ICAN President Dame Onome Adewuyi FCA has implored the federal government of Nigeria to take strong steps to avert looming economic depression caused by Corona Virus pandemic. The first step should be reducing the debt service portion of the budget so as to free some money to lubricate the local economy. Another strategy, she said, should be a scrupulous implementation of fiscal and economic stimulus introduced by the government in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown.
Dame Adewuyi who fielded questions from the media in Lagos identified “overdependence on oil and poor infrastructure in the areas of power supply, roads, rail, health, education facilities and potable water” as the banes of economic growth and development of Nigeria. She pointed out that these should be tackled through committed diversification of the source of foreign exchange and huge investment in infrastructure.
She said that the country possesses enormous potentials that should be harnessed for improved foreign exchange earnings in three areas namely, human capital, technology and agriculture.
“We must evolve a strategy for the export of our intangible human expertise. We must create our own Silicon Valley to drive our development. The nation should create business hubs based on specialisation in different zones of the country”, she stressed.
On agriculture she called for mechanization of its methods and processing of output so that the nation could add value to its produce before export in order to free itself from the clutches of trading partners.
She said the country should internalise the value of using ‘Made in Nigeria’ products as the global economic lockdown has shown that the country has what it takes to evolve effective home grown business and economic solutions and also called on government to invest more in the country’s tertiary educational institutions to enable them fine tune their inventions.
“With the pandemic and lockdown, Nigerians brought to the fore their ingenuity by producing face masks, water/soap dispensers, sanitizers, personal protective equipment and ventilators. The government should latch on to this to drive national economic revival”, she averred.
She called on government to support the organizations and people that contribute the most to national economic growth during the Covid-19 period by giving them one-year interest free loans through development finance institutions so that they could revive their businesses.