Covid-19 and the increasing job losses

EVEN before the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s unemployment statistics was quite scary. Unemployment has been a potent threat to the country’s existence for years. Over the years, Nigerians have been massively impoverished as politicians toyed with its future and as population growth outpaced GDP growth rate. Now, with the economy substantially in shut-down mode over the pandemic, the situation has become scarier. The Excess Crude Account, Nigeria’s fall back option, has dwindled to an all-time low at just $72 million. Naturally, remittances from the diaspora which typically account for 6 per cent of the country’s GDP took a plunge in February, recording a 50 per cent drop. Businesses are daily shutting down and thousands of workers are being laid off. From the banking sector to the aviation sector and the media industry, it has been one tale of woe after another, especially in the last three months. Many banks cut jobs or cut down salaries even as losses to bad loans reportedly shot up by 99 per cent in February. Fitch Ratings downgraded the three highest rated banks in the country to Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) ‘B’ and Viability Rating (VR) ‘b’. That is not surprising because even prior to the pandemic, its outlook for the Nigerian banking sector was negative.

The situation is the same in other sectors. For instance, in the aviation sector, over 10,000 staff are said to have been laid off since business nosedived in March. The operating airlines have reportedly reduced staff strength by 80 per cent, with massive pay cuts for the 20 per cent workforce retained.  According to reports, local and international flight restriction has cost the local travel sector massive job and financial losses in excess of N180 billion. And going by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) estimates, the Covid-19 crisis put 124,000 Nigerian jobs at risk, and some N324 billion of its GDP in jeopardy.

Across the country, workers ‘lucky’ enough to be retained even in previously low-paying jobs are adjusting to the realities of massive pay cuts.  Currently, nearly one in every three Nigerians of working age is unemployed, and unemployment is predicted to reach 33 percent by the end of the year.  As noted by an entrepreneurship and small business expert, Dr. Timi Olubiyi, the country’s unemployment rate will continue to increase unless government supports businesses with remedial fiscal incentives to mitigate the impact of the viral disease on their operations. Olubiyi, a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), noted that over 60 per cent of the country’s total population are youths, many of them vulnerable and out of gainful employment.

Sadly, in spite of official pronouncements, there is nothing at the moment which suggests that governments across the country have viable strategies to tame the situation. And worse still, with a steadily increasing number of cases and with governors in some parts of the country actively undermining efforts to rein in the Covid-19 pandemic, harder times looms large on the horizon. In our view, the increasing job losses are concerning because of the grave implications for the economy and the functioning of the society. This is because to the extent that people are not gainfully engaged, to that extent is the society vulnerable in terms of security and other threats. Regrettably, there does not seem to be appropriate apprehension of the gravity of the situation at all levels of government in the country. As we have noted time and again, those in government are still carrying on as if everything is fine, without realising that everybody is in danger when the  majority do not have gainful employment.

The government should approach the question of the increasing job losses as an emergency and put in place radical and innovative new structures to get the economy back to productivity. That way, new opportunities of employment would spring up to address the job losses. But that cannot happen any time soon with lax enforcement of Covid-19 regulations.



Buy and read digital replicas of your TRIBUNE titles by subscribing through E-VENDING

FG Plans Staggered Re-Opening Of Schools
THE Federal Government has revealed that it may stagger re-opening of schools across the country as it plans to roll out comprehensive measures for safety. Minster of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, made this known on Wednesday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja… Read full story

COVID-19: Longest Viability Period Of Virus In Patient Is 10 Days — NCDC
The longest viability period of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) patient would be 10 days, according to a new study by infectious diseases experts in Singapore. The Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) media… Read full story

Cold: Why You Must Test For COVID-19 At Once
WHEN the coronavirus pandemic first emerged, public health officials told the world to watch out for its telltale symptoms: fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. But as the virus spread across the globe, researchers are getting a better understanding of how these symptoms: headache, chill or sore throat… Read full story

CBN Governor, Investors And Parallel Market
THE virtual meeting that the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, had with investors last week where he pleaded with them to stop patronising black market operators for dollar purchases leaves much to be desired. Mr Emefiele had, at the meeting, stated: “We have seen your accounts… Read full story
COVID-19: 8,000 Workers Sacked In Anambra
About 8,000 staff members of a waste management company in Anambra State have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is coming as states have locked down their boundaries to stop the spread of the COVID-19.  Managing Director, Redivivus Industries Ltd., Mr Emeka Ajekwu, who… Read full story

The World Of A Child With Autism
AGNES is five years old but is yet to speak in a meaningful way. She tends to use a limited number of words and often uses ‘you’ when she means to refer to herself, and then uses ‘I’ when referencing others.  Unlike the older two children of the family, Agnes is often pre-occupied with her own world, playing alone and does… Read full story

What Passengers Should Expect Upon Flight Resumption —FAAN
AHEAD of resumption of flights at various airports across the country, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has announced that it has put arrangements in place regarding passenger facilitation and what to expect. Speaking during an aviation webinar organised by Women in Aviation (WIA), Nigeria, with… Read full story

May 29: Buhari Betrayed Underprivileged Nigerians ― PDP
The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has deserted, betrayed and abandoned underprivileged Nigerians. According to the Party, the President should note that the level of despondency he has bequeathed the nation in the last five years of his… Read full story

CBN Reduces Interest Rates On Microfinance, Mortgage Bank Facilities From 9% To 5%
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced interest rates on its facilities through participating Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) from 9 per cent to 5 per cent per annum for one year effective March 1, 2020. This is part of efforts to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on households… Read full story

Why Amotekun Will Fail In 5 States ― Alao-Akala
Former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, on Wednesday said the joint security network code-named Amotekun recently launched by the South-West governors would fail in five states. He said the appointment of retired military officers as directors-general of Amotekun corps in those states except… Read full story

‘Infant Formulas On Sale In Nigeria, High In Arsenic, Toxic Substance’
INFANT formulas sold in Nigeria are useful alternatives to breast milk in many circumstances but may pose health risks to infants and children due to contamination by potentially toxic metals, a study has said.  In the study published in the 2020 Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, scientists tested different brands of … Read full story

Lagos Announces Plan To Replace Okada, Tricycle By July
Lagos State government has announced plans to replace banned Okada and tricycle with First Mile and Last Mile (FMLM) mobility solution. The transportation commissioner, Frederick Oladeinde made this known at the 2020 ministerial press briefing held in Lagos… Read full story

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More