The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the suspension of charges for use of ATM cards and low amount mobile fund transfers during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The party made the call in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday in Abuja.It stated that the suspension of such charges should be part of the panacea to ease the burden on poor Nigerians during the lockdown.
The party called on the on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately open an arrangement with commercial banks to suspend the charges. Ologbondiyan said the lockdown had subjected majority of Nigerians to extensive use of ATM and mobile transfers for survival, making the suspension of charges on minimal transactions within this period of restriction is highly imperative.
He said that the lifting of the charges within the period of COVID-19 pandemic would ease the burden on cash withdrawals by vulnerable citizens and encourage more Nigerians to support one another at this critical time. “The PDP demands the CBN to immediately liaise with commercial banks and stimulate a special social sustenance modality to defray the cost of such charges, particularly to cover minimal transactions in favour of vulnerable Nigerians.”
Ologbondiyan also urged the Federal Government to activate similar social sustenance scheme to immediately defray electricity tariff, particularly in areas populated by low income and vulnerable Nigerians within the period of the lockdown.
“The PDP calls on the Federal Government to show compassion on suffering Nigerians whose means of subsistence have been crippled by the lockdown, and immediately provide funds to electricity distribution companies to actuate the tariff suspension within this period.” He also advised the federal government to immediately commence the collation of data from trade unions and cooperative societies covering low income groups such as market women, Okada riders, artisans, cab drivers and labourers among others.
This, according to him, is for possible economic recovery funds and loans to buoy their businesses at the end of the lockdown. He said that citizens were passing through difficult and harrowing experiences.Ologbondiyan said that the PDP was worried that the federal government was yet to reach out to most vulnerable Nigerians, whose survival directly depended on daily income in the markets, shops and streets crippled by the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Consequently, the PDP restates its call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately extend similar financial intervention that was released to Lagos state to all other states of the federation,” he said. He also called on Mr President to take immediate steps to end alleged corruption in the social intervention scheme, especially palliatives funds. “Such social investment funds should be channeled to states for disbursement through the machinery of local governments, traditional institutions and community leadership to ensure that they reached the target vulnerable groups,” he said.
He also called on the federal government to declare monies so far donated by private individuals, firms and donor agencies. Ologbondiyan called on the government to immediately constitute an Eminent Nigerian Group drawn from the private sector to manage the fund to eliminate corruption, bureaucratic and political bottlenecks. He said: “Our primary focus as a party remains the welfare of our citizens as we stand with them in this battle to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country.” (NAN)