MANUFACTURERS, TRADERS IN ONITSHA LAMENT EFFECT OF COVID-19 OUTBREAK ON BUSINESSES
Business owners and traders have expressed concerns over the declining state of the economy in the country, following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Those, who spoke with Radio Nigeria in Onitsha, said they had already scaled down production, and importation of goods, due to the closure of airports and borders.
According to them, the development has also exposed the country as a consuming nation, who depends largely on importation rather than manufacturing.
Since the outbreak of the corona virus in Wuhan, Central China, in December 2019, some factories in that country have remained closed, while workers have been forced to stay out of work as part of attempts by authorities to curtail the spread of the virus.
As China’s economy struggles with the virus, the economies of other countries are also being affected, directly or indirectly, by the pandemic.
Nigeria is not exempted by this decline in trade with China due to the Coronavirus.
A visit to some market in onitsha shows that prices of some goods skyrocketed, a development attributed to the current outbreak of corona virus.
Factories were also affected because most of them imported raw materials from foreign countries, which had also been hit by the pandemic.
A trader at the Onitsha main market, Mr. Ben Okigbo, lamented the effect of the outbreak on his business.
He explained that by this time in previous years, he must have travelled up to two times but the outbreak of the virus had restricted his movement.
Another trader, Mr. Afam onyeizu, who complained bitterly about the effects of Coronavirus outbreak on his business, expressed fears that scarcity may hit the Nigerian markets in a few months time, if the outbreak persisted.
But a pertinent question is: Could made in Nigeria goods fill the vacuum being created by scarcity of imported items?
A manufacturer, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, explained that most of the raw materials for local production are brought in from other countries.
He lamented that Nigeria’s over-reliance on foreign products had affected the nation’s home-based producers.
An economist, Mr. Ugonna Egeonu, pointed out that the effect of the coronavirus on Nigerian traders was an eye opener to all Nigerians to begin to produce and accept made in Nigeria products, to boost the country’s economy.
The respondents expressed the hope that the world would soon win the fierce battle against Coronavirus, which had brought many economies to a halt.