The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, says Nigeria’s health care system cannot withstand a coronavirus pandemic on the scale of America and Europe.
He, therefore, called on the government and the citizens to do everything to curb the spread of the virus in the country.
Tinubu said this in a statement he wrote in commemoration of his 68th birthday on Friday.
The former Lagos State governor said, “The public health care systems of developed nations have been overwhelmed by this virus. They are running out of equipment and healthy doctors.
“Our public health care system is much smaller and less equipped than those in Europe and North America. We cannot afford to put undue pressure on our system because it cannot bear the great weight of a pandemic.
“Thus, it is incumbent on us to thoroughly implement and obey social safety and distancing techniques so that we halt the spread of the disease and keep hospitalisation to the barest possible minimum.”
Tinubu asked the Federal Government to print more naira notes to save the economy from collapse even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to bite harder.
The APC chieftain said the United States Federal Reserve had printed more dollars bills to boost the economy, adding that Nigeria could also do the same.
Tinubu added, “Already, the price of oil has fallen to less than $30 a barrel. This will bring a dollar shortfall. This does not, however, necessitate a corresponding shortfall in public sector naira expenditures.
“The US controls dollar issuance. We control naira issuance as is our sovereign right. Just as America has used its sovereign right to issue its currency to stave off economic disaster, so too may Nigeria issue naira for the same purpose.”
Tinubu also asked the Federal Government to stop collection of the Value Added Tax immediately.
Recall that the Nigerian government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had last month increased VAT from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.
However, Tinubu said the government must reduce the sufferings of Nigerians by introducing tax cuts while the Central Bank of Nigeria must reduce interest rates
He wrote, “Government should announce a tax credit or partial tax reduction for companies or firms. VAT should be suspended for the next two to four months. This will help lower import costs and protect against shortages.
“We need to protect the people from food shortages and high prices. As such, we must quickly improve farm-to-market delivery of agricultural produce. Also, government should initiate a crash programme to decrease spoilage of agricultural produce by construction of storage facilities in local marketplaces in and around major cities and towns throughout the country.”
The APC leader asked all Nigerians to unite against the pandemic, adding that experience had shown that the virus neither respected social class, ethnicity nor religion.
He therefore said this was not the time to play politics.
Tinubu added, “The rich cannot bargain with the disease or pay it off. It neither reads bank account statements nor is it intimidated by them. The poor, likewise, are subject to it for it has no mercy nor cares about one’s prior or present hardships. Neither does it seem to study geography.
“Northerners and southerners are equally its prey. It will attack those who pray at the altar in church as well as those who face the Qiblah when praying in the mosque. To corona, we are all the same. Thus, to fight corona, we must treat each other the same, as brothers and sisters in one national family under one Heaven. For we are of one blood; this crisis is a stark warning that we must begin to act in consonance with that common humanity.”