Nigeria must not allow the bitter lessons of the coronavirus pandemic to go to waste, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has advised.
Rather, he said, Nigerians should learn from other countries around the world that adopted drastic measures to protect their people and economies, by looking inwards.
Mr Emefiele, who noted the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic on countries and the global economy, said the novel disease has “rapidly permeated and profoundly changed the world.”
He said the crisis, which has led to a public health challenge, claiming the lives of over 123,600 people worldwide, has done incalculable damages to the global economy.
Apart from crude oil prices, which have declined, he said global airlines lost about $252 billion in revenue, with the pain growing across other industries, from hospitality to services.
“These outcomes have expectedly thrown the global economy into a recession, the depth and duration of which is currently difficult to fathom,” the CBN governor said.
“In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the global economy would decline by 3 per cent this year,” he added.
The crisis, Mr Emefiele said, has forced countries to move away from “multilateralism”, by “fighting for themselves with several measures to protect their own people and economies, regardless of the spillover effects on the rest of the world.”
How economies reacted to COVID-19
Citing the World Customs Organisation (WCO) statistics, Mr Emefiele said about 32 countries and territories adopted stringent and immediate export restrictions on critical medical supplies and drugs specifically meant to respond to COVID-19 pandemic.
As of April 10, the Global Trade Alert Team at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland said about 75 countries adopted 102 export restriction policies, with Germany announcing an export ban on all medical protection gears, including breathing masks, medical gloves and protective suits.
Also, French President Emmanuel Macron announced his country’s requisition of all face masks produced in the country, while India, between February 8 and April 6, released eight different export notifications banning several drugs and medical supplies.
The drugs and equipment included hydroxychloroquine, ventilators, personal protections masks, oxygen therapy apparatus, and breathing devices.
Besides, on April 3, he said the United States government invoked the war-era U.S. Defence Production Act to stop major U.S. mask manufacturer, 3M, from the export of respirator masks, N95, to Canada and Latin America.
Again, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reported that about 37 countries also enacted various food and agricultural produce export restrictions in response to COVID-19.
For instance, he said Vietnam, reputed to be the world’s third-largest exporter of rice, suspended granting rice export certificates until the country “reviews domestic inventories”.
Likewise, Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, announced a ten-day ban on the export of buckwheat and rice due to concerns over panic buying in local supermarkets.