Pushing e-commerce frontiers as Covid-19 worsens

AS fear heightens over probable backlash of relaxed lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States amidst frightening community transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19), e-commerce remains the most practical and safest method for curtailing the virus and driving social distancing.  The relaxation of lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States effective May 4 as announced by President Muhammadu Buhari in his nationwide broadcast on April 27, has unwittingly added a new dimension to the management of the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) amidst concerns over rising community transmission. The president, in empathy with business owners, workers and residents, who were overburdened by the heavy economic losses, impacted by the seven-week presidential lockdown imposed since March 29, announced the implementation of a phased relaxation of lockdown with people allowed to commute from 6am to 8pm daily as from May 4.

One biggest contest here is, what happens to social distancing? Observers are of the view that, despite the efficient control of travel history-related cases, the major concern remains how to flatten the worrisome spike in community transmission as almost the entire 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are now in the Covid-19 net.  Against the backdrop of the partial lifting of lockdown and the aftermath on Abuja; Lagos – due to its high population density and Ogun State because of its proximity to Lagos, worries being expressed stem from the fear that allowing people to move about freely could adversely impact the social distancing protocol and consequently trigger a fresh spike in coronavirus transmission.  “Now that businesses, workers and residents can go about their daily chores, a spike in the transmission is inevitable,” a concerned citizen said.

Nevertheless, the solutions to these challenges are not far to seek. The good news is that rather than taking the dangerous option of mingling with crowds, consumers can take advantage of e-commerce platforms like Jumia’s e-payment and last-mile delivery capabilities, which are uniquely positioned to be part of Africa’s response strategy to the coronavirus pandemic. Those that desire to make a purchase of essential and non-essential goods that they were unable to get during the lockdown, can also leverage on the services to avoid crowded places thereby eliminating or reducing their vulnerability to coronavirus infection.

While reviewing the partial lifting of lockdown on Channels Television 10 o’clock news bulletin monitored in Lagos some days ago, a former director of the Department of State Service, Mike Ejiofor, explained that influx in people’s movement should be expected in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states on Monday, May 4 and some days after. According to him, the residents, who have complied with the presidential stay at home order for weeks, would naturally want to do as much as they could to recover the lost ground. While appealing to people not to compromise social distancing as they return to work, he urged the government to strengthen compliance with social distancing. A public affairs analyst, Mudorck Essien, advised the government to learn from countries that have implemented relaxed lockdown including China, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic and New Zealand by leveraging e-commerce system to curtail movement and large crowds at physical malls, stores and open market stalls.

Noting, in particular, our peculiar cultural orientation, he said e-commerce operators offerred cost-efficient options to help safety-conscious consumers limit their movements and avoid overcrowded places like brick-and-mortar malls, stores, shops and open markets. He said it is normal for Nigerians to ride on the emotion of wanting to make a quick purchase of those non-essentials they were unable to buy during the period of lockdown especially as there might be fresh lockdown in the event of a fresh wave of coronavirus transmission. “The fundamentals of Covid-19 have not changed. It’s too dangerous to break the social distancing protocol now because of the high risk of person-to-person transmission. One infected person entering a mall or a store can infect a dozen people. One infected person that enters Idumota, Balogun or Oke-Arin markets to buy textiles or other needs can infect hundreds of more people. It just makes good sense to leverage the e-commerce system to sustain social distancing. Let people do their purchases through online transactions,” Essien counselled. A financial analyst, Ayo Ademire, said the return of normal economic activities would automatically trigger an increase in hand-to-hand exchange of physical cash among Nigerians, thus raising the fear of a spike in transmission. To this end, he maintained that a country like Nigeria that seeks to benefit from the huge potentials of the digital economy should begin to optimise the e-commerce system as the practice is in countries like China, the United States and other developed economies. “This is the best time to take advantage of e-commerce operators. They can serve the multiple ends of keeping people safe at this critical time as well as promoting the digital economy. Government should encourage e-commerce players to continue to drive the logistics and supply of goods and also encourage more Nigerians to imbibe digital purchase and payment for goods and services,” he noted.

To stop Covid-19 transmission, although President Buhari had announced other preventive measures including a dusk-to-dawn curfew, indefinite restriction of inter-state movement except for vehicles carrying essentials including groceries, food, agriculture inputs, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and a ban on social and religious gatherings, regular handwashing with soap and running water, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, and the wearing of facemasks and hand gloves in public, social distancing remains a critical factor in the fight against the pandemic.

  • Oriade, a media practitioner, writes in from Lagos.



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

MONDAY LINES: Almajirai’s Expedition To The South
COVID-19 may be composing a requiem for Nigeria. Or do you sincerely think the country would be the same again if the North’s unhealthy conducts explode in unimaginable deaths as is gradually evolving before our very eyes? The South’s zest for life or what the French call joie de vivre, won’t let them allow the … Read full story

CACOVID, NCDC To Support Oyo Govt On Coronavirus Battle With N350 Million
The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are set to donate the combined sum of N350 million to support Oyo State’s containment efforts against COVID-19. The State’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinola Ojo and a member of the COVID-19 Task Force… Read full story

Forex Repatriation: Emefiele Assures Investors Of Investment Safety
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has assured investors of the security of their investments in the country despite dwindling revenue from the sale of crude oil globally. Speaking at the weekend in Abuja, Mr Emefiele said investors interested in repatriating their funds from the country… Read full story

Coronavirus Or Not, African Migrants Desperately Push On In The Desert Towards Europe
Many Africans are managing to evade coronavirus lockdown barriers in Niger, the Sahel’s migrant crossroads, as they press on with their perilous desert trek to the Mediterranean Sea and ultimately Europe. The migrant flow has slowed down but not dried up despite tight checks in the capital Niamey, and an increase of desert… Read full story

COVID-19: Bauchi Locks Down Three LGAs To Check Community Transmission
Bauchi State Government has declared a total lockdown of three LGAs of Giade, Katagum and Zaki as a measure to curtail community transmission of COVID-19 pandemic in the state. The total lockdown which takes effect from Tuesday, May 12, 2020 is for an initial 10 days to monitor how the situation will be controlled… Read full story

Woman, Three Men Arrested For Allegedly Torturing Her 16-Year-Old Housemaid To Death Over Theft Of N2,000
A woman and three men were on Sunday arrested by men of the Lagos State Police Command following the torture to death of the woman’s housemaid over allegation of theft of the woman’s N2,000. According to reports from the state police command, the woman, Shade Moke, brought in three men to torture her housemaid… Read full story

Oyo Speaker In The Eye Of The Storm
IN recent weeks, the Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin, has been in the eye of the storm. Just as the nation began battling COVID-19, so did some caucuses in the Assembly began to scheme against the leadership of the state legislative for alleged lack of transparency in running affairs… Read full story

Leaders And Limits Of Sentiments
Leaders sometimes run into troubled waters as a consequence of their failure to see issues as they really are. When leaders have a wrong perception of an issue, the issue will be wrongly diagnosed, wrong solutions will be prescribed and wrong results will be achieved. Leaders who fail to see issues as they are actually see… Read full story

Managing The Economy After The Pandemic
Last week, a Citizen Dialogue event was hosted by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Budget to examine the fallouts from Covid-19 and the implications for the budget and management of the economy. The outcomes from that exercise seem to have passed largely unnoticed by the informed public. I have always taken the… Read full story

Leadership: Lessons I Learnt Along The Way
A very dear friend who has followed my work for a while asked me recently at what point in my life I decided to focus on leadership development and practice. I found it a little difficult to answer at first because even though there were certain landmark experiences that reinforced and helped to properly crystallize what I had… 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