In a bid to prevent a complacent attitude in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the National Economic Council (NEC) rose from its September meeting urging Nigerians to remain alert and maintain the precautions necessary to fight the infectious disease.
Accordingly, the Council at its virtual meeting today, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, resolved that as long as people are still getting infected, Nigerians should maintain the use of non-pharmaceutical measures and precautions, so that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is not heightened.
NEC made the resolution after a presentation by the Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who gave an update on the pandemic on September 15, 2020.
According to the report, there are 56,478 cases in 36 states + FCT. There are also 479,712 tests, 10,960 active cases, 44,430 discharged and 1,088 deaths.
He disclosed that the increase rate of infection in Nigeria is lower than the global and African averages. However, 28 states had declining figures in their testing rates while the positivity rate in the country has also declined to 6% from about 20% at the peak.
The Council also received monthly financial updates from the Federal Government where the Governors were reassured that the suspended deduction (regarding the Budget Support facility to the States from the Federal Government) would remain until April next year. The deductions were suspended since April this year as a supportive measure to help States finances stabilize.
NEC also received a presentation by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, on “Education in the New Normal.” He stated that the new normal in education will require the use of distance learning programmes and open educational applications and platforms that schools and teachers can use to reach learners remotely and limit the disruption of education. He stressed that the adoption of digital and technological infrastructures will support different forms of virtual learning which is necessary at this period.
In the presentation, Nwajiuba pointed out that the main objective of the COVID-19 education response plan is to ensure the education system recovers from school closure and implement safe school operation, as well as, measures to arrest the potential growth in the number of out of school children, among others.
Other highlights of the meeting are as follows: The Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning reported to the Council the following underlisted accounts as at 15th September 2020:
- EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA)
Balance as at 15th September 2020 = $72, 408, 743.16
- STABILIZATION FUND ACCOUNT
Balance as at 15h September 2020 = N43, 603, 048,431.80
Iii. NATURAL RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT FUND ACCOUNT
Balance as at 15th September 2020 = N138, 770, 528, 353.88
FLOODING INCIDENTS AND ITS EFFECT ON STATES
Council received a presentation by the Governor of Kebbi State on Flooding Incidents and its effects on States. Afterwards, Council resolved that the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, who was also in attendance at the meeting should take up issues from the presentation and make recommendations to the Council in steps.
The National Economic Council also received a presentation on the Human Capital Development Co-working Group on the Progress report on Human Capital Development Programme.