The President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mrs. Onome Joy Adewuyi, has called on Nigerians to embrace and patronise “Made-in-Nigeria” products post-COVID-19.
She also urged the Federal Government to increase funding and incentives to the informal sector of the economy to boost local production and enhance capacity development.
She made the call during an interaction with newsmen in Lagos, saying one of the great lessons from the covid-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown was the ingenuity displayed by Nigerians by producing their own facemasks, water/soap dispensers, sanitizers, personal protective equipment and ventilators.
“Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. 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,” she added.
While calling on the government to latch in on this to drive national economic revival, she advised that the effort should be reinforced through more investment in tertiary institutions to fine-tune these inventions.
Speaking further, Adewuyi said since the lockdown prevented many people and corporate entities from going about their value-creating activities, the hardest hit were SMEs and other players in the informal sector.
She called on governments to focus on how to support these entities and people who contribute the most to national economic growth, adding that most of the SMEs might have consumed their capital in order to survive.
“There is a 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,” she suggested.For economic growth, the ICAN President attributed identified the bane of development in Nigeria as over-dependence on oil, and poor infrastructure such as power supply, roads, rail, health, education facilities and potable water.
While harping on diversification, Adewuyi also urged Nigeria to evolve a strategy for the export of intangible human expertise to drive its development.
She further called for the creation of business hubs based on specialization in different zones of the country. She added: “While agriculture is key and should be mechanised, 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 produce to add value and earn foreign exchange.