• Friday, June 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Four numbers that capture evolving COVID-19 impact in Nigeria

African leaders to brainstorm on economic future of continent post COVID-19

Since Nigeria’s index case in late February, the trajectory of the country’s COVID-19 pandemic cases has been of interest in understanding how the health and economic crisis is unfolding in Africa’s biggest economy.

These numbers capture crucial measures that tell the unfolding story of the economic impact of the virus.

29%

The rate of joblessness slowed from 42% between April and May to 29% in June, according to the COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and World Bank.

The drop in the rate of unemployment among surveyed participants reflects the pick-up in economic activities as states began reopening after more than a month under lockdown.

In June, 71% of respondents told the statistics office that they had some form of jobs compared to 58% of people without jobs during the total lockdowns in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun.

Before mid-March, 84% of Urban respondents were working but between April and May, this rate dropped to 33%. However, by June the number increased to 64%.

Also, before mid-march 85% of rural respondents had jobs but this rate declined between April and May to 47%. As of June nonetheless, it had climbed to about 75%.

While generally there seems to be a gradual return to normalcy, information from foremost job site Jobberman suggests a rise in active job seekers indicating that white-collar jobs may still be slow to catch up or formal sector workers are changing jobs.

“Typically we have about 10,000 active job-seekers a week,” Hilda Kragha, Jobberman’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg last month. “During this pandemic, we have been having over 55,000, which means more people are looking for jobs.”

-12%

Remote working might be taking shape as a permanent feature of workplaces going-forward.

According to the latest Google Mobility Index (published August 7), footprint to workplaces dropped by 12% between June 26 and August 7, despite on-going lockdown ease which is in its second phase.

BusinessDay findings suggest that many firms still allow their staff to work from home for cost-saving reasons and wary of the sharp increase in daily new cases for most of June, a wait-and-see approach had been adopted.

The Google report, however, showed that visits to public transport hubs grew by 1 percent, an indication that people have started moving around more. The data suggests movements have been for essential purposes like shopping (Supermarket and pharmacy grew +1%) as opposed to leisure (Retail and recreation fell 10%).

23%

The official naira value has plunged by 23% to a dollar due to currency adjustments since March where the COVID-19 pandemic and an OPEC+ crisis crashed oil prices to record lows.

This has severe implications for inflation, already at a 2-year high, as manufacturers who are dependent on foreign-inputs will attempt to pass on the higher costs to consumers.

In March the official naira was pegged at 307/$ but the Central Bank of Nigeria has moved the peg upwards to $379, a rate it updated on its website last week. The move is also in line with the country’s plan to unify the rates naira is sold through its multiple windows as promised to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

44.9

At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria, the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) in February was 58.3 points. However, the measure of manufacturing sentiments contracted for the third straight month in July 2020 at 44.9 points bringing the second-quarter average to 43, a contraction, compared to 56.2, an expansion, in the first three months of the year.

The decline captures the effect of the lockdowns in the second quarter but with July (44.9) showing an improvement compared to June (41.1), perhaps the worst might just be behind.