Apparently worried by the financial implications of addressing coronavirus pandemic, the Northern Governors Forum has expressed its disappointment over the neglect of the region on the issue of palliatives from the Federal Government.
The governors who made their position known at the end of teleconference meeting on Monday presided over by the forum’s Chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, said that no state in the region has received anything as special allocation despite the fact that some of them have recorded cases.
According to a statement signed by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Chairman of the forum, Dr. Makut Simon Machan, the governors observed that preventive measures put in place had eaten deep into the pockets of the states and may not be able to sustain this for a long time.
They, therefore, canvassed that the Federal Government grants states in the North some special funds just as it has done to other states.
The statement pointed out that the northern governors mandated their chairman to liaise with the Federal Government through the Minister of Finance, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the private sector donor basket in order to benefit from available palliatives and donations.
The governors lamented that the region has no testing centres and resolved to again liaise with the Federal Government to ensure that each state gets at least one testing centre while highly populated ones get two.
On the economic impact of COVID-19 on the region, the governors resolved to take a holistic look at the economic prospects of the region with a view to repositioning it for less reliance on federal allocation and to prepare for the future by diversifying to areas of comparative advantage such as agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and human capital development.
The forum therefore set up a seven-man committee headed by Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, to fashion out the way forward and commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the measures taken so far to deal with the pandemic.
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