Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged the Federal government to make payment of its relief funds aimed at mitigating the impact of the novel Coronavirus outbreak for Nigerians through the Bank Verification Number (BVN).
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Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, gave the advice in a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday.
According to him, payments could be made quickly by using the BVN of prospective beneficiaries in order to make direct deposits into individual bank accounts.
He said the use of BVN would also be safer and not lead to violence and crime that might follow physical cash transfers.
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He explained that this measure would encourage those without bank accounts to establish such accounts, adding that it would further bring millions of people into the formal banking records.
“The money-less family still needs food, water, shelter and, to a lesser degree, utilities. In a compassionate society, they should not be made to do without.
“Most families need relief. If relief is not forthcoming, these families risk hunger and its attendant suffering and woes,” the statement read.
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The APC leader said the palliative measures would blunt hunger, maintain aggregate demand in the domestic economy and help sustain private-sector markets to the extent possible.
He explained that such payments could be done in either one or in a combination of three ways.
The statement read: “First, we can designate a stipend for every household. The amount should be enough to pay for the monthly needs of an ‘average’ household for food and other basics.
“While this may somewhat penalise larger families, perfection cannot be had at this time.
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“Second, the stipends could be given as a form of emergency unemployment insurance to those who can prove they were relieved of employment due to the crisis.
“This will be more targeted at the actual victims of the crisis but harder to administer. This stipend will also have to be extended to owners of small and medium-sized businesses.
“Third, the government can render some form of payroll support to companies and businesses that seek to retain workers albeit they may not be fully employed.
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“The stipend can help companies stay in operation while maintaining workers on their payroll. By maintaining workers, the company can more swiftly return to full operation when normalcy returns.”
Tinubu said payment of these stipends would require hiring additional government workers to augment the existing bureaucracies to implement that programme.