Nigeria's economic hub considers reopening economy amid COVID-19 pandemic

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-18 17:21:51|Editor: huaxia

LAGOS, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's economic hub and epicenter of COVID-19 is considering full re-opening of the critical sectors of its economy after assessing the readiness of businesses, Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.

The move to fully re-open the economy would not be pushed in a hurry, the governor told a regular media briefing on Sunday.

The state government would be rolling out an "Register-to-Open" initiative as part of the plans that would enable it to assess the level of readiness of the players in the identified sectors for supervised operations in the coming days, Sanwo-Olu said.

Officials from the Lagos State Safety Commission and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency would be visiting restaurants, companies, religious houses to assess their level of readiness, the governor said.

With the size of the state's economy and the number of businesses that are operating in Lagos, the government could not afford to keep people and businesses on lockdown permanently, he said.

"We are at a level where we are reviewing the other arms of the economy," the governor told reporters, noting that there is a regulation that will be introduced to supervise this move.

Sanwo-Olu, however, cautioned that the plan to reopen the economy "should not be misinterpreted as a license for full opening."

Lagos is not ready for that now, he said.

Sanwo-Olu urged businesses, religious houses and residents to maintain the status quo while the state works out modalities for full re-opening.

Lagos remains the epicenter of COVID-19 in Nigeria, with 2,550 confirmed cases as at Sunday night, as the country's tally approaches 6,000, according to latest figures from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.

On April 27, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos, and Ogun states, effective from May 4, to allow the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.

Buhari announced new nationwide measures to replace the lockdowns, including overnight curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., banning non-essential inter-state passenger travel, mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public, and partial and controlled inter-state movement of goods and services. Enditem