COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu: technology vital to tackle economic challenges

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Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has tressed the importance of technology to addressing socio-economic challnges in the country.

He spoke at the weekend during a virtual forum to unveil a platform, HelpNow, designed to support Lagos residents in need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform was initiative of Softcom Limited in partnership with Deloitte, MTN, Ernst &Young and GTBank and Lagos State government and others to pair donors with beneficiaries requiring support.

He said: “That the role of technology in addressing the socio-economic challenges of the modern world is not only important, but also incontrovertible.

This consciousness is the reason technology is a critical component of the THEMES Agenda of our government.

“We are determined to leverage technology and its associated innovations to make governance easier and transform our state. However, like the experience in other megacities in the world, COVID-19 outbreak has shown the fragility of our societies and the need to seek innovative ways for addressing some of our immediate challenges has become more important.

“With the launch of HelpNow today, we now have a platform that aggregates support for government’s efforts at alleviating the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable in our society.

Government alone cannot address the socio-economic problems of any society. It needs the support of well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to cater for the needy among us.”

Also, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Softcom Limited, Yomi Adedeji, said the impact of the pandemic is not the same across the board.

“Softcom is working with the Bank of Industry (BoI), telcos, and Lagos State government to organise the records of vulnerable Nigerians covering people with disabilities, the poorest households and the aged, for this purpose.

These records reduce guesses or duplication of efforts. It ensures that more people are reached, and no individual or family benefits more than once,” he said.

HelpNow, an initiative of Softcom, is a private sector-led collaboration in response to the debilitating effects COVID-19 pandemic has had on the income and livelihood of millions of Nigerians.

The objective is to provide support to at least two million vulnerable people in Lagos through a crowdfunding model that rallies the support of well-meaning individuals and corporates.

Also, to ensure the credibility and transparency of the initiative, Deloitte and Ernst &Young will provide audit, governance and operational risk support, ensuring every naira donated gets to a beneficiary as promised.

Adedeji encouraged corporates and private individuals in and outside to support the initiative by visiting theHelpnow.ng website to donate, saying no amount is too small to help those in need.

He said donors will be able to view the impact of their giving on the website coupled with testimonials of the beneficiaries.

He noted that HelpNow partners are committed to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030 on ending poverty, ensuring zero hunger, and ultimately improving the quality of life and wellbeing of all.

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