Global Citizen concert: Finance minister, Sanwo-Olu, Wigwe move against climate change, poverty
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Herbert Wigwe, Group managing director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, have joined forces with Global Citizen, an international advocacy organisation, to tackle climate change, COVID-19 and rising poverty in poor countries, especially in Africa.
The trio made this pledge at the Global Citizen Live concert held in Lagos on Saturday.
The concert, organised by Global Citizen, is being held simultaneously in Lagos, Paris, Seoul, New York, among other several cities of the world to create awareness on global challenges and how to tackle them
According to the Finance minister, the world is facing several challenges that impact collective social development, wellbeing, and inclusive growth.
She said that as stakeholders are working towards pandemic management and recovery, it is clear that progress relies on recognising the intersectionality of these challenges.
Ahmed said: “From working towards more inclusive societies, to defending the planet against the impact of climate change, we all must work together to ensure we build back better. We must also put our people and planet at the heart of our public policy and fiscal reform agenda.
“Recognising the role of responsive public financial management, we have prioritised entrenching processes that are more gender-sensitive and are responsive to the needs of those who are amongst the most vulnerable in the Nigerian society.
In his remark on COVID-19 equity, Sanwo-Olu said that the state is committed to prioritising vaccine equity among its entire population.
He noted that the state plans to partner Global Citizen, private sector and other stakeholders once again to procure, store, distribute and administer vaccines across the state under the guidance of Federal and State government laws.
He explained that “The idea is to leverage the funding, capacity and infrastructure of the private sector to ramp up a massive vaccination campaign in Lagos State by significantly increasing the number of vaccines and vaccine sites available to Lagosians.
“Our proposal is to reserve and administer 50percent of the vaccines procured in partnership with the private sector to be made available free of charge at government health centres.
“We propose to deploy a proven system where those who can pay for vaccines subsidise the cost of vaccination for those who cannot. Given the fact that we expect COVID-19 vaccinations to be annual going forward, this is the only sustainable path towards achieving herd immunity and making Lagos free from the virus.”
Wigwe, in his comments, said that the bank is committed to building a sustainable and brighter future for all, stressing that the bank is financing environmentally friendly projects and technologies, launching green products, and encouraging the adoption of green initiatives by all employees.
“Let’s remember always that we are first humans, and as individuals and businesses, we have an obligation to drive the recovery of our planet, and to end extreme poverty,” he said.
Earlier, Global Citizen Co-Founder and CEO, Hugh Evans, had said: “As a global community, we are in a race against time and the key to coming back together is the vaccine. We need to build vaccine confidence in the United States and globally, and encourage people to take the vaccine as quickly as possible. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere regardless of who they are or where they are from, is key to ensuring the end of this pandemic around the world. We must all unite to get back on track to eradicating extreme poverty.”
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, also reiterated the need for improved access to vaccines in ending the devastating effects of COVID-19. “It is imperative that more resources are made available, that surpluses from wealthier nations are shared immediately with frontline workers in lower income countries and that the production of vaccines is accelerated. Considerable efforts have been made by the African Union envoy and it will take even greater international coordination and closer collaboration over the coming months to ensure that vaccines are made available to the world’s vulnerable people,” she said.