STATEMENT OF THE SGF/PTF CHAIRMAN AT THE SUBMISSION OF THE PTF ON COVID 19 END-OF-YEAR (2020) REPORT TO MR PRESIDENT AT THE PRESIDENTIAL VILLA ON TUESDAY 22ND DECEMBER, 2020
Mr. President, I wish to begin by thanking you for giving me the opportunity to lead Hon. Ministers, the National Coordinator, Members of the PTF on COVID 19, other officials of government and representatives of the network of partners developed in the process of this National Response, to present this end of year Report on COVID-19 pandemic.
2.In compliance with the COVID 19 protocols, the number of those present here are a fraction of the massive human resources mobilized for the National Response. Majority of these role players are however, following this ceremony, virtually. On behalf of all Members and support operatives, therefore, I thank you for the opportunity to serve our fatherland.
3.Your Excellency, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has led the execution of interventions geared towards achieving epidemic control of COVID-19 in Nigeria since March 2020, when it was inaugurated. Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, which has been driven by science and data, was designed to achieve three primary aims of epidemic control by:
✓ interrupting viral transmission,
✓ reducing the risk of the health system being overwhelmed due to increased demand; and
✓ minimizing mortality among the most vulnerable parts of the population.
4.The other objectives include the reinvigoration of our nation’s health system, infrastructure and manpower to enable Nigeria conveniently confront any future outbreak and also build her potentials for medical tourism which has been a source of foreign exchange and brain drain over the years.
5.The operations of the PTF have been driven through out the initial six months and the extended three months mandate, by a multi-sectoral process which facilitated expansive and indepth consideration of issues as well as speedy decision making. The process enjoyed the overwhelming support of the partners from the private sector and the international community. Through these partners, Nigeria was able to put in place critical infrastructure nationwide, procure scarce medical equipment, test kits, and personal protective materials, etc.
6.The PTF was also able to deliver palliatives to Nigerians in the various States. For transparency, two web portals sponsored by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the UNDP were opened for the tracking of resources mobilized from all sources. Similarly, a national register of resources mobilized has been created and remains under constant updating.
7 Mr. President, this End of the Year Report represents the state of the National Response as at the end of nine months of hard work (15th December, 2020). It remains work in progress because COVID-19 has not abated. Countries of the world including Nigeria, have been experiencing a second wave of infections which has proven to be more virulent.
8.Your Excellency, the Report being presented today has captured for posterity the strategy adopted, the resources mobilized & committed, achievements recorded, lessons learnt and it represents a useful roadmap for a national response, should emergencies occur in future .
9.With your Excellency’s active support, collaboration of National Assembly, the Nigeria Governors Forum, the National Economic Council, the Security Agencies, the private sector coalition, the international community, all frontline workers and indeed all Nigerians, the PTF recorded the achievements just viewed in the short Video clip, in the following major areas: (i) Funding : (ii) Health Care: (iii) Infrastructure Development; (iv) Human Capacity Building: (v) Communication: and (vi) Social Welfare.
10.The Report also highlights the challenges encountered and the lessons learnt. These lessons include:
(i) the immense benefits derivable from multi-sectoral collaboration to address issues;
(ii) effective communication with Nigerians ;
(iii) Under emergency conditions, well rounded consideration should be given to all sectors;
(iv) our health sector would require major reforms and must be pro-active;
(v) economic sustainability, recovery and preservation of lives and livelihood remain critical at all times;
(vi) structured data collection, analysis and retrieval remain critical for effective governance;
(vii) the phenomenon of evacuation of citizens from all over the world should become a significant policy issue for government;
(viii) across board several public sector rules, practices, systems and some statutes require review/revision to effectively respond to extreme emergency situations;
(ix) there is need to urgently establish a dedicated FUND to address all pandemics and outbreaks; and
(x) the significance of building on the synergy established with the private sector, the National Assembly and the sub-national entities. These lessons are by no means exhaustive.
11.Mr. President, the year 2020 has been very significant to humanity. As we approach 2021, therefore, the PTF is recalibrating to enable it respond in a more effective manner to the new dynamics thrown up by the pandemic as a result of the new wave of infections and the arrival of vaccines.
12.Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 daily cases nationwide – similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world. The new epicentres are Lagos, Kaduna and the FCT accounting for over 70% of all confirmed cases. This is a major challenge that must be addressed .
13.Accordingly, the PTF is implementing your authorisation to engage with and provide advisories to States, to take full responsibility for several control measures aimed at addressing the new development across the nation. I wish to report that some state Governments have already taken necessary action.
14.In 2021, major decisions will be taken on the issue of vaccines. The PTF as part of its mandate, is working in a coordinated manner to ensure that Nigeria is able to access and deploy vaccines in a safe, effective, timely and economically prudent manner.
15.Finally, Mr. President, I wish once more to thank you, the Vice President, the leadership and members of the National Assembly, the Governors, all our partners and our heroes the Nigeria workers for effectively supporting the national response. The virus has not abated and still raging across the world. We have to overcome the pandemic fatigue, intensify risk communication, expand surveillance, testing and infection prevention and control.
16.Your Excellency, it is now my honour and privilege to submit to you the 2020 End of Year Report of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. This is work is progress and all members wish to rededicate themselves to better service.
17.I thank you Mr. President.