The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) on Wednesday commended the Federal Government for gradually winding down lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and FCT, to enable businesses come back to life after four weeks of total lockdown.
Its Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, who gave the commendation in a statement Lagos, said the move would balance safety of lives with safety of livelihood, survival of businesses and the economy.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on April 27 approved a phase and gradual easing of the lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun effective from May 4 at 9 a.m.
“With the intervention, we believe the presidency intends to find a balance between promoting public health and moving toward sustaining the economy.
“As many businesses are on the brink of collapse and require a return to business quickly to stay afloat,” the director-general said.
Olawale said that for businesses to survive and protect their current employment trend, there was need for direct intervention such as direct wage or income support, wage subsidies as done in UK, France and Denmark.
According to him, such step will reduce the negative impact of the lockdown on businesses and slow the rate of job losses.
“Of more importance, the association calls for regular consultation with critical stakeholders and the Organised Private Sector for development of workable modalities in the gradual winding down of the lockdown.
“This is to know the challenges confronting businesses due to the lockdown and come up with friendlier approaches,” Olawale said.
The director-general called on governments at all levels to regularly review its guidelines and policies after consultations with critical stakeholders, especially the medical team.
He said that such review was to avoid a situation of a second wave of the pandemic, as in the Ghana and China experiences.
“Also, the Philadelphia experience of 1918 on the Spanish flu should also be noted to avoid a repeat of history.
“The association, therefore, called on Federal and State governments to put in place national guidelines to further prevent the spread of the virus,” Olawale said.