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Nigerian economy cannot afford another lockdown, LCCI tells FG

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THE Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says the Nigerian economy cannot afford another lockdown even as the spread of Omicron COVID-19 variant continues to generate concerns all over the world.

The LCCI President Michael Olawale-Cole said this in a statement to The ICIR on Thursday.

Olawale-Cole said that the nation’s economy was still recovering from the prolonged lockdown it suffered in 2020 and was still very fragile to experience another one.

To celebrate and sustain the gains and recoveries the economy has received during the past three quarters of this year, Olawale-Cole said that the government must avoid any imposition of lockdown to contain and manage the spread of the virus at all costs.

“While we celebrate the positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth recorded all through the three quarters of this year, the recovery of the economy from the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 is still fragile,” he said.

“The Government must do everything in its power to sustain the positive growth trajectory towards an inclusive and sustainable growth rate.”

He further stated that Nigeria needed a long-term containment strategy and public health action plan to manage epidemics and pandemics without having to lock down the economy.

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Nigeria is among the 50 countries that have confirmed cases of  Omicron variant which was first confirmed in South Africa, and Botswana.

According to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria currently has six cases of the variant.

While information about the variant remains sketchy, governments have reacted with sharp restrictions on international travels and new lockdowns.

Five countries, including the Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Indonesia and Hong Kong have all banned flights from Nigeria.

The ban, especially by the United Kingdom, has been criticised by the Nigerian government, who has since asked that it be reversed.

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