COVID-19: Plateau Govt. closes markets, cuts recurrent expenditure

) Plateau Government has ordered the closure of markets in the state from March 25 as part of efforts to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has also reduced the state’s recurrent expenditure by 40 per cent to achieve the objective.

Gov. Simon Lalong announced the decision on Tuesday in Jos after an emergency meeting of the State Executive Council at the Government House, Jos.

Lalong said the closure of the markets was because of the crowd there, saying only traders selling foodstuff, pharmaceuticals and cooking gas would remain open.

” In addition, all street trading, street hawking and begging are prohibited.The weekly Sunday markets at Ahmadu Bello Way, Bukuru and environs are hereby banned.

“Markets, motor parks, Hotels, supermarkets and restaurants are to strictly adhere to the guidelines for social distancing while providing running water, soap and sanitisers for customers at their entrances.

“Social joints, Nightclubs, drinking parlours are to also close effective Wednesday 25th March 2020, while restaurants are advised to prepare take aways for their customers to avoid crowding,” he said.

The governor said the Federal Budget had been slashed by N1.5 Trillion because of the current health challenge, explaining that as a consequence, revenue accruing to Plateau from the Federation Account had decreased by over 51 per cent.

He said in respect of the development, recurrent expenditure other than salaries and pensions would  be cut by 40 per cent; the processes of fresh employment; implementation of the new minimum wage; funding of on-going projects among others, would be affected in the interim.

“All allowances of political office holders are hereby slashed by 50 per cent.

“With effect from Wednesday 25th March 2020, all public servants in Plateau  from Grade levels 12 and below are to work from home for the next 30 days.

“Only workers offering essential services such as security, health, media, street cleaners and water supply and energy are exempted from this directive.

“The weekly State Executive Council meeting is hereby suspended indefinitely. However, Council will continue to consult and meet through digital means,” he said.

Lalong urged motor parks to capture and keep data including contacts of all inbound and outbound passengers as well as adhere strictly to social distancing and mass gathering prohibition.

He also implored them to comply with hygiene regulations, adding that all entry points into Plateau by land and air would be subjected to preliminary test.

The governor expressed worry that directives given to the public on March 20 on suspension of cultural festivals and closure of schools were flaunted, saying government would no longer tolerate disobedience.(NAN)

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