COVID-19 following weeks of lockdowns, federal and state officials will have to
pick between tightening controls and potentially saving lives or disrupting a
Federal Government relaxed the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),
Lagos and Ogun States, figures of the pandemic as at Saturday, May 9, 2020 were
4151 (total confirmed), 745 (discharged) and 128 (deaths).
9, 2020, a month ago, the Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) posted the figures:
288 (confirmed cases), 51 (discharged) and seven (deaths).
Babajide Sanwo-Olu had taken Twitter on Saturday, warning that his administration
could revisit the restrictions on what he described as the “will” of
some Lagos citizens to “discharge the laws.”
citizens, we have a great burden upon us to behave responsibly. These times
demand a lot from us in terms of actions and behaviours that may not be
comfortable. It is difficult to adjust to the changes, but adjust, we must.
elected to ensure the welfare of its people, including health protection, we do
not hesitate to revisit the terms of the relaxed lockout if we do not see any
change in the conformity to our public health recommendations in the next few
advocacy, it is disappointing to see the crowd at banks and markets across the
state flouting the guidelines. We will be forced to take the painful decision
of bringing the state under lockdown if it remains clear that Lagosians are determined
to flout the rules.
further lockdown and its attendant notoriety for damaging the economy? Many
employers have already begun cutting down salaries and downsizing their
workforce. Also, disposable income in many homes has dropped drastically,
making another lockdown a security and economic time bomb.
lockdown, the federal and state governments had announced plans to distribute
food, to ensure people stayed indoors. The poor sharing method, however, led
many unhappy citizens to defy the restriction, as they searched for means to
government said it provided “food stimulus packages” to 250,000 people and cash
transfers to another 250,000, out of the city’s 22 million residents. The
Federal Government claimed it provided support to the poorest 3.6 million
people in payments of up to N20,000 a month. With over 82 million Nigerians
living below the poverty level, however, the handouts were a mere trickle.
five weeks of economic and company suspension have overstretched the
boundaries. Businesses are beginning to crumble under the weight of the
pressure without the resulting competitiveness of employees and the requisite
funding from the government, “said Dr Timothy Olawale.
of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Olawale said: “This is
the reality today. Balancing the protection of lives with economic interests
should ordinarily not be difficult. While protection of life should take
precedence, the need to protect the economic foundation of the nation cannot be
discounted, as the economy will ultimately sustain life.
takes decisive steps to protect lives, efforts should also be made to keep
productive activities going. Without delicately balancing the scale, the consequential
negative effects of the pandemic will not only include unimaginable loss of
lives, massive job losses and heightened insecurity. It might also lead to
unnecessary social revolt.
various coordinated efforts of other stakeholders, more decisive action on
stimulus to businesses need to be taken. The announced stimulus, to a large
extent, has not addressed the critical needs of businesses that will guarantee
sustainability and protection of jobs.
can still be done now, not belatedly, to save jobs in Nigeria. More direct
intervention such as direct wage or income support, wage subsidies, tax credits
or tax deferrals, short-term work schemes, moratoriums on loan payments and the
establishment of a coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where government pays up
to 60 per cent of private sector salaries until June, as long as workers are
not laid off, as done in other climes i.e. U.K., France, and Denmark, etc.
Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Mrs. Toki Mabogunje said
the palliatives were poorly articulated and failed to adequately capture the
significant fraction of low-income households who rely on daily pay for
social register did not cover up to five per cent of about 87 million Nigerian
households living below the poverty line. The inability of most low-income
households to benefit from these palliatives mean higher poverty incidence as
businesses suffer collapse from the lockdown.
rolled out a raft of relief measures to support businesses, we observe that
these packages are tilted more towards formal establishments while micro and
small-scale enterprises as well as informal businesses have been largely left
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had in its latest report last week
maintained that 82.9 million Nigerians are poor by national standards.
shows that 40.1 per cent of the total population is classified as poor, meaning
that an average four out of 10 individuals in Nigeria have real per capital expenditures below N137,430 per year. This also means monthly income of an
individual in this category is less than N11,500 while income per day is N38.
Sokoto, Taraba, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Yobe and Adamawa are among the poorest
countries in the country.
Sokoto State had 87.73 per cent of the poverty rate, followed by Taraba with
87.73 per cent, then Jigawa with 87.02 per cent, and Ebonyi with 79.76 per