The deep plunge in oil earnings and the disruptions to business and commerce by COVID-19 lockdowns has necessitated a comprehensive economic response by the federal government of Nigeria, according to the Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), who made the statement on Thursday.
Osinbajo said this at the virtual launch of the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) – an initiative of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the Global Citizen and other partners.
Efforts, according to him, are being to ensure that Nigeria is properly positioned to deal with the fallouts of the pandemic and its attendant economic disruptions.
The spread and impact of COVID-19 requires joint efforts to tackle its effects on health care, food and job security, education, and the economy. To this end, Global Citizen Nigeria has worked with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to establish the NSSF to provide immediate support in the country’s response to COVID-19.
Hopefully, the fund is meant to play an important part in tackling COVID-19 in the country by helping the government track and treat cases, and improve access to the healthcare.
“The government of Nigeria is delighted that NSIA, together with the world’s leading international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, and their partners, have embarked on a process to set up a new funding vehicle,” Osinbajo also said.
“As the pandemic’s impact is unprecedented, so too is the commitment of Nigerians both at home and abroad, who have rallied to help one another and stand in solidarity against this deadly virus,” he said further.
“The government of Nigeria is delighted that the NSIA, together with the world’s leading international advocacy organization, Global Citizen, and their partners, have embarked on a process to set up a new funding vehicle. The NSSF will provide support to our most vulnerable communities in the fight against COVID-19,” he added.
In addition to Global Citizen Nigeria, NSIA, and Vice President Osinbajo, the Fund will be supported by stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as Minister of Health, Prof. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. (Dr.) Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama.
The NSIA Board Chairman, Mr Zeitlin, said the NSSF would be incorporated as a non-government charitable foundation to be managed professionally and transparently governed in line with global best practices.
He said the advisory board of the fund would comprise eminent and qualified men and women to ensure the funds are effectively used and properly accounted for, to the benefit of all Nigerians.
“This stakeholder led-and-resourced mechanism will provide tools to augment ongoing efforts to respond to COVID-19 in communities across Nigeria, as well as to strengthen health systems in the aftermath of the acute pandemic response,” he said.
“As the SWF of the most populous country on the continent, it is important for the Board of the NSIA to support collaborations of this nature, which further strengthens the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The unprecedented challenge posed by the outbreak demands that we embrace flexibility as never before on partnerships with the right organizations to help mobilize support for the fund as well as building sustainable systems in our communities.” Mr Zeitlin said.
Mr. Uche Orji, managing director of NSIA, had said that despite the fact that COVID-19 pandemic has strained the Nigeria’s health, social and economic systems, the resolve to work with other partners to contain the impact of the scourge remained unflinching. He also said that the NSIA was delighted to partner with Global Citizen in launching the NSSF, as the Fund manager.