- Aviation, Entertainment, Hospitality Sector Next
Torn between balancing reactivation of economic activities and the continuation of the State’s response to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Lagos State Government has set the process of re-opening its economy in motion, with the rollout of Register-to-Open guidelines.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu made this known while speaking at a webinar organized by First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Group, with the theme: “A Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities – A View from the Frontlines”.
Sanwo-Olu joined Governors of Kaduna and Edo states, Mallam Nasir el-Rufa’i and Godwin Obaseki as a panelist in the online discussion.
“We have been caught in a very delicate situation between managing COVID-19 on one hand and managing hunger and sustaining an economy that is not only dependent on commercial activities in Lagos alone but also other States across the federation. We have had weeks of engagement with players in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and part of the measures we are taking is that, we are giving them additional clearance to work for longer hours.
Besides, we initiated what we called Register-to-Open, which is a thorough guideline to help the residents ahead of the full re-opening. Some of the things we will be seeing in the four-page guideline are, how we want to manage space at various places of business and what numbers of personnel and clients we expect at a given period, which must be based on the sizes of the facilities.
As we prepared for this phased re-opening, we are giving priority to sectors that have a higher number of labor” he said.
The Governor, however, maintained that the re-opening would not be done in haste, but said construction and manufacturing sectors would be accorded high priority for full re-opening, given the large number of employment they generate.
He added that entertainment, hospitality, and aviation industries would be considered in the second phase of the intervention.
Fielding a question on the biggest consequence that COVID-19 had on the economy of the state, Sanwo-Olu said: “Lagos has been affected both on the healthcare and economy sides. We have had to take a deep dive into our budget and have about 25 percent cut, which is not a very good number for us.
This is the time we need to continue to spend to stave off pressure on our citizens. However, we need to be prudent at this time and cut unimportant expenditures. Salary is one thing we cannot even touch.
“In terms of direct economy, entertainment industry, hospitality, land transportation, and aviation businesses have been affected significantly. These sectors are large employers of labor.
We are thinking through on how to reset these sectors in a graduated manner and bring back the economy on the full swing.”
He revealed that the four-page Register-to-Open guidelines were the major part of the measures initiated to achieve phased re-opening of the State economy, adding that Government had offered incentives that will affect its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to prevent job loss in critical industries that provide employment for a large number of labour.