20 LGs responsible for 50 per cent of COVID-19 cases – NGF

 The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said only 20 Local Governments in the country are responsible for the current total cases of coronavirus infection in the country.

NGF’s Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State disclosed this while briefing the 15th teleconference meeting of the forum held on Wednesday.

According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, Fayemi was said to have told the meeting that “data from COVID-19 tests conducted in the country show that 20 local government areas in the country account for 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases recorded.

“In the light of this, all state governments will be required to scale up risk communications campaigns in these areas through state and local structures.”

The meeting then resolved to “scale up the implementation of the Risk Communications Community Engagement (RCCE) strategy developed by the Presidential Task on COVID-19.

“The strategy will provide necessary impetus on communicating with the public so that communities can curtail the spread of COVID-19 in a sustainable approach.

“State governments will also be able to identify and engage with all the relevant multi-sectoral partners as the success of this strategy.

“Commissioners of information are to head this exercise nationwide.”

The NGF also resolved to engage the officials of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in order to forestall their intention to embark on an industrial action.

The meeting also heard that 29 states have received funding from the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) project to strengthen their public health response to COVID-19.

It was noted that testing remains the number one priority for the government. 32 states in the country that currently have molecular laboratories, while investments are being directed to the remaining four states.

The meeting equally resolved to continue to engage with the Federal Government on the suspension of state counterpart funds required for accessing the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund based on the recommendations of the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad-hoc Committee on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.

Members of the NGF also resolved to ensure that state governments continue to provide appropriate support to the independent verification teams from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF), who are currently in states to conduct the 2019 Annual Performance Assessment for the SFTAS programme.

The meeting, according to the communiques signed by Fayemi, received an update from Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who’s leading the NGF Committee interfacing with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (OAGF) on the implementation of Executive Order 10.

It added that the Tambuwal-led committee is currently working on a template acceptable to all parties for the implementation of financial autonomy for state Legislature and Judiciary.

The NGF Help Desk Programme Manager, Olanrewaju Ajogbasile also provided an update on the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.

“The NGF in collaboration with the Word Bank has negotiated a flexible payment term for the acquisition of Software as a Service (SaaS) e-procurement solution for all States in the country.

“States can now make 30% advance payment for the solution after signing the framework contract.

“The software which is aimed at improving public procurement in the country has many advantages over traditional models of business software installation including lower upfront cost, quick set up and deployment, easy upgrade, accessibility and scalability.

“States were also encouraged to publish a Consolidated Revenue Code, Public Procurement Law and Debt Management Law on or before 30th September 2020 to be assessed under the SFTAS 2019 Annual Performance Assessment (APA).”

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