The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, Wednesday urged the Federal Government to make cash payments to households through Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians.
Tinubu gave the advice in a statement issued in Lagos, saying the payments could be made quickly by using the BVN of prospective recipients to make direct deposits into individual bank accounts.
The ex-Lagos State governor said the use of BVN would also be safer and not lead to the types of violence and crime that might follow physical cash transfers.
Tinubu said this would even encourage those without bank accounts to establish such accounts and the process would further bring millions of people into formal banking.
He said: “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 palliative measures, according to the APC chieftain, would blunt hunger, maintain aggregate demand in the domestic economy and help sustain private-sector markets to the extent possible.
He told the government that such payments could be done in either one or in a combination of three ways.
“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.
“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.”
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