Nigerians are losing their jobs as both individuals and firms face undaunted challenges due to the snowballing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the economy.
According to the maiden report of COVID-19 impact monitoring survey recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on employment and income of Nigerians have been widespread.
Majority already lost their jobs
Out of the 1,950 households surveyed on a nationally representative sample, 42% of the respondents who were working before the outbreak were no longer working the week preceding the interview for reasons related to COVID-19.
Further breakdown showed that the poorest households (from the lowest consumption quintile) reported the highest share of Nigerians who stopped working (45%), while 35% of the wealthiest household also affected.
Also, a high rate of households reported income loss since mid-March 2020, as 79% of households reported that their total income decreased. Basically, while income from all sources were affected, the rate was highest for income from non-farm family business (85%) compared to household farming, livestock or fishing (73%) and wage employment (58%).
Commerce, Services and Agriculture sectors are the hardest hit
Further details provided showed that Nigerians working in almost all the sectors were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the commerce, services and agriculture sectors were reported to have recorded the highest number of layoffs.
According to the report, 14% of respondents were working in the commerce sector before the outbreak but have since stopped working due to COVID-19. This is equivalent to 60% of all those working in the sector prior to the pandemic.
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In all sectors, respondents that stopped working reported that COVID-19 related economic impacts were the primary cause of their lay-offs.
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Low access to basic needs
In a similar light, it was revealed that a high percentage of households could not afford needs such as staple foods, soap and cleaning supplies and access to treatment.
According to the NBS, between 35-59% of households could not afford to buy staple foods like yam, rice and beans during the 7 days prior to the interview when they needed them. Also, soap and cleaning supplies were the most commonly needed items by the surveyed households, though most households were able to purchase these items.
Meanwhile, 26% of households who needed medical treatment were not able to get them.
Adopting coping mechanisms
According to the NBS report, many households appear to be turning to coping mechanisms that can have further negative impacts of disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau stated that Nigerians captured in the survey experienced serious disruptions of economic activities, particularly nonfarm business closure (36%) and farming activities (29%).
While households are facing economic shocks, they are also attempting to adapt and cope with the current realties. Some of the coping mechanisms household are adopting include reducing food consumption (51% of all households) and drawing down their savings (29%).