Against the backdrop of the extension of the eased lockdown by four weeks, the Federal Government has been advised to open up the economy completely to enable the local economy to flourish.
The advice came from the Member representing Anambra East and West Federal Constituency in National Assembly, Chinedu Obidigwe during a press interview.
According to Obidigwe, as a developing nation, the Nigerian government cannot cater for the needs of the citizens and therefore needs the support of individual operators in the economy to address the numerous issues around unemployment, wealth creation and youths empowerment.
These activities, he noted, have been grounded as a result of the economic lockdown.
“Nigeria as a developing nation cannot continue to lock down the economy because of obvious reasons. Government at this time, must begin the process for the total reopening of the economy to ensure that our economy survives. The lockdown has done a whole lot of damage but that’s understandable because it was novel at the time. Now is time to bring back economic activities on a full scale,” Obidigwe maintained.
He, however, emphasized that the economy will be opened up on the condition that people must strictly adhere to all COVID-19 protocols especially the use of hand-sanitizers and wearing of nose masks.
Obidigwe, who is also the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Environment, also advised the government to initiate measures to support the local economy to survive the harsh effects of the 3-month lockdown.
This he noted, may come in the form of tax relief, financial palliative or loans.
“The only way to survive the effect of the lockdown is by injecting funds into the local economy with particular concern on agriculture. The government can supply agric implements such as seedlings, fertilizers or loans to peasant farmers to enable them to increase their production capacity.
“We must recognize that to solve the challenge of starvation which stares us in the face as a country by next year, we must deploy resources to the Agric sector to boost food production. With food sufficiency, we will be in a vantage point to solve other issues brought about by the pandemic. This may be a veritable opportunity for Nigeria to take full advantage of Agriculture as a foreign exchange earner and end the dominance by oil. We all know how the survival of the Nigerian economy was threatened by the epileptic and dynamic price of crude in the global market in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. We must not allow Nigeria to face such negative situation again,” the Lawmaker observed.
Speaking on sundry issues, Obidigwe called on the federal government to improve the security of lives nationwide, citing northeast as a case study.