COVID-19: Caring for daily income-earners our major challenge — Okowa

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said that the state was facing a major challenge in dealing with the informal sector in the prevailing lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at The Platform”, the Annual Worker’s Day programme of the Covenant Christian Centre dedicated to Nigeria’s Battle Against COVID-19 on Channels TV monitored in Asaba via Skype weekend, Okowa disclosed that it was a tough challenge making those who relied on daily income to comply with the sit-at-home order of the state government.

According to him, the state provided palliatives to cushion the effect of the lockdown on those in the informal sector, especially the vulnerable. adding that another challenge in the state was the issue of stigmatisation, but assured that the state was tackling it head-on.

“Our challenge in managing the COVID-19 in Delta is two-pronged; one is the problem of dealing with the issues of the economy of the people, particularly the informal sector because in the process of trying to stop the chain of transmission, we have had to undertake a lockdown.

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“And, in dealing with that, it is actually very challenging for the fact that most of our people are in the informal sector and they have to live on a daily basis.

“They make their monies on a daily basis and once you cut off their access, that was obviously a very major challenge.

“But, we are doing our best by way of being able to provide palliative support for vulnerable families.

“The second challenge that we have is the issue of stigmatisation because our people are beginning to believe that COVID-19 is something that must be stigmatised.

“We have been trying to carry out advocacy to the people to realise that this is a disease that can actually affect anybody, the high and the low, there is nobody that is exempted from it and if you are not having it today it is just that you are lucky you haven’t been to a place where it has infected.

“We also do know that from the advocacies we have made, people are beginning to understand that there is need to come and be tested because the more you stigmatise them the more the patients will find it difficult to heal.

“So largely, we have the challenge of the economy within the society

“We have already started easing of the lockdown in Delta and even when we are going to continue providing palliatives it is going to be much easier to manage a the moment,” he said.

The governor stated that COVID-19 had posed a huge challenge on the global economy and as such, the state had concluded plans to reduce the 2020 budget to meet current economic realities.

He said that while the state would complete all ongoing infrastructural projects that had reached advanced stages of completion, others would have to wait till the 2021 fiscal year.

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