Thursday, April 16, 2020 /12:00AM / Bukola
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Dr. Boniface Chizea an economist and CEO BIC Consultancy has called on the Federal Government to seize the moment of the COVID-19 Pandemic, to take critical policy steps like the deregulation of the petroleum sector. This according to him will open up the Oil and Gas industry to immense opportunities, that will transform the Nigerian economy.
Speaking on the need at this time of pandemic to have a central economic management strategy, the economist was of the opinion that it was good that the government was thinking about the challenges of the citizens as the pandemic takes its toll on the economy.
According to him, the situation was still in a flux which would make planning difficult. He suggested that the government should start thinking ahead as the challenge of forward planning in Nigeria was obvious.
Speaking on his projection for the economy, he said, if the lockdown continues the economy would likely tilt into a recession, even while the inflation rate is still above 12% and domestic interest rate was equally high.
On the issue of employment openings during the pandemic, Dr. Chizea said the economy was already shutdown and would need to reopen before talking about economic activities.
Concerning palliatives, he tasked the federal government to make provisions for private sector enterprises beyond just the poor and vulnerable members of society. In some areas, he believed that the government could step in and provide incentives for the private sector which will ensure that there are no massive job layoffs. He also called for a strategic approach to the social intervention fund.
According to the CEO of Frontier Africa Reports, Mr Boason Omafaye, there was a need for central coordination of COVID-19 economic intervention by both the fiscal and monetary authorities. He said that the first thing was to commend the president, and his team for listening. The however noted that there was an urgent need for the central coordination of all fiscal stimulus efforts, noting that activities and actions need to be harmonized to achieve optimal impact. He pointed out that the office of the vice president had shown strong capacity to do things appropriately.
He charged the government to come up with an education system stimulus package for parents that would enable them afford schools fees after the pandemic.
Speaking on the virus spread which was now over one million people globally, Omofaye called on the national emergency management Agency (NEMA) to operate at a higher level of efficiency and competence, particularly in the distribution of relief materials nationwide. He explained further that the agency would be required to manage the country's strategic food reserve and ensure its national distribution.
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