The Coronavirus disease, COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of the
public health system of many countries. The global pandemic has precipitated fundamental
disruptions that that will change the ways in which many things are done the
world forever. Nigeria is not left out.
For Nigeria to handle COVID-19 successfully, especially in view of
Nigeria`s weak public health system and paucity of funds, I need to make two
overriding points: the need to depart from international strategy by developing
a Nigerian Strategy in managing COVID-19 and diversification of the economy in
view of dwindling oil revenue.
On the need for a Nigerian Strategy on COVID-19, I call on the federal
government to interrogate available quinine medications and to engage Nigerian
virologists & infectious diseases specialists, public health professionals
and Traditional & Herbal medicine Institutions with a view to exploring
local Nigerian solutions to COVID-19. This approach will also help to enhance
the capacity of Nigerian Specialists. This is in line with the policy of
promoting and utilizing local content. I
also call on the Federal government to develop a decentralized strategy for COVID-19 by delegating and assigning some
responsibility to State governments.
It is gratifying to note that the federal government has already
initiated some measures including a lockdown policy. While commending the
federal government for the COVID-19 measures taken so far, I am concerned with
the sustainability of the lockdown policy in view of lack of social welfare
system and scarce financial resources. I therefore call on the government to
lift the strict lockdown restrictions and allow some flexibility so as to allow
some level of work and economic activities within some parameters.
The strategy for diversifying the economy has been urgent and very
important as part of the post COVID-19 economic strategy. To this end there is
need to strengthen the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The National
Trade and Transportation policies need to be adopted, and so is the need for
the enactment of trade remedy legislation. Nigeria also must take issues
relating to digital economy seriously. A well developed digital economy will
not only create millions of jobs, improve citizens` taxable income, and
generate revenue for government, which directly increases government spending
power. The federal government must ensure the implementation of the National
Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Document 2020-2030.
I conclude by stating that the time has come for the federal government
of Nigeria to adopt the policy of thinking globally and acting locally in
solving the COVID-19 problem. What we need is home-grown Nigerian solution
independent of the efforts being made in developed countries. While the West
has the resources for a total lockdown we must adopt our Nigerian COVID-19
Strategy to suit local and Nigerian situation.