Soludo, others task government on home-grown solution to coronavirus
Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo and civil society groups (CSOs) have charged the Federal, states and local governments to develop home-grown solutions to coronavirus.
They also charged the government at all levels to resolve the economic challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, sinking oil price and explore other untapped economic potentials in the country.
Soludo, who was the guest speaker at a three-hour virtual conference on zoom hosted by The Governance Index – a social enterprise network dedicated to promoting purposeful leadership around the world.
Other participants at the conference were Transform Nigeria Citizens Initiative (TNCI), Concerned Nigerians Forum (CNF) and Governance Index (GI).
Besides Soludo, panellists including a Sloan Fellow from London Business School (LBS), Marcel Ngogbehei, Communications Consultant for ECOWAS and EU, Paul Ejime, Management and Financial Consultant, Orji Udemezue, Public Policy Consultant, Alwal Hassan and over 150 professionals around the world, participated in the conference.
They agreed that there was the need for policymakers in Nigeria to strategise and provide a homegrown solution to avert an imminent economic crisis that might be triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and crash in oil price.
The conference titled, “COVID-19 and The Oil Price Crash, Its Implications For Nigeria,” was the second of the series: ‘COVID-19: Turning A Crisis Into Opportunities’ being promoted by the GI.
Participants reviewed the historical net oil export income of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), pointing out that although Nigeria was within the average income earning brackets, it plunges to the bottom if its income was divided among its over 198m citizens-net export per capita.
They lamented that Angola, Algeria and Congo ranked above Nigeria but that the rating effectively measures the quality of life of the citizens based on their oil earnings, adding, “Nigeria is not making effective use of its huge population potentials.”
Soludo said, “We need to commit resources and develop strategies for manpower development to improve the productive capability of Nigerians, that is, provide required infrastructure and knowledge, thereby improving their market value and productivity.
Continuing, he said, “Madagascar has opened its economy and with no death record from COVID-19. Ethiopia also did not lockdown its economy but allowed Ethiopia Airlines to continue operating and yet Ethiopia has one of the lowest cases of COVID-19 in Africa.
“It is time for Nigeria to start thinking ‘without the box’. There is the need for self-belief by the Nigerian government so that we can come out of the pandemic and position the country for economic benefits post-COVID-19.”
The participants further submitted that government at various level should invest heavily in Agriculture and work towards improving agricultural produce.
“Nigeria is yet to cultivate 60 per cent of its arable land and should identify various agricultural produce that thrive in different parts of the country, cultivate them and extract maximum value,” they added.
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