CORONAVIRUS: ISSUES AND IMPACTS ON THE ECONOMY
WRITTEN BY OLADELE ABIGAIL
The Chinese authorities detected a new outbreak of an unknown virus in December, 2019. This virus is behind a number of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China which is the largest city in Hubei with a population of over 11 million. This highly infectious and contagious virus has now become a global pandemic. Statistics from the World meters as at 23rd March 2020, says that the Coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting about 192 countries and territories in the world with Nigeria inclusive.
Nations of the world are taking strict measures to prevent this global pandemic. The federal government of Nigeria on 28th of February guaranteed Nigerians to strengthen its supervision at international airports so as to prevent the spread of the virus into the country.
This was after the World Health Organization listed Nigeria with other twelve African countries as countries with a high-risk to spread the virus. However, an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria returned from Milan, Italy through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport was confirmed to be the first patient with coronavirus in Nigeria.
Other cases have been discovered as time went on and as at 26th of March 2020, there are about 60 confirmed cases.
IMPACTS ON THE NIGERIA ECONOMY.
The recent outbreak of this infectious disease has affected almost every sector of the economy negatively and it is quite important to note that its effect is not limited to the Nigeria economy alone but it has a global impact with the crash in the stock market, crash in oil prices, low productivity and many others as evidence.
The effects have a transmission mechanism which as rallied around almost all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
- Transportation sector: The aviation sector will be seriously affected as the Nigerian government has placed a travel ban on thirteen countries. Also, there is a rumor against inter-state bus moving within the country. The ban is a good measure to prevent the spread of the virus but it will affect the revenue generated by the sector.
- Entertainment Industry: with the state government issuing a stay at home advice and cancelling all social gatherings exceeding 50 people; cinemas, music festivals, comedy shows might be closed for the time being and might lead to a mass loss in the entertainment industry. Nigerians have resorted to stream movies online using Netflix and YouTube which had led to rise in their stock prices. Unfortunately, these aren’t Nigerian owned businesses. The Nigeria Football Federation also has suspended all football activities for four weeks.
- Education sector: The Federal Ministry of Education on Thursday, 19th March 2020 ordered the immediate closure of tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools nationwide over the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the country thereby causing delay in examinations for most students and a pause in learning to others.
- Manufacturing sector: most of the materials used in production are imported from other countries. It is important to note that most of these goods are been produced in China and with the outbreak of the virus, the goods purchased are been held down in there causing decline in sales and a rise in demand for goods and services with prices of most goods rising including consumer goods and commodities as Nigerians started panic buying.
- Health sector: the health sector is the most fragile sector at this time, there is a high possibility of diversification of funds from other sectors of the economy to the health sector as funds are needed to provide more facilities.
All sectors have a way of interacting with each other and could pose a threat to the Nigerian economy. low productivity in the manufacturing sector, panic buying in the markets, low income from the entertainment and transportation sector, crashes in the oil and stock prices, and many others will lead to a general decline in revenue.
There are a lot of issues to be discussed ranging from questions in the mind of Nigerians to how Nigerians have responded to the issue. The failure of the government to act fast in closing all borders is one question at the back of every Nigerian; why will the government leave the borders opened after the Italian man entered into the country? If the government can close its borders against the importation of rice, why didn’t the government act fast enough? We definitely don’t have the answers. However, questioning what has been done will be more of a waste of time instead, proffering solutions to the problem is the way forward.Unfortunately, the reactions of some Nigerians toward the issue is quite alarming. (see picture below)
The reactions of some Nigerians toward the issue is quite alarming. According to a poll carried out it was discovered that Nigerians, no doubt are religious people and therefore believe that they are immune to every form of disease since they are children of God and are really not taking proper precautions.
We acknowledge that there is a God but how will God protect someone who deliberately don’t protect himself? Looking at Nigerians response to the poll; the declaration of the world health organization as Nigeria to be one of the countries that have a high risk to be spread rapidly might be true if no proper precautions are been taken.
Another way Nigerians react to this pandemic is by sharing false information on social media. One must therefore be very careful to what he/she reads and take actions on.
Another issue to be discussed is to see the positive part of this disease; the disease has drawn the attention of Nigerians to globalization. After the close down of schools, most tertiary and secondary schools have resorted to lecturing online, this will in a way improve the education sector and help to compete with international standard. Churches also, have started having their services online and companies have advised their employees to work from home. Also, investors have learnt the lesson of sharing risks to various sectors of the economy while investing (As stock prices are crashing, Netflix is making gains)
Lastly, one issue to discuss is to emphasize the preventive measures against COVID-19; avoid handshakes, wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and avoid anyone who does, be aware and safe.
WRITTEN BY OLADELE ABIGAIL
Oladele Abigail, an economics graduate of Bowen University who applies her passion for writing to her career path.
Please drop your opinion in the comment box below, It really matters.
THANKS A MILLION!