The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has warned that the Federal Government must not consider a second lockdown despite the rising COVID-19 cases as this would lead to a severe food crisis and counter-productive for an already ailing economy.
The MAN Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, adding that while it is necessary to remain healthy, it is also vital to keep the economy afloat.
He advised that stricter measures be taken to implement COVID-19 protocols.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Boss Mustapha, had earlier declared a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
On Thursday, the National Economic Council had said a lockdown would be the last resort in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, and many Nigerians are already agitated over the possibility of another lockdown.
In an interview with SaharaReporters on Friday, Ajayi-Kadir stated that there was a need to be circumspect in terms of the long term plans to deal with the COVID-19 rather than a second lockdown.
He said, “I think the position that the government should adopt is that we should recommit to ensure stricter implementation and enforcement of COVID-19 protocols such that industries are not locked down, and they can continue to produce and to continue to make their products available in the market.
“The food crisis that may emerge from another lockdown could be better imagined; all of us could see the #EndSARS protest and the unfortunate incident that followed it. People were so hungry that they invaded places where palliatives were kept, and we could see how they were running all over the place trying to get food to eat.
“There have been disruptions based on the COVID-19 lockdown and even the insecurity across the country. These two factors have severely limited food production and movement of food across the country. If we have another wave of lockdown, the impact on citizens in terms of hunger and malnutrition will be too much for the economy to take.”
Ajayi-Kadir revealed that manufacturers had been having a discussion regarding the possible impact of another round of lockdown and had agreed to commit to ensuring stricter adherence to the COVID-19 protocols, “because we recognise that it will be counter-productive to lock down the economy for the second time especially because most people, and I think rightly so, believe that COVID-19 is majorly responsible for the recession that the country has entered into.”