‘Local production of vaccines, a major source of forex for Nigeria under AfCFTA’
By exploring opportunities in the production of vaccines rather than being dependent on importation from developed countries, Nigeria stands a chance to improve its foreign exchange earnings from the continent, within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This was the position of the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, while providing the chamber’s position on the management of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
According to him, despite the positive growth recorded all through the three quarters of 2021, the recovery of the economy from the impact of Covid-19 in 2020 is still fragile.
Olawale-Cole warned that any imposition of lockdown as a measure to contain and manage the spread of the virus should be avoided at all cost, recommending that Nigeria needs a long-term containment strategy and public health action plan to manage epidemics and pandemics without having to lock down the economy.
According to him, Nigeria and other African countries are obviously lagging behind in terms of total vaccinations, even as he highlighted steps to strengthen Nigeria’s response to the Covid-19 virus.
“The Government needs to clamp down on any existing vaccine card racketeers who issue fake vaccination cards to outbound travelers from Nigeria to developed countries. Any trace of fake vaccination certificates to Nigeria is damaging to our international reputation.
“In addition the Government needs to create an intelligence monitoring mechanism to check the utilisation of funds allocated to Covid-19 interventions”, he added.
He urged every Nigerian and other nationals within the country to increase compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols and continue to take precautions against the virus.
“We must all work towards a safer Nigeria. Let us free our mind and stop being hesitant about taking the COVID-19 vaccine. The fear of dying after receiving the vaccine and other conspiracy theories should be perished. We encourage everyone to take the shots so we can protect ourselves and others from the disastrous effects of the virus,” he said.
He appealed to government at all levels to declare a state of emergency for the COVID-19 vaccine to be made available, easily accessible and administered to more Nigerians.
“The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) needs to conduct quick studies on the new variant and advise the Government on the next steps of containment,” he said.