Kwara-based Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have advised the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alh. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, to control the price of commodities in the state as one of the ways to reduce hardship caused by Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the lockdown.
The advisory followed the request of the Governor for suggestions from CSOs on COVID-19 and Economy during the meeting he held with the CSOs on 21st April, 2020.
In a letter jointly signed by the 10 organizations and delivered to the Governor on 1st May, 2020, the group explained that the lockdown is not sustainable, and further advised the Governor on how to manage the spread of the disease amid the free movement of citizens.
The letter stated that, “One of the situations that make life unbearable for citizens is the habitual and unchecked hike in the prices of commodities. As a result of the border closure (which was part of our suggestions), wholesalers, retailers, and service providers will expectedly take such undue advantage to mischievously enrich themselves at the detriment of the consumers.
“As a government that has the responsibility to ensure that citizens continue to live decently and comfortably within the limit of their legitimate income, we are advising that the State Ministry of Enterprise and other relevant institutions (in collaboration with the security agencies) should be on top of the situation to stabilise the price of goods and services within a reasonable limit. Our member CSOs will be ready to assist the KWSG in the gathering of information, feedback mechanisms, and awareness”.
The CSOs also advised the Governor to accelerate the enrollment of citizens into the State Health Insurance Scheme so as to reduce the financial hardship of out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare services.
The group noted that, “Despite the fact that the enrollment of citizens into the State Health Insurance Scheme will require funds, this is the best time to make the necessary financial sacrifice and insure their health. Enrollment of Kwarans into the scheme will reduce the financial hardship for families as a result of huge out-of-pocket expenses on access to healthcare services. We urge your administration to immediately commence the enrollment into the scheme”.
Furthermore, the CSOs charged the Governor to play the role of a team captain and work towards getting the supports of all the relevant stakeholders in the state towards centralising the palliative distribution exercise.
“The KWSG needs to play a team captain role. Political differences need to be buried for now and all politicians and philanthropists in the State should be invited and persuaded to donate their money, food items, and other forms of palliatives to a central pocket. In this regard, the palliative committee needs to be expanded and all-inclusive to monitor the exercise”, the group stated.
The 10 groups that sent the advisory to the Governor include Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), Haashim Initiative for Community Advancement (HICA), Theios Caregivers Initiative, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication (CCEPE), Grassroots Development Monitoring and Advocacy Center (GDMAC), Civil Rights and Development (CIRDEV) Resource Centre, Brain Builders International (BBI), Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) and Meadows Community and Development Outreach (MCDO).