Lockdown: Abina advocates private sector-led relief programme for poor people

The chairman/founder of AACS, an international consulting and principal investments company, Dr Falil Ayo Abina, has called for a private sector-led fund relief programme to cushion the effect of the lockdown ordered by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians living below the poverty line.

Abina, who served as executive director in two different Nigerian banks, said in a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday that the most vulnerable people in the country could be reached and assisted through the instrumentality of the Bank Verification Number (BVN).

According to him: “Take the BVN of all Nigerians, which is about 40 million in all and extract active accounts that have had a turnover of less than N200,000 within the last six months or with a current balance of less than N20,000. These individuals would be given direct relief funds. I suspect that about five million account holders fall into this category.

“Distributing half of the minimum wage (N15,000) to five million people would translate to N75 billion. These funds would cover the majority of those living near or below the bread line which include okada riders, street hawkers, petty traders, market women, vulcanizers, and others.”

He said the intervention would be the first level of social security safety-net as well as a stimulus for the economy as recipients would see it as a concern for their welfare and it would be a step towards improving patriotism and ultimately a better society and nation.

He added that while the initiative could be championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Corporate Nigeria, religious bodies and public-spirited individuals would be invited to support it.

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