The government of Anambra State has been called upon to come up with an economic stimulus plan to cushion the impact of covid-19 on households and businesses.
Chima Christian, a good governance advocate and a public policy analyst, made the call in Awka Friday.
He said while covid-19 prevention and containment efforts should be in top gear, the state needs to makes efforts so that covid-19-inspired economic crisis will not hit residents of the state badly.
He recalled that Anambra was the first state in Nigeria to announce an economic stimulus package in the wake of the 2016 recession.
“Thankfully, that same Government is still in power. I call on them to lead again by becoming the first sub-national government in Nigeria to announce a bold covid-19 economic stimulus plan.
“This administration is encouraged to consider granting tax reductions and tax holidays, government-backed single digit facilities to SMEs, timed support to public and private schools, timed subsidy of Anambra health insurance premiums so that more families will be covered without the system collapsing, priority release of capital expenditure so that money will be injected into the economy, and other such ideas the government may wish to come up with.
“We should also not rule out the possibility of direct government intervention so that people will not starve to death should Anambra markets be on lock down for a long period of time.
“The Government should start now to piece together a system that will deliver handouts or conditional cash transfers in a transparent and accountable manner, if it gets to that.”
Chima acknowledged that a bold economic stimulus package will be a tall order for the state considering the realities of the day but said it is very much within reach.
“Though the whole world is hurting, there are dozens of debt relief opportunities, agency and individual donor funds the state can tap into.
“The government must be persuaded to modify their governance style and mobilise resources that will help the state maximise such opportunities. A lot of Anambra lives and businesses may depend on those opportunities.
“More so, our governor may wish to take a voluntary pay cut and then inspire members of his team to do likewise. He may also wish to come up with other measures to cut down the running cost of government.”
“As at today, there’s no confirmed Covid-19 case in Anambra, thankfully. What is confirmed is that families and businesses are beginning to hurt already. The state government should get economic bandage and pain killers ready so that covid-19 economic crisis will not hurt as much,” Chima concluded.