Dr Terhemba Wuam of Kaduna State University (KASU), on Saturday, called on the Federal and state governments to consider palliative measures to cushion the effect of shutting down the country over Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Wuam, an Associate Professor of Economic History, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Kaduna, while reacting to the current shutdown across the country.
He explained that the palliatives should particularly target the poor and the vulnerable, who would be worst hit with expected hash economic condition in coming days.
He said that the private sector and the government would be badly hit, adding that the country’s revenue would drastically decline following crash of oil price and the loss of productivity.
This, according to him, would lead to serious cash crumb, adding that if the virus was not contained quickly, government may need to start thinking about how to mitigate the effect on the people.
Wuam commended the federal and state governments for taking proactive step by shutting down airports, schools, including religious and social gathering to limit human contact.
According to him, the measure will significantly curb the spread of the virus in the country, particularly in states where cases has not been recorded yet.
“I really commended the governments for taking steps to tackle the spread of COVID-19 through social distance by practically shutting down cities and states.
“Although it appeared, we should have been better prepared for the shutdown, it will, nonetheless, significantly minimise the rapid spread of the deadly virus in the country.
“The spontaneous response is highly commendable for a virus that is still mutating with little idea on the extent of damage it will eventually do following it devastating impact and threat to human existence.”
The university don, however, noted that life would be tough for most people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, who mostly live from hand to mouth.
He pointed out that the shutdown would have significant effect on the economy, stressing that “2020 is going to be a very lean year with accompanied hash economic condition for everyone.
“There was no rush to shop and stuck pile food and other basic essentials, because people thought the virus is not going to come into the country.
“Now that it is here and the country is systematically shutting down, if markets are eventually closed, some commodities will become scarce and the effect will be unbearable and hash for the poor.
“This is because there are so many people that will not be able to eat if they do not go to the market.”
He, therefore, stressed the need for the governments to think about possible palliative measures to save the poor and the vulnerable from possible shock.
He said: “The government of the United States of America and other European countries for instance, are considering given every individual some amount of money as palliative to the economic effect of the pandemic.
“Although the federal government has reduced the price of fuel and Nigeria’s apex bank has equally come up with some supports for businesses, there is the need for specific intervention for the poor.”
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu and Isaac Ukpoju