Lockdown against COVID-19 and matters arising
A News Analysis by Julius Enehikhuere, News Agency of Nigeria
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From several weeks of lockdown resulting in somewhat hardship among citizens and job-loss threat, among others, observers note that the pandemic has radicalised the human’s “normal’’ modes of living.
In the unfolding events towards what could be the expectations of the citizens in future, Dr Bello Udoka, a social commentator, says both the Federal Government and states’ government should be sensitised to the need for care-giving and support to the people.
According to him, more community, traditional and religious leaders should be involved in such arrangements.
In apparent reaction to this concern, Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, notes that the Federal Government has been fighting the pandemic in a manner that inspires the public to join in the fight.
“Both the Federal Government and states are working together to cushion the effects of the pandemic,’’ he observes.
Further to the arrangements by the government, concerned citizens insist that with Nigeria’s population that is more than 170 million people, there is the need to put into consideration solid measures involving palliatives for the poor and the vulnerable.
According to them, most developing countries, including Nigeria, can suffer more loss due to poverty, weak economy, hunger and other diseases.
They note further that COVID-19 has come to stay, claiming more lives and leaving millions of people as carriers globally and only pragmatic scientific approaches will eradicate the disease.
In one of the steps to assess the progress in the fight against the spread of the disease after about five weeks of lockdown imposed on March 30, the Federal Government decided to ease the lockdown off the FCT, Lagos and Ogun on May 4.
President Muhammadu Buhari assures Nigerians to show understanding as the Federal Government would help in cushioning the effects of the pandemic.
One of the presidential responses to the pandemic is the post-19 COVID-19 Economic Sustainability Committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The major focus of the committee is to look at the economy and consider variables that will reposition the economy.
In that regard, the effort of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the provision of N50-billion loan support for the informer sector has been commended by Nigerians.
The intending beneficiaries of the loan, however, appealed to the apex bank to reduce the bottleneck involved in getting the loan.
The Director-General, Small Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, Dr. Dikko Radda, says the initiative is commendable as pandemic has brought difficult times that have taken a toll on businesses.
He commends the CBN for the credit line, while also asking for a one-year moratorium to give it a human face.
He also recommends further that between two to three million jobs ought to be created during this period to tackle the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Analysts, however, express concern that the economy could experience a lull for the next few months, calling for a careful economic planning that can, perhaps, cover debt forgiveness, waivers and tax reductions.
Soludo, a member of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, called for a fundamental strategy to redefine processes for the growth of the country’s economy after the pandemic.
According to Soludo, the country could not afford to be left behind in a post-COVID-19 pandemic as values and opportunities ought to be created in the agriculture, technology and manufacturing sectors, among others.
Soludo says he does not recommend a permanent lockdown because people must feed by working and contributing to the economy.
For a robust economy, lifestyles, development and wellness of the citizens in post-COVID-19 pandemic situation, therefore, he believes that every decision must be taken by the authorities in the best interest of the nation, the citizens and their survival.(NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria
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