COVID-19: Signs Of A Recovery But A Long Way Off

    COVID-19: Signs Of A Recovery But A Long Way Off-Brand Spur Nigeria
    People collect emergency rations of food and essential supplies from the Red Cross Society of Nigeria in Lagos State earlier this week. Getty Image
    Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the NBS has been conducting impact surveys, assessing the welfare of Nigerians. The latest survey conducted in Jan-2021 provides insight into how the Nigerian economy has gradually recovered from the effects of the Covid-19. A sample of 1,346 households were assessed for this report.
    Firstly, the report highlighted how unevenly Covid-19 hit children’s education. Around 48.0% of children surveyed in the lowest quintile had no access to educational content in the 15 days preceding the interview compared to just 14% in the richest quintile. Regarding galloping food prices, a pertinent issue, the survey is consistent with the recent consumer price index and inflation data.
    Households, when asked if the prices of the major food items they consumed had increased compared with one year ago (Jan-2020 vs Jan-2021), 79.0% of households that needed to buy rice indicated that the price of rice increased.
    On working status, the overall share of respondents who gainfully employed was at 70.0% in Jan-2021. A massive improvement from the low point of just 43.0% in April 2020.
    Although the survey provides some bleak updates, it ends with a silver lining, which may indicate that with the return of economic activities, the effects of Covid-19 on the workforce is beginning to abate. The report showed that in Jan-2021, around 38% of households surveyed had experienced income losses, perhaps a sign of a rebound compared to 70.0% in the early days of the pandemic.
    For our take, while we believe that the reopening of the economy would lead to a slight recovery in activities, we struggle to see headroom for sustained accelerated growth unless various stakeholders within the economy come together to solve the inequality and structural problems exposed by Covid-19.