42% of Nigerians Lost Jobs to COVID-19, Says NBS

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By James Emejo

No fewer than 42 per cent of hitherto employed Nigerians lost their means of livelihood to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

It stated that the impact on employment and income had been widespread as “respondents who were working before the outbreak reported that they were not currently working due to COVID-19.”

According to the maiden COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (COVID-19 NLPS) report, which was published yesterday by the statistical agency, 79 per cent of Nigerians also reported that their households total income had decreased since mid-March while some households struggled to purchase staple foods namely yam, rice and beans during the seven days prior to the interview with 35-59 per cent of households who needed to purchase these staple, reporting that they were not able to buy them.

The report which monitors the impact of the pandemic, using May 2020 as baseline, essentially highlighted the cost of the pandemic on employment, education, economy and households within the review period and is expected to be published on monthly basis going forward.

It stated that the impact of the pandemic was most severe in the commerce, services and agricultural sectors of the economy.

The NBS added that the economic shocks experienced by Nigerians in the few months after the outbreak of Coronavirus far exceeded shocks experienced between 2017 and 2019.

The survey stated that an increase in prices of major food items represented the most widely reported shock experience by 85 per cent of the households since the outbreak compared to only 19 per cent between January 2017 and January 2019.

The survey added that many households had struggled to cope with widespread shocks while 51 per cent of them resorting to reducing food consumption.

The report stated that 26 per cent of households were unable to access medical treatment when they needed it during the same period.

The NBS findings further showed that more Nigerians were concerned about the health and financial impacts of the virus.

It said:”78 per cent of respondents were worried about themselves or their family members becoming seriously ill from the Coronavirus, while 92 per cent saw the Coronavirus as a threat to their households finances.

The report however, indicated that the pandemic had also affected children education, stating that among households with children attending school prior their nationwide closure in March, only 62 per cent reported that their children had engaged in any learning/educational activities since the closure.

It stated:”This brief presents findings from the baseline of this survey which was conducted between April 20 and May 11, 2020 and coincided with a federally mandated lockdown that was initiated on March.

“COVID-19 NLPS households were drawn from the sample of households interviewed in 2018/2019 for Wave 4 of the General Household Survey—Panel (GHS- Panel).

“The extensive information collected in the GHS- Panel just over a year prior to the pandemic provides a rich set of background information on COVID-19 NLPS house- holds which can be leveraged to assess the differential impacts of the pandemic in the country.”