As part of plans to cushion the adverse economic effects of its restrictions due to the coronavirus challenge, Anambra State Government today rolled out an economic stimulus package for residents of the state.
The package which is contained in a special broadcast on COVID-19 by Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano Thursday, reinforced the government’s initial directives suspending schools, nightclubs and bars, weddings, funerals, ofala ceremonies and other social events that bring people together in one place.
Announcing the stimulus package, the governor said the first aspect of the initiative which mainly targets to protect the most vulnerable members of the communities, is the distribution of 200 bags of rice to each of the 181 communities in Anambra State.
This he noted, will be distributed among the senior citizens from 70 years and above, while in communities where there are more than 200 people within the specified age bracket, distribution will start from the oldest to the youngest in the age bracket.
“Beyond that, we have also given a 10% relief on personal income taxes to businesses in Anambra State for the year 2019. This means that if you have been paying your taxes regularly, you will get a 10% refund of the entire sum you paid in 2019. I do not doubt that this will be of great help to businesses in the state,” the governor revealed.
Governor Obiano announced a two-month waiver to commercial tricycle and shuttle bus operators in the state on the usual permits they pay.
According to him, “The grace period covers the months of April and May 2020. The leadership of the Tricycle Union and the Bus and Shuttle Bus Drivers Union have also given a two-month waiver to Keke and Shuttle bus drivers on the tolls they collect. I hope that this will cushion the sudden fall in their income occasioned by the restricted number of passengers they are expected to carry at a time these days. This is also a part of our Economic Stimulus Package for the vulnerable.”
He disclosed that to ensure that school children in the state are not adversely affected by the closure of schools, his government has migrated its classrooms to Radio, television and Facebook.
“A partnership between the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) and the Ministry of Basic Education is meeting the educational needs of our children with a programme title “Anambra Teaching on Air,” he revealed.
Obiano announced that distribution of 3 million masks to residents of Anambra State in the 181 communities will soon commence.
He noted that the traditional rulers and Presidents-General in the communities will assist the government in profiling the tailors in the various communities that will help in mass-producing the masks for distribution to the members of the communities.
“Our intention in handing out 3 million masks is to ensure that after the 14-day shutdown of the state, no one will step out of their home without wearing a facial mask. The Czech Republic is relying largely on the heavy use of facial masks to minimize the incidence of coronavirus in its territory. These masks shall be made by our tailors carefully selected from each of the 181 communities of Anambra State. The modalities for the manufacturing and distribution of the masks shall be worked out and announced subsequently,” Obiano said.
According to him, the state government will commence the fumigation of the 63 markets in Anambra State while the traders are at home, to help to reduce the toxicity of the business environment and minimize the exposure of the traders to different kinds of infections.
“I urge Ndi Anambra to see the threat of Coronavirus as the greatest threat to us all as one people under God. I urge you, therefore, to come together as one and shut out this pandemic from Anambra State. Ndi Anambra. I do not doubt that if we all wash your hands regularly with soap, use hand-sanitizers regularly, cough and sneeze into your elbows, put on a facial mask while going out and most importantly; stay home and stay safe, we shall win this battle and eventually win this war,” he concluded.