Lagos State has announced that it plans to roll out the “register-to-open” guidelines, which would kickstart the second phase of the reopening of the state’s economy that is partially shut currently due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, disclosed on Friday this while speaking at a webinar organised by First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Group, with the theme: “A Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities – A View from the Frontlines.”
He stated that the soon-to-be-released four-page Register-to-Open guidelines are the major part of the measures initiated to achieve phased re-opening of the State economy.
He explained that the state government is confronted with the reality of balancing reactivation of economic activities and the continuation of its response to contain COVID-19.
He said: “We have been caught in a very delicate situation between managing COVID-19 on one hand and managing hunger and sustaining an economy that is not only depended on commercial activities in Lagos alone, but also other States across the federation. We have had weeks of engagement with players in fast-moving consumer goods sector and part of the measures we are taking is that, we are giving them additional clearance to work for longer hours.
“Besides, we initiated what we called Register-to-Open, which is a thorough guideline to help the residents ahead of the full re-opening. Some of the things we will be seeing in the four-page guideline is, how we want to manage space at various places of business and what numbers of personnel and clients we expect at a given period, which must be based on the sizes of the facilities.
“As we prepare for this phased re-opening, we are giving priority to sectors that have higher number of labour.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said the state government remained committed to tackling COVID-19 and breaking the cycle of its transmission, but added that there was the need to address hunger and job loss that could arise from prolonged lockdown of the economy.
He, however, maintained that the re-opening would not be done in haste, but said construction and manufacturing sectors would be accorded high priority for full re-opening of the economy.
He added that entertainment, hospitality and aviation industries would be considered in the second phase of the intervention.
The governor also revealed that the state government has offered incentives to the private sector which will affect its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), but will prevent job loss in critical industries that provide employment for a large number of persons.
He said: “The other part of our intervention is our conversation with big corporations in various sectors on the requirements they may want from us to ensure that they do not retrench their staff in this emergency period. This conversation is very important.
The companies have given us a retinue of incentives they want us to give and these are the things that will affect the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). We are willing to make this sacrifice to prevent loss of livelihood for millions of our citizens.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu said the state government provided palliatives for over 800,000 households during the lockdown, noting that there was need to bring succour to residents that live on daily wage.
He said the residents of the state must trust the government on the management of the coronavirus and data being churned out.
Other panellists at the webinar included Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, and Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State.