THE newspaper that always puts the people first wishes our teeming readers, patrons and advertisers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in advance. We will always strive to serve you better in the years ahead.
The country has just survived a tumultuous year of the unexpected. Governments at all levels admirably rose to the occasion. Special mention must be made of the people on the front line of the unexpected pandemic who bore the highest burden and took the risks on our behalf. If there is any special prize this year, they have deserved and thoroughly earned it. Governments at all levels must always prioritise their welfare, training and retraining. There is no alternative duty with respect to the second wave of the novel Coronavirus other than adherence to its containment protocols such as social distancing, washing of hands regularly, avoiding crowded environment amongst others. To make these effective, government must design and be strict with their enforcement procedures especially on the use of facemasks for everyone on the street, particularly at this period of festivities when mass majority of the people are of the opinion that the dreaded virus is gone. Of utmost importance is regular random test by the government, effective contact tracing, isolation and treatment of all identified cases, and renewed publicity on what to do to prevent contracting it.
This is very crucial as our economy which has already slided into recession cannot afford another shutdown as there are no fiscal buffers to survive it. Even more advanced economies are alarmed at the very idea of another total lockdown.
To survive, 2021 must see us walking the talk on containing and slimming down on the costs of the machinery of the government and diversification of the economy. None implementation of at least parts of the recommendations of the Oronsaye report on the costs of the machinery of the government is like postponing a disaster without attempting to addressing it. Saved funds from it should be redirected to the health sector and internal security while more should be voted to the social intervention programs that must be transparently managed. 2021 will be a difficult year but we believe that a much needed consensus can be achieved to weather the storm and show that we are and should be stronger together. 2021 should be a new opportunity for progress in the face of enormous challenges. Once again, Happy New Year in advance.