Zainab Abubakar, a lecturer with Economics Department, Federal University, Dutse, FUD, Jigawa says the COVID-19 pandemic presented opportunity for Nigeria to be economically independent.
Mrs Abubakar stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.
She explained that: “necessity is the mother of invention”, adding this development become very necessary for the country to diversify its economy by looking inward, produce and manufacture what would be consumed.
She said this is paramount since the coronavirus had made some countries to restrict movements to contain spread of the disease.
“With this development, we shall soon find ourselves lacking so many things that are imported, this is an opportunity to become a producing economy. Even though it is a bad situation, blessings can be drawn from it.
“This is an opportunity to boost the Nigerian economy and become economically independent to a great extent” she said.
The lecturer commended the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for rolling out some palliative measures to cushion the effects, the COVID-19 might cause.
Mrs Abubakar noted that the palliatives would help to boost manufacturing sector since the interest on loans had been brought down.
She added that with the development, pharmaceutical and health sectors were expected to also improve in its production.
According to her, there is no point importing sanitisers and nose masks as the the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, in the country have the capacity to produce such.
“I believe we can produce our own sanitisers and nose masks as the demand for such products are very high now”.
NAN recalls that CBN on Monday announced reduction of interest rates in all its intervention facilities from 9 per cent to five per cent per annum for one year to ameliorate the effects of coronavirus pandemic on businesses.
The reduction of the interest rates took effect from March 1. The apex bank had also extended moratorium of all CBN interventions on all principal repayment for one year effective from March 1.
The CBN governor explained that this means that any intervention loan currently under moratorium is hereby granted additional period of one year.
The apex bank also reiterated its readiness to give credit to pharmaceutical industries and hospitals that wish to expand or build in view of this coronavirus outbreak.