FG Lifts Interstate Travel Ban to Facilitate Commerce
The Federal Government on Monday lifted the restriction on interstate movement to better facilitate trades despite the rising number of COVID-19 new cases.
Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) and Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), disclosed this on Monday during the force briefing in Abuja.
He also disclosed the extension of Phase Two of the eased lockdown by four weeks.
Announcing the new measures, Mustapha said; “I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020, through Midnight of Monday, 27 July 2020.
“Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect: Maintaining the current phase of the national response for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatriated by the National Coordinator; Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July 2020; Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places; Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations and; Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable”.
The boss explained that because there is a general increase in prices of goods and services in recent months, airlines would have to increase their fares to stay afloat.
He said; “I think there is a general increase in everything, not only air tickets. If you go to the market now, the prices prior to Covid-19 are different from what you get in the market now. That is the difficult thing that is going to confront us as a people. Because of the protocols that are going to be introduced in the whole business of aviation, you would definitely expect an increase in the fares. The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria FAAN has already increased its customer service fare by 100 percent. It used to be ₦1000 but now it is ₦2000 even before the operations start. So, it is not just the airlines, even the government institutions who have the responsibility of managing the aviation industry will review their charges because that is the nature of what Covid-19 has thrust on the people of the country and all over the world.
“Also, there is going to be some bit of social distancing in the aircraft. If an aircraft has the capacity of 150 people, they might now be restricted to about 100 or 75. Flying comes with components of cost. Aviation fuel is one of them. Salaries for the pilot and cabin crew are part of it. Services that are paid for to the aviation industry institutions are there. The costs have to be shared by the passengers and the business owners because nobody runs a business at a loss. Profit is the motivation for going into business. Flying is not a social service”, he declared.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 infected people rose by 566 on Monday to 25,133 despite measures to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), “on the 29th of June 2020, 566 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
“Till date, 25133 cases have been confirmed, 9402 cases have been discharged and 573 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.”