The frontline aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Edo state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu has urged the Edo state government to display transparency in its management of the coronavirus disease in the state, particularly in the area of finance and expenses after the Governor claimed in a broadcast that his administration had spent over a billion naira.
In a live broadcast livestream on his Facebook page in the capital city of Benin, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu harped on the importance of honesty, accuracy, and transparency in winning the fight against COVID-19 and charged the state government to offer example by disclosing, in specific detail, its expenditures on palliatives, among other costs which the governor said claimed over a billion naira.
He said: “Accuracy, honesty, and transparency are important values that both government and citizens alike must display for our efforts to yield success. The state government must lead by example in this regard by communicating plainly and truthfully its interventions, the state of affairs, and new developments when they arise. A good way to start would be to disclose, in specific detail, the financial assistance it has offered to medical institutions in Edo state especially from the over N1 Billion the government claimed it has spent in the fight against COVID-19, including a breakdown of expenditures for palliatives.”
Whilst discouraging the use of propaganda and concealment of official information, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu presented measures that could help the state’s local economy as it makes adjustment to stamp out COVID-19 and how to ensure that people remain alive and in business post-covid-19.
Citing the projections of the International Monetary Fund that predicted Nigeria’s economy could record a negative growth of over 3 percent and the observed reality that the [informal] service sector, the largest contributor to Edo state’s GDP, is most affected by the implemented COVID-19 restrictions, Pastor Ize-Iyamu called for “innovative and palliative measures to immediately respond to the effect of this pandemic, and pro-actively deal with the grim projections.”
In addition to increasing testing capacity to quickly identify confirmed cases and ensuring proper distribution of relief items devoid of already reported diversions and embezzlement, he urged the government to “to articulate an aggressive policy response [in the agriculture sector] to ensure that with the onset of the raining season farmers in the state are encouraged, through fiscal intervention and agricultural extension services, to increase food-crop and animal production across the entire state. In this regard, we urge the government to reach out to all stakeholders in the agricultural sector with a view to quickly formulating the necessary policy intervention in the agricultural sector of the state in response to the pandemic.”
“We urge the government to initiate and encourage the mass production of protective gears and sanitary products such as face masks, protective gloves, and hand sanitizers. The Ize-Iyamu Support Organization and other well-spirited persons have reached out to local tailors and seamstresses to mass-produce face masks using our local fabrics to be freely distributed across the state. This and other suggested measures will yield multiplier effects by increasing cash flow within the state thereby re-energizing the state’s economy which is already suffering from the negative effect of the pandemic,” he further recommended.