COVID-19: UN’s Deputy Secretary-General urges solidarity among countries

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By Rukayat Moisemhe
Lagos, Aug. 7, 2020 Dr Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations (UN), says COVID-19 pandemic requires greater solidarity and partnership among countries so that they can overcome the new realities facing the world.

Mohammed said this at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) 2020 Presidential Policy Dialogue on Friday in Lagos.

Mohammed advocated focus on external financial remittances for inclusive growth, gender equality and decent work to provide physical space for countries to save lives and livelihoods.

She also advised on the need to focus on urgent climatic actions which she said would provide unprecedented support to unlock economies and social benefits, and accelerate structural transformation for sustainable development.

“It is also important to maintain financial stability, address debt vulnerability, create space for private sector credibility to proactively prevent illicit financial flows.

“Africa is facing daunting challenges but at the same time, we know Africa is rich in opportunities and potential for a prosperous future, ” she said.

Also in her remarks; the President of LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, said that there was a silver lining in the current economic downturn as times such as this usually offer tremendous opportunities for creativity, innovation, export growth and import substitution.

“The Nigerian economy has some strong fundamentals, inclusive of our vast natural resources endowment, large domestic markets and resourceful people,” she said.

Mabogunje acknowledged the efforts of the government in its creation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) with a financial commitment of N2.3trilion to support the vulnerable sectors and create jobs.

She also underscored the need for regular engagements and communications on policy issues to ensure good quality feedback and enriched policy making processes.

“This should cover macroeconomic policies and sectoral policies including policies on foreign exchange, trade, tax, energy, transport, industry, agriculture, Information and Communications Technology(ICT), ” she said.

She expressed concerns over the slow pace of reforms in the oil and gas sector with reference to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the disregard by the Nigeria Customs Service to the adherence of the Executive Order that disallowed checkpoints around the ports.