By Kunle Oyatomi
The lockdown that followed the pandemic Covid-19 has not only sparked a sudden fiscal crisis across Nigeria, it is also presenting serious economic challenges that we all shall wrestle with in the years to come. Development economists however, insist that the real concern would not be how we grieve over what has happened, but how we stop it from ensnaring the future of the country and its teeming masses. Translation: we must permit the scourge to help the government and the private sector ‘’accelerate decisions on a number of structural issues that have impeded Nigeria over the…years.’’
Only a few days ago the State government of Osun took that forward-looking step into the post-Covid-19 era by rolling out a policy that the experts predict would without doubt reverse the pandemic-induced losses and revitalize the economy of the state in no little way.
Majorly, the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola hopes to ‘’generate 15,000 jobs annually through the advancement of vocational and technical trainings.’’ The plan is meant to ‘’strengthen industrialisation, commerce and investment,’’ while emphasizing ‘’commitment to capital development as part of its economic repositioning strategy.’’ Government officials say there is a move to give ‘the stimulus package’ a global flavor through involving international donors. The point here is to forestall potential drawbacks in sourcing funds and expertise from the domestic scene. Thus, the government is blocking possible avenues for failure of the project or its suspension halfway.
The authorities’ concern is that since the end-user of all this strategic drive is the citizen, nothing should be spared, at the local or international level, to achieve the goal. The citizen is the supreme component of society. Any harm done him or her that results in social, economic, cultural, political or health deprivation is harm to the entire polity. The citizen, therefore, is the pivot of any community.
If progressively, the APC government of Oyetola is able to kit 15,000 denizens of Osun with jobs annually in the next few years, all things being equal, the state would boost fresh statistics of development and growth to add to its enviable record as Nigeria’s third richest state. One employed Nigerian amounts to the empowerment of a household, given the fact that once you have a job, you have not less than five dependents. The composite picture reveals a trickle down syndrome: more money flows into the system, which in turn reflates the economy. The government itself benefits from the cycle because it takes in taxes that help it to pay workers’ salaries and build critical infrastructure needed to sustain society.
We can conclude that although the deadly Covid-19 pandemic brought a disastrous lockdown with an accompanying heavy toll, the APC government in Osun has drawn appropriate lessons that, in effect, would drown the tragedy unleashed by the virus. We mourn the loss of lives. We are saddened by the economic depression it brought. We feared extinction of humanity as coronavirus spread unchallenged. We groped for a vaccine to curb its tentacles. But at the end of it all, Osun has succeeded in revealing to us that there is better life after Covid-19.