Nobody knows exactly when the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that impacted national economies will end. Nigeria which operates a renting economy and depends on crude oil sales for its revenue is already bearing the brunt. The outbreak of the pandemic has exposed the weakness of Nigeria in so many ways. First, our poor funded healthcare system has been hit badly. The sector suffered total neglect by our leaders who were fond of medical tourism, which cost the country millions of dollars annually.
In the post COVI-19 era, the government should wake up from its deep slumber, go beyond rhetoric and fix our comatose health sector. There is need for governments at all levels to increase budgetary allocations to the health sector. Nigerians want to see newly built hospitals across the country. Government should also employ and train adequate healthcare manpower to confront the ever-increasing health challenges in the country. If these measures are put in place, our moribund healthcare system will be reinvigorated, to curb medical tourism by our elite. The common man who has suffered enough and lost confidence in our healthcare system will heave a sigh of relief.
As it is now well known, the petroleum sector also suffered the devastating effect of COVID-19 as the country is a mono-product economy, and relies on crude oil to fund capital and recurrent expenditures. Due to the sharp fall in crude oil price, the 2020 budget has been reviewed downwards to reflect reality. Some of the drastic measures so far taken are closure of border and increase in VAT. These policies have yielded positive results. In post COVID-19 era, the government should go beyond these policies. Our money guzzling democracy should be properly examined and cost of running it drastically reduced. The National Assembly has continued to milk the country dry through over-bloated salaries and allowances. There is need for government to cut the salary and allowances of our legislators to save cost of governance.
The post COVID-19 period should serve as a time for sober reflection and reassessment of our economy. Let government do whatever that is necessary to fix our battered economy
• Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua wrote from Kaduna State.