Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has inaugurated a 14-member committee for the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives to Nigerians in some rural communities.
Dr. Pantami inaugurated the committee at a ceremony on Thursday in Abuja. He said that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted negatively on individuals and businesses as they could not meet their needs due to constrained resources.
He said that the gesture was in recognition of the need to support and ease the economic hardship facing many Nigerians due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The palliatives will definitely not be enough, but we believe that the distribution will surely express our care and concern for the people.
“This activity is in line with the 7th pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS)- Digital Society and Emerging Technology pillar.
“The pillar focuses on tying the development of the digital economy to indices of well-being in the lives of the ordinary citizens and this is why a significant proportion of the palliatives is based on technology,” he said.
Dr. Pantami said that the palliatives were aimed at improving the indices of well-being of Nigerians, putting smiles on the faces of many and encouraging people to work in spite of COVID-19.
“We have set up a Ministerial Committee on Palliatives with membership from all the government parastatal agencies being supervised by the ministry.
“We are also partnering with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and Civil Society Organisations to ensure transparency in the distribution of the palliatives.
“They will also be part of the committee. “The Digital Society and Emerging Technology pillar map the development of the digital economy to the attainment of seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are most relevant to the digital economy,” he said.
Pantami said that the palliatives included four equipped ambulances with Intensive Care Unit (ICU) gadgets, 9000 bottles of hand sanitisers , ICT infrastructure for specific needs of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), 120 infrared thermometers and food items made up of three trailer load of rice.
“Others include support in the distribution of emergency supplies, support in the distribution of emergency supplies and provision of dedicated satellite channel on the NIGCOMSAT, Direct-to-Home platform for wider information dissemination.
“There are also 20 sets of Personal Protective Equipment, ICT gadgets to support virtual meetings in Federal Public Institutions,” he said.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), lauded the minister for the gesture.
“I believe this is an important milestone that the minister has taken. I wish you all the best, ” he said.
Prof. Mohammed Abubakar,Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone (GBB) assured that all parastatal agencies in the ministry would give in their support towards achieving the laudable objectives of the palliatives.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the palliatives were jointly provided by NCC, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone Ltd (GBB), Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NigComSat) and Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST).