Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Nigeria must prepare for Post COVID-19 Global Order by turning the tragedy of the pandemic into an opportunity for a new Nigeria.
In a speech obtained by THISDAY titled: ‘Turning the Covid-19 Tragedy into an Opportunity for a New Nigeria,’ Emefiele said the outbreak of the disease in China had rapidly permeated and profoundly changed the world.
He said the impact of the pandemic had thrown the global economy into a recession, the depth and duration of which was currently difficult to fathom.
“In fact, the international Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the global economy would decline by 3 per cent this year.
“Around the world, countries have moved away from multilateralism and responded by fighting for themselves with several measures to protect their own people and economies, regardless of the spillover effects on the rest of the world,” Emefiele said.
He consequently raised several posers aimed at awakening Nigeria to several possible scenarios post COVID-19 pandemic.
“What if these restrictions become the new normal? What if the Covid-19 pandemic continues in a second wave or another pandemic occurs in which all borders are shut, and food imports are significantly restricted? What if we cannot seek medical care outside Nigeria and must rely on local hospitals and medical professionals? For how long shall we continue to rely on the world for anything and everything?” he asked.
Noting that these possible developments are troubling, Emefiele said “they present a clear opportunity to re-echo a persistent message the CBN has been sending for a long time, and at this time even more urgently so: we must look inwards as a nation and guarantee food security, high quality and affordable healthcare, and cutting-edge education for our people.”
He said: “We do not know what the world will look like after this pandemic. Countries may continue to look inwards and globalization as we know it today may be dead for a generation.
“Therefore, as a nation, we cannot afford to continue relying on the world for our food, education and healthcare.”
Emefiele said the time had come to fully transform Nigeria into a modern, sophisticated and inclusive economy that is “self-sufficient, rewards the hardworking, but protects the poor and vulnerable, and can compete internationally across a range of strategic sectors.”
To achieve this, the CBN governor said, Nigerians must begin immediately to support the Federal Government to build a base of high quality infrastructure, including reliable power, that can engender industrial activity.
He also said there must be support for both smallholder and large scale agriculture production in select stable and cash crops; and creation of an ecosystem of factories, storages and logistics companies that move raw materials to factories and finished goods to markets.
He also canvassed for the use of the nation’s fiscal priorities to create a robust educational system that enables critical thinking and creativity, which would better prepare Nigerian children for the world of tomorrow.
Other suggestions he made include development of a healthcare system that is trusted to keep all Nigerians healthy, irrespective of social class; facilitation of access to cheap and long-term credit for SMEs and large corporates; developing and strengthening pro-poor policies that bring financial services and security to the poor and vulnerable; and expediting the development of venture capitalists for nurturing new ideas and engendering Nigerian businesses to compete globally.
More details later….