One major upshot of the federally imposed lockdown and social distancing directive, which was deployed as a measure to battle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, is the change of the work culture in the country.
Before now, most Nigerians had a uniform 8 to 5 work period, where everyone was expected to wake up early, dress up, and join fellow workers in traffic to get to work. Then after a busy day at the office, the staff of various workplaces hit the road once more to get home.
However, with the advent of the lockdowns, many Nigerian professionals have had to work from home for an extended period of time, and this has changed the way they view work, especially concerning their finances, work-life balance, etc.
Nairametrics interviewed some young professionals who shared how this new work-from-home culture has affected them financially.
Jessica Okechukwu, an auditor with a leading auditing and consulting firm in Abuja, says that she does not really spend much on fuel, and works when she has a power supply, which is quite often. However, her electricity bills nearly doubled from N6,000 a month to N11,000 due to more usage of household appliances while working from home.
“My productivity has increased. Before COVID-19, as a staff of an auditing firm, I had to visit clients in their offices frequently, but that doesn’t happen anymore. Now, clients’ audits are run online, though it takes more time, “ she said.
Not only is she spending less time and money on transportation, but her employers have also subsidized her monthly internet and data costs, saving her more money.
Also, her personal life has benefited, as she now has more time to connect with her family, especially her nephews, during her work breaks.
Daniel Jacob, a software developer in Lagos, says his fuel costs have been at an average of 3k a week, both pre and post lockdowns, so nothing has changed there; however, he spends just N5K a month on data, as his place of work provides data for developers working from home.
As for working hours, those have increased as work-based requests come in by 9pm and his laptop has VPN access to his firm’s website.
His love life is blossoming though, as he spends more time with his girlfriend, who has been living with him since the lockdown started.
Anthony Okechukwu, a digital marketing coach in an Abuja firm, says his fuel costs increased to N2k a week as he spends more time at home and needs electricity to work; though since his company provided internet data for him, he hasn’t spent outside his budget to buy regular internet data.
As for productivity, he works less because he feels he is managing time better, he gives himself more break-time, compared to his previous 9-5 routine.
He says since he is not 100% focused on work like before, he gets to spend more time with his family. “Now I try to balance some time between work and family and not focus only on work like I used to before,” Okechukwu said.
David Hundeyin, a journalist and content writer, says he does not have extra costs of utility services like fuel and electricity because he lives in a serviced apartment. His savings before the lockdowns made it possible for him to afford his present accommodation, and it’s less stressful for him.
As for Internet subscription, he says he usually spends between N15 and N20k a month and it’s been pretty much stable pre and post lockdown easing.
“I must say I’m working more, and taking more opportunities due to economic uncertainties. Since most people are losing their jobs, it’s better to seize any opportunity that presents itself,” Hundeyin noted.
He has been socializing a lot less because of the lockdown and spends less time with family as he hasn’t seen his siblings in months due to social distancing. He says anyone may be a carrier and it’s better to avoid passing it on and self-isolate if you can.
From the experiences shared by these young professionals, it can be seen that expenses have not really reduced. However, employees are trying to minimise their staff’s spending by subsidising the cost of internet data to make work easier for their employees, thereby making it easier for employees to adapt to the “new normal.”
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 24th of February 2021, 655 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 153,842 confirmed cases.
On the 24th of February 2021, 655 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 153,842 cases have been confirmed, 130,818 cases have been discharged and 1,885 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.49 million tests have been carried out as of February 24th, 2021 compared to 1.44 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 24th February 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 153,842
- Total Number Discharged – 130,818
- Total Deaths – 1,885
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,489,103
According to the NCDC, the 655 new cases are reported from 21 states- Lagos (240), Ogun (88), Rivers (56), FCT (51), Kaduna (43), Kano (25), Plateau (21), Taraba (19), Edo (17), Abia (15), Delta (13), Nasarawa (11), Akwa Ibom (10), Kwara (10), Oyo (10), Kebbi (9), Borno (5), Bayelsa (4), Gombe (4), Ekiti (2), and Osun (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 55,122, followed by Abuja (19,115), Plateau (8,854), Kaduna (8,422), Oyo (6,708), Rivers (6,398), Edo (4,491), Ogun (4,277), Kano (3,716), Ondo (2,944), Kwara (2,875), Delta (2,539), Osun (2,326), Nasarawa (2,208), Gombe (2,031), Katsina (2,029), Enugu (1,998), Ebonyi (1,839), Anambra (1,615), and Abia (1,487).
Imo State has recorded 1,440 cases, Akwa Ibom (1,439), Borno (1,247), Bauchi (1,221), Benue (1,188), Niger (912), Ekiti (797), Sokoto (768), Bayelsa (767), Adamawa (762), Taraba (712), Jigawa (496), Kebbi (358), Yobe (268), Cross River (267), Zamfara (219), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
On 26th January 2021, the Federal Government announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month following the rising cases of the coronavirus disease in the country and the expiration of phase 3 of the eased lockdown.
Covid:19 WHO says wealthy countries are undermining COVAX vaccine initiative
WHO DG has said that the deal between rich countries and vaccine manufacturers is undermining its COVAX initiative.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that the deal between high-income countries and manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccine are undermining its COVAX initiative by reducing the number of doses it can purchase.
This is as he pleads with rich countries to check before ordering additional Covid-19 vaccine shots for themselves whether that undermines efforts to get vaccine shots to poorer nations.
According to a report from Al Jazeera, this was disclosed by the WHO boss after talks with German President, Walter Steinmeier
Wealthy nations have snapped up several billion vaccine doses and some countries have ordered enough shots to vaccinate their populations more than once, while some countries in the developing world have little or none.
Tedros said that these actions by the rich countries have even led to the reduction of the amount that was allocated to COVAX, although he did not mention the names of the countries involved or provide other details.
He harped on the need for the rich countries to cooperate in respecting the deals that COVAX has with the manufacturers and make sure before they seek more vaccines that their requests do not undermine those deals.
Tedros said, “But I don’t think they’re asking that question.’’
Tedros, who has earlier warned that the world faces a catastrophic moral failure if Covid-19 vaccines are not distributed fairly, said he understands the political pressures leaders in high-income countries face.
He said, “If this virus is not defeated everywhere, we cannot defeat it globally. It will have a safe haven somewhere and can strike back.’’
He added that countries left behind in vaccinating could also become breeding grounds for new variants.
He also called for the stepping up of vaccine production because with increased production, there will be more vaccines available, then there is a better volume to share.
What you should know
- The WHO has kicked against vaccine nationalism, which they said will prolong the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. A successful global vaccination campaign is considered to be key to stemming the pandemic.
- This led to the launching of the WHO-backed COVAX initiative to ensure equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccine across the globe, especially among the poorer countries.
- European nations have given financial support to the UN-backed COVAX scheme, which aims to get vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people and are considering sharing some of their own doses, though they have not specified when.
- On Friday, leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers said they would accelerate global vaccine development and deployment and support “affordable and equitable access to vaccines” and treatments for COVID-19.
They cited a collective $7.5bn from the G7 to UN-backed efforts.
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