The outbreak of the respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (covid-19) that was first detected in China but has now spread to more than 100 locations worldwide has continued to cause fear and uncertainty.
The virus, which is named “SARS-Cov-2” and the disease it causes, has been named “Coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) transmits easily from person to person, and interpersonal contact needs not to be very long before transmission becomes possible. In fact, the virus may be transmissible even before an infected person develops symptoms.
The COVID-19 disease was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect and spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.
The world is an interconnected global village and Nigeria is not immune to the adverse effects that may occur through this virus, even if the country hasn’t really been hit by the disease.
Presently, oil price is in the $30 region due partly due to slump in demand (coronavirus and the Saudi Arabia and Russia debacle), and analysts have been predicting how much of an effect this would have on Nigeria’s revenue and budget implementation.
On March 14, an article titled “Coronavirus: Travel agency count losses, ticket sales drop by 50%” explained how this virus had affected the sale of tickets and reservations in international routes, causing a 50% drop in travel agencies sale of ticket and reservations for international trips.
While the above-listed businesses and markets are seriously affected, other local businesses are feeling the brunt and may continue to do so if the disease spread isn’t curtailed. Below are some local businesses that are being affected by COVID-19.
Sports Betting Companies
Sporting events are one of the most common types of events being cancelled or portioned across Asia, Europe and America.
The major leagues such as the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and the Italian Serie A, just to name a few, have been suspended football till further notice. The American NBA is also a victim.
UEFA also announced last week that all Champions League and Europa League matches scheduled for last week had been suspended
This suspension will have serious effects on the income of Nigerian sport betting companies which put up matches on their platforms for bettors and punters to stake and win or lose money. It is estimated that these companies gross hundreds of millions of Naira every weekend from bettors staking on thousands of games.
Jobless street hustlers and corporates, who see the betting industry as an avenue to earn some side income, will also be affected as there are fewer games to stake money on in these COVID times.
Nigerian artistes, who are billed to perform internationally, may witness a drop in earnings, as governments worldwide are imposing a “stay at home” policy to citizens to suppress the spread of the virus.
One of the most high profile events postponed this week has been the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.
Organizers moved the April 10-12 and April 17-19 dates to October 9-11 and 16-18 on hopes that the virus crisis developing in the United States would subside in the next six months.
In 2019, Coachella featured two Nigerian acts – Burma boy and Mr Eazi. This time, only one Nigerian artiste will be performing – Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Band.
In 2017, the New Yorker reported that Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, and Lady Gaga received between $3-4million for headliners, compared to some of the lesser-known acts who made less than $10,000.
One wonders what Seun Kuti would stand to lose if the show is cancelled. Let’s hope for a positive outcome.
Davido recently announced on Twitter that his North America tour would be cancelled due to the spread of the virus.
Ali Express, the global e-commerce platform of Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba, warned customers earlier in the month that there might be some delivery delays due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Nigerians, who purchase items from the site and resell to customers here, may also be affected. Some of the items that are usually purchased on Ali Express and resold include phone accessories (wireless headphones, chargers) and fashion items.
Article was written by Segun Olarinmoye
China more willing to restructure Africa’s debt than private creditors
Agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors.
A recent study by John Hopkins University reveals it may be easier for African Nations to raise debt and also get debt relief from China than private creditors.
The report of the study comes a day after China promised to cancel interests from loans to African nations and restructure debt to Africa. The study also revealed that China has restructured $15 billion of African debt and written off $3.4 billion in the past ten years.
After 1,000 Chinese loans, including restructured Mozambican and Republic of Congo debt, were analysed, the researchers concluded that “the agreements have been easier to reach with Chinese lenders than with private creditors”.
The Paris Club recently agreed to pause debt payment valued at $11 billion for the poorest 73 nations freeing up capital to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. However, not all eligible nations signed up citing fears of default ratings if debt obligations are not met.
The study discovers difficulties in renegotiating terms on International Bonds for African countries due to the disparate ownership structure making private creditors unwilling to grant complete debt relief, citing warnings on rating downgrades.
China accounts for about 20% of Africa’s external debt and lent over $150 billion to the continent between 2000-2018 the study reveals. Chinese President, Xi Jinping has urged global leaders to be more pragmatic with debt suspension for Africa.
The study says much of the terms of Chinese debt to Africa has not been transparent and the relief negotiations may follow the same path.
Orange, France’s largest telco operator, may come to Nigeria in months
Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions.
France’s largest telecom operator, Orange, is set to extend its tentacles to Nigeria and South Africa.
Chief Executive Officer, Orange, Stephane Richard, who disclosed the news, said that the firm would make the move in a few months.
He said, “It could make sense to be in economies such as Nigeria and South Africa. If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years.”
The Middle East and Africa, where Orange has a presence in 18 countries, is the company’s fastest-growing market.
What you need to know: There are chances that the company may eye payment transfers (mobile) in Nigeria.
That is because it makes the largest chunk of its revenue from payment transfers (Middle East), a key part of the group’s diversification into financial services, and Nigeria, which is the most populous black nation, is always an attraction.
Meanwhile, earlier in 2020, Orange had stated that it was bringing its operations in the Middle East and Africa into a single entity, paving the way for a potential listing of the operations that could raise cash to invest in overseas expansion.
“Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions,” he added.
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LIRS further extends deadline for filing annual tax returns by one month
“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.” – Ayodele Subair
The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) has again extended the deadline for filing of Annual Tax Returns from May 31 2020 to June 30, 2020.
This is part of the state government’s effort to provide relief to taxpayers in light of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. With this development, annual returns for individuals, both employees and self-employed persons, can be filed anytime before June 30, 2020.
In a press release signed by Monsurat Amasa, the head of LIRS’ Corporate Communications Department, the agency urged taxpayers to take advantage of the magnanimity of the government and file their returns. The LIRS’ Executive Chairman, Mr. Ayodele Subair, explained the extension thus:
“As the Lagos State Government keeps abreast of global best practices in containing the Covid-19 pandemic and eases the effects of an economic downturn on taxpayers and residents of the State, LIRS had initially extended the deadline for filing annual tax returns for two months, from the statutory March 31st of every fiscal year to May 31, 2020.
“We constantly debated what other measures could be taken as an organization to support individuals and businesses at this time, hence, the additional one-month extension from June 1, to June 30, 2020.”
He further explained that taxpayers can file the annual returns from the comfort of their homes and offices using the LIRS eTax platforms. They can also generate assessment and payment schedule, and other tax administration matters on the same platform. Updates on business operations and alternative payment platforms are to be found on the verified handles, and the LIRS website.