Two years later: The ripple effect of Covid-19 on the Nigerian economy
How it all began
I remember I was a young corper in Port Harcourt when Covid-19 entered the country, my boss was planning a trip to a European country, all of a sudden her plans were cut short as a new virus was in town.
Countries like South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand and Denmark responded quickly with non-pharmaceuticals like wearing masks and closing public places.
In the United States, there was political polarization, while the Democrats took it seriously, the Republicans did not. There was a belated response and it wasn’t until the death toll started to skyrocket with mass burials on Hart Island in New York that the United States took it seriously.
Nigerians have also chosen to deny the existence of Covid-19 and have come up with different theories. I asked a social media expert how Nigerians perceive COVID-19 and she replied: “Nigerians never took Covid seriously even for a day.
While some believe it was a made up disease, others thought it was a bioweapon and others thought it was the sign of the end times and the mark of the beast.
Everyone claims to get their information from trusted sources vis-à-vis WhatsApp groups and Facebook posts.
However, educated people were very concerned about this. I had a relative who put on nose masks even while driving, and in all honesty, the disease attacked the upper class and upper middle class more ruthlessly.
The confinement period
Life and the economy began to deteriorate from this period, forcibly in our homes, we had to stock up on food.
Global economies have also suffered. According to the IMF, “Global unemployment rose to 6.5% in 2020”
“COVID-19 induced global economic losses are projected to approach $13.8 trillion through 2024 compared to pre-pandemic forecasts.”
People lost their jobs and those who relied on a daily wage were also forced to return home and live in poverty.
Worst of all, aid from well-meaning international and local donors has been hoarded.
After the lockdown, several Covid materials were found in different warehouses in some parts of the country and a House of Representatives in Lagos, Alli Macaulay shared covid relief material as souvenirs.
Here is a World Bank report on how Covid has affected a sect of Nigerians;
“The impact on jobs and incomes has also been widespread. 42% of respondents who were working before the outbreak said they were not currently working due to COVID-19. »
“79% of respondents indicated that their total household income had decreased by mid-March 2020. Some households had difficulty buying staple foods such as yams, rice and beans. 35-59% of households that need to buy these staples say they have not been able to buy them.
How to explain to such a person that a disease exists when his basic needs are not satisfied? The Nigerian government has once again missed the mark.
The reality of Covid-19
Ultimately, whether some agree or disagree with this, Covid-19 is a real disease that many have caught and are still catching (253,989 in Nigeria) and others have lost their lives (3 142 people died from Covid-19).
Vaccination is important because once the strain exists, it continues to mutate and spread.
Even though Africans had greater resistance to the virus, 6.2 million people died of Covid-19 worldwide.
The blow effect of Covid-19 on Africa
See World Bank projection, “The debt of African countries reached $625 billion during the pandemic. Twenty-one African countries are either bankrupt or at high risk of debt distress. It’s because they kept borrowing to stay afloat.
“In Nigeria, for example, debt service will increase by 17% compared to 2021 and absorb 23% of total expenditure, or more than a third of projected revenue (36%) in 2022.”
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, “Nigeria’s fiscal deficit stood at $15.6 billion in the final 2022 budget – and will largely be financed by new borrowing.”
This means that almost twice as much will be spent on debt service as on health and education and five times as much spent on health alone.
In reality, the Covid has become much more of an economic concern than a health concern in Africa.