Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, PTF, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, on Sunday said that Nigeria has reached the apex of community transmission and must get the communities involved in the fight against COVID-19.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to update President Muhammadu Buhari, Mustapha explained that 20 Local governments out of 774 account for 60 percent of confirmed cases in Nigeria today and these 20 local government are in communities.
While addressing the issue of easing of lockdown, Mustapha said he can assure about one thing, that the ownership of the next phase will be the responsibility of the states under national supervision and coordination because Nigeria has gone into community transmission.
“Finally, governments must implement policies to support local production. These policies must seek to develop regional value chains, strengthening national food production capacities and linkages to regional markets, which in turn provide a strong basis for countries to export and boost inter- and intra-regional trade in the long-term.
“AfCFTA provides a viable platform for import substitution, promotion of regional agricultural value chains and more diversified supply chains, and local production and consumption of goods and services. “This is a golden opportunity to expedite the launch of the AfCFTA in phases to mitigate the food-system and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regulatory bodies must ensure that governments do not use trade-related measures such as import and export restrictions irresponsibly, keeping the spirit of the agreement at the forefront of its implementation. He added with optimism that, “The circumstances are unfortunate and the stakes are high, but if handled properly, Africa could emerge from the shadow of COVID-19 a stronger, more self-reliant continent.”