COVID-19 triggers massive job losses in Nigeria, says NBS

June 9, 2020
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A households survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has revealed that a large numbers of Nigerians previously in employment before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic are now jobless, and facing other hardships.

Out of the 1,950 households surveyed on a nationally representative sample, 42 per cent of the respondents who were working before the outbreak were no longer working the week preceding the interview for reasons related to COVID-19.

Further details provided showed that Nigerians working in almost all the sectors were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the commerce, services and agriculture sectors were reported to have recorded the highest number of layoffs.

According to the report, 14 per cent of respondents were working in the commerce sector before the outbreak but have since stopped working due to COVID-19. This is equivalent to 60 per cent of all those working in the sector prior to the pandemic.

In all sectors, respondents that stopped working reported that COVID-19 related economic impacts were the primary cause of their lay-offs.

In a similar light, it was revealed that a high percentage of households could not afford needs such as staple foods, soap and cleaning supplies and access to treatment.

According to the NBS, between 35-59 per cent of households could not afford to buy staple foods like yam, rice and beans during the 7 days prior to the interview when they needed them. Also, soap and cleaning supplies were the most commonly needed items by the surveyed households, though most households were able to purchase these items.

According to the NBS report, many households appear to be turning to coping mechanisms that can have further negative impacts of disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic. The Bureau stated that Nigerians captured in the survey experienced serious disruptions of economic activities, particularly nonfarm business closure (36 per cent) and farming activities (29 per cent).

Further breakdown showed that the poorest households (from the lowest consumption quintile) reported the highest share of Nigerians who stopped working (45 per cent), while 35 per cent of the wealthiest household also affected.

Also, a high rate of households reported income loss since mid-March 2020, as 79 per cent of households reported that their total income decreased. Basically, while income from all sources were affected, the rate was highest for income from non-farm family business (85 per cent) compared to household farming, livestock or fishing (73 per cent) and wage employment (58 per cent).

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