Standing tall in a pandemic
No country appears free from the icy touch of the covid-19 pandemic. At its peak, countries all over the world felt various degrees of its negative impacts. It has killed, amplified gender inequalities globally and contributed to reduction in global trade. In Nigeria, the most relatable impact would be the latest unemployment rate, which increased to 33.3 percent in Q4 2020 from 27.1 percent in Q2 2020 according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Covid-19 is undoubtedly an exhibition of ‘ugliness’, but there are business opportunities it has thrown up, especially in the area of prevention. Some Nigerians leveraged on business opportunities likes face masks, sanitizer production and sales, just as more logistics companies leveraged on delivery services to meet demand, which surged during the lockdown.
This photo story focuses on three businesses that leveraged on Covid-19 pandemic that kept many Nigerians away from work during the lockdown.
Olusola Babatunde is the founder OSC Mask Production Company in Lagos. The company was producing school uniforms and outsourced clothing lines before the onset of the pandemic. The idea to go into masks production began when the world started locking down, making importation difficult in attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19. The shortage of medical masks (mostly recommended) drove prices up. Unaffordable and scarce, it soon forced world leaders to recommend local production using clothes. This became the opportunity she needed to delve into mass production.
OSC became one of the few first licensees to get approval to mass-produce in Nigeria after series of testing its samples. The production of masks led to the production of other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including medical scrubs, which passed all the tests by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Covid-19 response in terms of prevention created a value-chain in its distribution channel.
Mask-hawking has become a common business since the virus began spreading. Many Nigerians, especially low-income earners and players in the informal small business sector, delved into the business to stay buoyant during the lockdowns and till date.
Homemade sanitizers & liquid soap
Briggs Sotonye, an ex-banker, started producing sanitizers way back in 2014 on a low key because people were not really interested in it. However, the pandemic offered an opportunity for her to produce more with the increase in demand for the product.
This report was facilitated by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under its Free to share project.