Kohima: The Mokokchung Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) of Nagaland has affirmed that the prolonged lockdown against COVID-19 is not the solution to end the pandemic.
In a statement issued by the MCCI suggested revamping the chain of command of the District Task Force on COVID-19 Mokokchung while also suggesting that collateral damage in the fight against the pandemic be avoided. Setting up an “Education, Information and Communication cell” under the District Task Force was also suggested by MCCI. Stating that MCCI had been working together with and supporting the DTF Mokokchung since day one, and claiming that MCCI was the “most competent entity in Mokokchung in matters of exigencies of the local economy and economic principles,” the business body offered its suggestions “in cognizance of the precarious socio-economic scenario prevailing in Mokokchung” and the “existential local economic situation as well as COVID-19”
The MCCI observed that a prolonged lockdown was counter-productive and advocated for a phased and gradual exit from the economically crippling lockdown. This should not be misconstrued as wanting to keep our businesses open at the cost of public health but rather as a pragmatic approach towards living our lives with the virus in the new normal. It said that too many households will fall into the debt trap and that financial distress will take its toll on the economically weaker sections of society and that many will fall victim to physical and mental.
MCCI stated that all professions and businesses that earn a livelihood was essential and that the economic disruption caused by a prolonged lockdown where economically weaker sections of the society are deprived of their livelihood earnings was tantamount to violation of basic human rights. Stating that avoiding collateral damage in the fight against the pandemic was commonsense policy, it observed that the “price of flattening the curve should not be costlier than the pandemic itself, or the cure worse than the problem itself.” MCCI also added that apart from the physical and mental health problems directly associated with prolonged lockdowns, there were other worrisome factors caused by lockdown as they contravene conventional economic principles which inevitably lead to inflation, scarcity and instability in the market.
The MCCI also expressed apprehension that without smooth trade and commerce because of the lockdown, the local socio-economic situation would deteriorate and create fertile grounds for anti-social activities propelled by poverty, unemployment and financial distress. It also regretted that the State Government was not likely to provide any financial stimulus to the business owners or alternative source of income to the daily wage earners, it said.