The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) says it has become necessary to review the near one-month old lockdown order and replace it with a more strategic approach favourable to the Nigerian economy.
Its Director-General, Amb. Ayoola Olukanni gave the advice in a statement to newsmen on Saturday in Lagos.
Olukanni, lauding the efforts of the various levels of government at curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus and providing palliatives for the less privileged, said the continued lockdown was taking its toll on businesses across the country.
“First, we commend the Federal and State Governments for their determined efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the nation, using various strategies such as campaigns on social distancing, and adherence to health prescriptions such as sanitising and washing of hands.
“We also note that lockdowns which has been in use, was also designed to stop the spread, especially in a place like Lagos which was one of the epicenters of the virus.
“We also commend the efforts of various organisations to provide palliatives to the less privileged.
“Members of NACCIMA across the country have indeed been making donations in kind and cash across the country to relevant groups and institutions.
“This is a reflection of commitment of NACCIMA and its members to play its role in the fight against the deadly virus and its various negative economic and social impacts.
“While we understand the reasons for the lockdown which has been on for almost a month; it has become necessary to review the lockdown order and replace it with a more strategic approach for various reasons.
“The continued lockdown is taking a serious toll on businesses across the country and ripple effects on security is becoming alarming; especially as miscreants seized the opportunity to rob citizens and break into business premises.
“Consideration should be given to gradual opening of some businesses and other commercial operations,” he said.
According to him, steps should be taken to allow some categories of workers to resume work and business operations while keeping to safety.
“Protocols such as wearing of face masks, social distancing ban on large gatherings and increased use of testing to identify those who may have been affected and requiring isolation and treatment.
“Certainly a lockdown order ad-infinitum is not sustainable and many of our members are of the view that this should be reviewed to ease the lockdown,” he said.