By Providence Adeyinka
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has called on Nigerians to embrace and patronize “Made-in-Nigeria” products post covid-19.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, President of ICAN, Mrs. Onome Adewuyi, made the call in Lagos, stating that one of the great lessons from the covid-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown was the ingenuity displayed by Nigerians by producing their own face masks, water/soap dispensers, sanitizers, personal protective equipment and ventilators.
She stated: “Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. In unison, Nigeriansarose and this points to the huge human capacity and creativity that exist in this country. The spirit of ´WE CAN DO IT´ must be embraced, propagated and seriously encouraged.”
Adewuyi advised the government to latch in on the opportunities presented by the pandemic to drive national economic revival, adding that the effort should be reinforced through more investment in tertiary institutions to fine-tune these inventions.
She said since the lockdown prevented many people and corporate entities from going about their value-creating activities, the hardest hit were the SMEs, SMPs and other players in the informal sector.
To this end, she said that the governments must focus on how to support these entities and people who contribute the most to national economic growth, adding that most of the SMEs and SMPs might have consumed their capital in order to survive.
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“There is need for them to be given one-year interest-free loans by development institutions so that they can revive their businesses. When they start to grow and prosper, they will pay back the loans while the government will reap taxes from them.
On steps to be taken to set Nigeria on the path of economic growth, she said that one of the banes of economic growth and development of Nigeria was overdependence on oil and poor infrastructures such as power supply, roads, rail, health, education facilities and potable water.
Adewuyiadvised that diversification of the national source of foreign exchange must be done not only in words and plans but in real investment in infrastructure. She said Nigeria must evolve a strategy for the export of intangible human expertise to drive its development. She also posited that the nation should create business hubs based on specialization in different zones of the country.
“Except the nation adds value to its products before export, we would continue to be at the mercy of our trading partners. We need to process our agricultural products to add value and earn foreign exchange,” she said.