Action Aid Nigeria on Saturday faulted the high cost of polymerase chain reaction tests for travellers.
The Civil Society Organisation berated the Federal Government for failing to find cost effective and strategic ways of tackling the pandemic.
The PUNCH had on Friday reported how a World Health Organization special envoy on COVID-19, Ayodade Alakija, demanded a probe into the activities of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the ministry of health over the high cost of PCR tests for inbound passengers into Nigeria.
Action Aid in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja called on the government to subsidize the high cost of PCR tests in order to remove the financial burden of citizens.
The group also called on the government to ensure that it addresses some of the pressing issues in the country.
The statement partly read,”Fuel scarcity persists across major cities in the country with cost of transportation and consumables increasing astronomically following the importation of adulterated fuel by some marketers. Acute shortage of aviation fuel (Jet A1) has also negatively impacted the aviation industry and the economy.
“It is disturbing that the NNPC and other regulators in the downstream sector continue to watch as Nigerians and businesses undergo this harrowing experience without penalizing the culprits behind the importation of the adulterated fuel.
“There seems to be a lack of seriousness in addressing the failing educational system in Nigeria. While the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has always demanded an improvement of the conditions of service, there appears to be a deeper problem which bothers on quality and standards of teaching, infrastructure, and general governance structure of the entire educational system.
“As countries across the globe seek creative ways to deal with the Covid19 pandemic; African countries like Tanzania are making moves to produce local vaccines while UAE is offering free PCR testing on arrival to promote tourism, PCR test in Nigeria remains a lucrative business benefiting the rich while cost effective and sustainable strategies to tackle the pandemic is yet to be clearly articulated”.
To address some of the issues it raised, the group said, “We call on the Federal Government to promptly implement all contents of the FGN/ASUU agreement. Government should declare a state of emergency on education to rebuild it and ensure that the children of the poor get quality education.
To tackle insecurity in the country, there is an urgent need to amend the constitution to allow for states to set up their various police outfits by taking the police off the exclusive legislative list and including same in the concurrent list. ActionAid Nigeria Board of Trustees reiterates that cracking the nation’s current security challenges also requires increasing the manpower and welfare of all security agencies and equipping them with modern combat equipment, skills, and training.
“To ensure Nigeria meets it 50 per cent eligible population vaccination target by March 2022, the Federal Government through the National Orientation Agency should adopt disruptive campaign strategies by working with young Nigerians at grassroots and urban centres to demystify the myths associated with COVID-19 vaccination. Subsidizing the cost of PCR test should also be considered to improve tourism and reduce the burden on citizen who are already incurring myriad of costs associated with tourism and travels.” PUNCH