Hon., Engr. Chris Emeka Azubogu, the member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi-South, and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency has said that Nigeria can develop local capacity instead of relying on overseas procurement at a time like this.
He beckoned on the Federal Government to quickly liaise with our public and private research institutes for the manufacture of PPEs [Personal Protective Equipment] locally.
The lawmaker made the call on Tuesday April 28, while contributing to a motion at the resumed plenary of the House of Representatives after the long break occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that instead of waiting for procurement of PPEs needed to expedite the fight against COVID-19 in the country from overseas, we can develop locally made alternatives.
Reiterating his stand that Nigeria could turn the COVID-19 crisis into opportunity, Hon. Azubogu is enthusiastic that we can become a major manufacturer of PPEs, stressing that the economic multiplier effects of such development, when attained, will be multidimensional.
The lawmaker who had as early as January 28th, 2020 called on the Government to evolve precautionary measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time most people believed that it will not reach Nigeria, said that it is time for us to explore our internal abilities as a people.
Addressing the media post plenary, Azubogu observed that every Nation is striving to see what it can do internally while also looking outside.
“We should seriously pay attention to Prof Maurice Iwu’s claims of having a curative drug for COVID-19; as well as exploiting the potency of other local herbs against the pandemic. Our ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant agencies should give our local herbs and drugs a trial.”
“The world is currently doing trial and error in search of cure for the pandemic and nothing stops our country from doing same using local contents.” He said.
Hon. Azubogu pointed out that since Senegal has developed a $1 test kit for COVID-19 that is very fast and considerably affordable, nothing stops us from acquiring these kits for massive testing since even the NCDC is complaining of shortage of testing kits.
If today, the Federal Government is considering the use of Madagascar’s locally manufactured drugs believed to cure and prevent COVID-19, while we do that on the short run, we should as well consider our local production, he said.
The Nnewi local manufacturing hub born Azubogu stated that, “we are going to be faced with unemployment induced crisis in the post COVID-19 economy and the need to resort to local production of some of what we need will help us create jobs and reduce capital flight.
“This is a global crisis and in every crisis lies opportunities and I want our Government to see and harness these opportunities that could turn our 200-million population into a Manufacturing hub for the African Region. We can be the answer the world is searching for at a time like this”, Azubogu said.