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Nigeria can’t afford another COVID-19 lockdown – Group

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HIGH profile business men and stakeholders under the aegis of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged government to avoid imposition of lockdown of the economy even as the spread of Omicron COVID-19 variant continues to generate concerns.

 President of LCCI, Michael Olawale-Cole, said the nation’s economy is still recovering from the prolonged lockdown it suffered in 2020 and fragile to experience another one, adding that the country needed to sustain the gains and recoveries the economy has received during the past three quarters of this year.

  “While we celebrate the positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth recorded all through the three quarters of this year, the recovery of the economy from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 is still fragile. The government must do everything in its power to sustain the positive growth trajectory towards an inclusive and sustainable growth rate,” he said.

  Explaining that Nigeria needed a long-term containment strategy and public health action plan to manage epidemics and pandemics without having to lock down the economy, while in the short term considering Nigeria’s low vaccination coverage, Olawale-Cole recommended that the government should develop and deploy strategies to get more citizens vaccinated.

  “These strategies need to address both the supply and demand-side challenges to vaccination. On the supply side, there is a need to have constructive engagement directly with vaccine manufacturers and indirectly through the COVAX facility. On the demand side, there is a need to continuously educate citizens on the safety of vaccines and the importance of being vaccinated.

We also emphasise the need for government to provide the necessary support and enabling environment for the private sector to invest heavily in the manufacture of vaccines that can meet our domestic demand and for export, adding that  in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), this has the potential to be a major source to earn foreign exchange,” he said.

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