time.
“The PDP demands the CBN to immediately liaise with commercial banks and stimulate a special social sustenance modality to defray the cost of such charges, particularly to cover minimal transactions in favour of vulnerable Nigerians,” the statement said.
According to Channels Television report, the party also urged the Federal Government to activate similar social sustenance scheme to cover electricity tariff, particularly in areas populated by low income and vulnerable Nigerians across the country within the period of the lockdown.
It asked the government to show compassion on suffering Nigerians whose means of subsistence has been crippled by the lockdown and provide funds to electricity distribution companies to activate the tariff suspension within the period.
The PDP advised the government to commence the collation of data from trade unions and corporative societies covering low-income groups such as market women, motorcycle riders, artisans, cab drivers, and labourers among others, for possible economic recovery funds and loans to sustain their businesses at the end of the lockdown.
“Our citizens are passing through very difficult and harrowing experiences and our party is worried that the Federal Government has so far failed to reach most vulnerable Nigerians, whose survival directly depends on daily income in the markets, shops and streets, have been crippled by the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Consequently, the PDP restates its call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately extend similar financial intervention that was released to Lagos State to all other states of the federation,” the statement added.
According to the party, the President should take immediate steps to end the alleged corruption in his administration’s social intervention scheme, through which palliatives funds meant for Nigerians were purportedly squandered by officials.
It said such funds should be channelled to states for disbursement through the machinery of local governments, traditional institutions, and community leadership to ensure that they reached the target vulnerable groups.
“Moreover, our party charges the Federal Government to open up on the billions of naira so far donated by private individuals, firms, as well as donor agencies and immediately constitute an Eminent Nigerian Group drawn from the private sector to manage the fund to eliminate corruption, bureaucratic and political bottlenecks.
“Our primary focus as a party remains the welfare of our citizens as we stand with them in this battle to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country,” it stated.