Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) and Prof. Kanu Ikechukwu of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Tansian University, Enugu, have advised the Federal Government to adopt measures to contain the spread of the disease and to treat the infected.
This is just as they contended that the ability to stop its spread and treat the sick will have very positive consequences on the economy and that the Federal government should apply the lessons learnt while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic to revitalise the country’s economy.
They gave the advice at the online summit of JIFORM today with the titled, “Migration; COVID-19 Era: The Role of Stakeholders.
JIFORM President, Ajibola Abayomi, who spoke for the forum called on migration journalists to help reposition the economy
According to Ajibola, “We must therefore not fail to make the lessons being learnt count in future day to day life by re-orientating the people to be more committed to nation building and the need for government to be more responsible to the governed.
Speaking further, he said, “In Africa, there is need to reappraise the migration policy and make it tally with the economic mentality. The reality at the moment is that many Governments on the continent have failed woefully to invest in health, agriculture, infrastructure, education, commerce and industry as well as social security of the citizens. If we must reach our goals and live the dreams of the founding fathers, clearly both the government and the people must have a rededicate themselves and amend their ways.”
The JIFORM boss contended that the solutions to the economic challenges in the world lies in the manner countries manage migration policy, adding that people cannot but move from one location to the other for the purpose of commerce, relationship, survival, safety and others.
On his part, Prof. Kanu Ikechukwu while addressing members of JIFORM spread across Africa, advised the Federal Government to assist the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) considering the challenges they facing brought about by COVID-19 pandemic also for their contributions to the Nigerian economy
He argued that with COVID-19 ravaging every aspect of human endeavour, SME’s inclusive; the Federal Government should support their operations if they must continue to exist.
In his words, “To boost the economy, the Federal Government needs to intervene in the area of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME). These SMEs are significant as they contribute to economic development of the nation through their assets, revenues and employees.
“With COVID-19 threatening their existence, many who work with them will be going home without salary, may be for the second month. Some are already running serious losses unlike bigger establishments that have reserves to keep them going. For the economy to survive at this time, the government needs to bail out these SMEs.
“To protect the economy, there might be the need to look at the cost of governance. No system can maintain a large board at a time like this. No economy can make serious progress when its running cost is on the lead of other costs.”
The Professor, who is also a Consultant, Civil Society Network on Migration and Development,
He called for the suspension of servicing or cancelation of international debts, contending that if that was done, the local economy would be given the breathing space to recover from the economic depression which COVID-19 pandemic has created.
“The Nigerian government must lead economic diversification drive. It is obvious that the one-tracked, monolithic reliance on oil has failed. Diversification priorities would lead to alternative economic sectors such as agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing and services sectors” he advised.
The situation, he stated was gradually dragging the Nigerian economy deeper and deeper into recession, adding that it is more challenging for Nigeria as she is still sluggishly grappling with recovery from the 2016 economic recession, which was a fall out of global oil price crash and insufficient foreign exchange earnings to meet imports.
On the way forward, he said, “The immediate focus of the nation should be on measures to contain the spread of the disease and to treat the infected. The ability to stop its spread and treat the sick will have very positive consequences on the economy.”
He continued, “Nigeria will need to bring together quality minds that would sit together and develop an economic model that is peculiar to the present situation and capable of saving the economy of the nation. This economic team will have to be selected not on the basis of ethnicity, religion or political party, but on the basis of competence. That is, if anything positive is to be expected from the team.”