The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has inaugurated a committee for the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives in some rural communities.
The 14-member committee was inaugurated by the minister on Thursday in Abuja to distribute palliatives to those negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The palliative is in recognition of the need to support individuals and businesses to ease their economic hardship, the minister said.
The palliative included four equipped ambulances with Intensive Care Unit gadgets, 9,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, ICT infrastructure for specific needs of the National Center for Disease Control, 120 infrared thermometers and food items, including three trailer loads of locally produced rice.
“Others include support in the distribution of emergency supplies, support and provision of dedicated satellite channels 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.
The minister said the distribution was a gesture from the government to express care and concern.
“The palliatives will not be enough, but we believe that the distribution will indeed 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.
The minister said the palliative would put smiles on the faces of those affected by the negative impacts of the pandemic.
“We have set up a Ministerial Committee on Palliatives with membership from all the parastatal government agencies.
“We are also partnering with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and civil society organisations to ensure transparency in the distribution of the palliatives.
“They will also be part of the committee,” he said.
The Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. U.G Danbatta, 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.
The palliatives jointly provided by NCC, National Information Technology Development Agency, Galaxy Backbone Ltd, Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd and Nigeria Postal Services.