Covid-19 response and the WASH sector – Taking a long-term perspective
Several comments have been expressed with respect to the way the various governments in Nigeria – Federal and States have responded to the advent of the corona virus infection. Some people feel the response is not adequately home grown. That the level of poverty in the country and the desire to meet our food needs will flush people into the streets. Others have suggested the need to strengthen the distribution of palliatives to ensure it reaches those who truly need it, particularly the 70% of Nigerians considered poor, as well as those missing out on their daily income opportunities. Charles Soludo, former Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, recently revealed statistics from a 2007 study he conducted, showing that only 8% of the bank accounts had balances of NGN300,000 (then over $2,500) and above, accounting for 95% of total deposits, while adding that a more recent study revealed that only 2% of bank accounts had NGN500,000 (about $1,300) and abovei. With some 80% of the African population “living from hand to mouth on daily toil and hassle”, the Professor of Economics and a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Advisory Team suggested a relaxation of the lockdown. Thankfully the Federal Government has taken advice on this matter and has announced a gradual relaxation of the lockdown from Monday, May 4, 2020. We shall find out about the efficacy of this decision in the next few weeks.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development or the University of Lagos, Nigeria.