VP’s Remarks At The Launch Of The Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE NIGERIA SOLIDARITY SUPPORT FUND ON THE 14TH OF MAY, 2020
It’s a very special pleasure to join you at this ceremony. One of the few silver linings of the COVID-19 disaster for us in Nigeria is that we can actually do cheaper meetings. I see the Honourable Minister of Finance is very pleased about this, no travel costs, no reception, no snacks, no souvenirs! This new normal is quite a disciplinarian and perhaps, it should be the way to go!
Let me join everyone is saying how much of debt of gratitude we owe the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the Global Citizen, and their partners, for the establishment of the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF).
This is a creative, forward-looking and thoughtful response to what is perhaps the most profound global and domestic challenge to health and the economy in human history.
We need not belabour the point that the COVID challenge is also an unprecedented opportunity for us as a nation and as a people to reset critical sectors of the economy and social services.
So, the deep plunge in oil earnings, the disruptions to business and commerce, especially on account of lockdowns, have meant that we must develop a comprehensive economic and social response.
This is the mandate that the President has given us as a government and through several different initiatives, one of which is the Economic Sustainability Committee that I am privileged to chair; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning is a member of that committee, also the review committee which she also heads. There are several initiatives in place now to attempt a response to the COVID-19 disaster.
In addition, there is the drive to re-engineer and rethink our healthcare delivery systems. This by itself, is a massive undertaking that will involve the States, Local Governments and the private healthcare community. I was excited to hear that Global Citizen already has in mind, a project to build healthcare centres across every local government in Nigeria.
All of these efforts will be greatly assisted financially and or technically, by the work that this fund will do.
In the past few years, I’m sure those of you familiar with the activities of government probably note there’s been quite a bit of effort around creating a Social Investment Programme and quite a bit of attention paid to it by the government. The precise purpose of that is not just to provide safety nets for several of the vulnerable and poor in our midst, but more importantly to provide jobs, provide credit to several informal traders, small holder farmers, and several others in our economic value chain who are usually ignored or untouched by several other credit facilities and other economic initiatives of government.
This fund will support that and I have noticed that this is one of the objectives, to support the Social Investment efforts of the government, especially the protection of the vulnerable and provision of assistance to many in the huge informal sector that we have.
So once again on behalf of the President and the Federal government, I congratulate you all and especially our friends and partners in Global Citizen on this important addition to the creation of a stronger, more resilient, more inclusive political economy and healthcare system.
Thank you very much for this initiative and we look forward to working with you. God bless you.