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Coronavirus: PDP Reps want Buhari to step down VAT, disburse N5 billion business loans

...Angry over poor response by FG

As part of measures to cushion the effects of the dreaded coronavirus on the economy, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency step down the 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) and make reasonable reduction of pump price of fuel to a sum prorated to the reduction in crude oil price.

The Caucus urged Buhari to disburse the sum of N5 billion as business loans in every state of the Federation to stimulate Small and Medium Enterprises ( SMEs) and business in the country, and to make electricity available and free for citizens within the period.

It further asked the President to address the nation and reassure Nigerians on the state of the nation’s preparedness and for once, lead a public battle from the front as well as open up free testing and treatment centres in all zones in the country.

The House PDP Caucus made these demands in statement signed by its Leader, Kingsley Chinda at the weekend, stressing that it had followed with amazement, the poor response of the Federal Government and the lackluster attitude of President Buhari to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in the country.

Chinda noted that, since the country reported its index case, the Buhari-led Federal Government has failed in its response to the virus, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

He lamented that neither has President Buhari thought it expedient to address the citizens of Nigeria, to assure them of government’s commitment to protect them in such a frightening situation nor has he taken any firm and positive palliative step to cushion the effect of the pandemic on our vulnerable citizens.

The PDP Caucus Leader also expressed worry that calls by Nigerians and the Nigerian Senate for the leader of the nation to offer words of assurance and to lead the battle against Coronavirus from the front have been met with a rebuff and haughty words for the Senate by he Presidency.

According to him, “it is saddening to note that while governments of other countries have braced up to the challenges of the outbreak of the deadly virus, and provided their citizens with palliative measures to cushion the effects of the shutdowns, Nigeria was yet to come up with any tangible plan for its citizens.

“The United States government has released $1trillion Emergency stimulus to pay each citizen $1,000; the United Kingdom released £330 Billion Business Loan Package: Germany released $600 billion stimulus; Canada released C$20 Billion Economic Relief Package and stopped payment of rents and Italy released 26 billion and will pay rent, while the federal government of Nigeria only reduced the pump price of fuel by N20 only, less than 50 Cents.

“This intervention is cosmetic and cannot offer succour for the pending hardship the generality of Nigerians, especially the poor (about 85% of our population) are likely to suffer following the scary combination of the drastic fall in oil prices and the Coronavirus pandemic and it’s devastating consequences as recorded in advanced economies.

“Also, taking into account the ravaging effects of the virus on the health of the people, responsive leaders in addition to shutting their borders to other countries, have consistently addressed and reassured their citizens, while the Nigerian President remains tight-lipped and MISSING IN ACTION, even as it took a public outcry for the government to impose travel restrictions on 13 countries with over one thousand cases despite the gradual but steady increase in the number of infected persons in the country”.

 

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