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Moving Ahead Post Corona Virus Pandemic: Impact and Prospects of Covid-19 on the Economy

Moving Ahead Post Corona Virus Pandemic: Impact and Prospects of Covid-19 on the Economy.

photo from Twitter/Nigeriagov

FAFORIJI, Tadese Obaloluwa

      Corona Virus Pandemic (Covid-19), after the Spanish flu of 1918, Hongkong flu and Asian flu of 1957, is the fourth pandemic influenza to have ravaged the world. It originated from Wuhan in China. It broke out in the last months of the year 2019 and rapidly spread over one hundred and eighty-eight countries, in the following year. Since its outbreak, its impact on global economies and humanity in general have been devastating especially in the developed countries like Italy, Spain, Denmark, Germany, USA, UK, Brazil to mention but a few. Among the measures taken by the governments of the affected countries are closures of schools and religious centres, cancellation of social gatherings, implementation of lockdown directives, etc in accordance with global best practices. The intense globalisation of the world polities influenced the quick spread of the virus. The preponderant effects of this virus on the economies have made a milestone in world economic history, just like the Spanish flu of 1918. This essay categorises the effects of Covid-19 on the economy into three nuggets: immediate, post-immediate and unending effects. 

PHOTO CR: cdc.com 

     The immediate effects of Covid-19 are the attachment of new image to Chinese products and loss of lives. The worsening effects of Covid-19 started from this stage. Nigeria has been an active importing country of Chinese products prior to the outbreak of the virus. The story changed for the consumers of these products when Covid-19 claimed  lives of over three million people in just a week of its outbreak. This caused sharp decrease in the numbers of consumers, producers, and also caused shortage of manpower across the country due to fear of contracting the virus.
    The second stage centered around three factors: unemployment, poverty and inequality. The implementation of the second lockdown directives opened the second stage of Corona Virus Pandemic in Nigeria. This was when the cases of the victims in Nigeria were hard to swallow. The aforementioned factors, according to Dudley Seers, are the questions to ask about the country economic development. The economy  of the country has been whittled down to infancy. The unemployment rate in the country have a sharp and rapid increase from 23.1% to 27%. In reality, without mincing the wishy-washy analysis of some economists, the unemployment rate of the country should be 33%, taking a fat increase during the pandemic. Some government workers were furloughed while some, who still have their works, have their salaries cut off. The numbers of  unemployed citizens increase every day and this has made some jobless adolescents to indulge in immorality, while some fortunately become nose cover's and sanitizer's sellers across the streets. It is a commonplace to see this people hanging around in front of banks, markets, hospitals etc, holding nose covers, swinging them right and left in order to make sales. 


     There is an exponential increase in the economy base and worth of the already rich and negative downturn to the plight of the poor masses. The politicians, dealers in pharmaceutical products, media and medical practitioners used this period of global pandemic crisis to suck the poor dry all in the name of enforcing legislation for the masses protection and allocation of bogus contracts and budgetary allocation to combat the virus. The menace of poverty in the country is seriously having its toll on masses as millions of Nigeria could barely feed due to lack of access to salary amounting months of arears, restriction by government and the fear of being caught by the daring Government Task Force agents who are reputed for extreme extortion. In some places during this second stage, cooked foods were stolen ( a typical instance of a woman who stole a pot of Amala in Osogbo, Osun State. She was caught with four children using water to eat the food. With sympathy, the original owner of the food gave the woman and her children stew to take the food). 


    The last effect of Covid-19 on the economy are abysmal and acrimonious. From day one, the mainstay of country's economy is oil. Though there are several strategies taken by the government to diversify the economy, but oil, in reality, remains the sinew of economy. Many economists have considered the oil price just of recent. It will be confusing to tell a motorist that the oil price falls, rather it is better to say it has increased, in order not to create confusion. The former petrol price per litre was 145 Naira and now it's 160 Naira, while some of these petrol stations have put their own interest on the price, a case that happens to others like diesel, kerosene, etc. 


    There is inflation battling the country's economy and this in return results to poor standard of living. Covid-19 has wrought inflation on the economy. With abounding evidence, when considering the increase in the price of goods and services, it is epochal to examine all sectors of the national economy, as there is no exception of any sector struggling from the effects of  Covid-19. Due to the unstable economy, the price of all things, including services have increased with huge percent. The price of manufactured goods, transportation costs, agricultural products, etc skyrocketed drastically. In synopsis, it is evidenced thus: the 50kg  bag of foreign rice increased from 15,000 Naira to 31, 000 Naira and that of Nigeria rice (local rice) increased from 8,000 Naira to 25, 000 Naira, just few weeks during the pandemic; a typical instance of the increased transportation cost is the transport fare from Ilesha to Akure, which was formerly 400 Naira but now it's been increased to 1,200 Naira; there is a 100% increment for new electricity tariff, a current contentious issue between the government and the citizens;  the exchange rate at the time of writing this paper is USD1 is equal to NGN383 and Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product contracts by 6.10%, all resulting from the effects of Corona Virus Pandemic. 


   Moreover, viewing from the epistemological premise of "economic determinism----the economic superstructure of any society is indispensable to an understanding of its socio-political and cultural framework"---- it can be surmised that the social disaster and insecurity are caused by this malignant disease. Eighteen people kicked the bucket while the national force were enforcing the Covid-19 lockdown directives in the country. That's prolly a month during the pandemic. People who have been living hand-to-mouth could not survive the lockdown order, therefore, went out to find something to eat. Some of these people were beaten and arrested for violating the rules. 
    However, Corona Virus Pandemic bouys the government to have human feelings for her citizens. The federal government tried to assuage the worsened situation by introducing stimulus for engendering economic transformation and sustainable social development. Some of the palliatives given out to the citizens were swallowed up by agents of the controllers of the institutions of the State. Though the government is trying to nip corruption in the bud, but Covid-19 let us know that corruption still persists in our society given the massive looting that has been carried out with impunity by the ruling class and their fronts. 


    Conclusively, it is evidenced that Covid-19 has ravaged the global economy in general and Nigerian economy in particular, but if government could, give one digit loans to the farmers and small scale business owners, create a virile storage facilities for agricultural products, build a large indigenous health centers (where indigenous medications and traditional healing practices will be made available to the people), build many laboratories, equipped with adequate apparatus, and execute its age-long created stimulus for economic transformation, just like the rapid hiccups in the national economy, it would quickly develop and perhaps be the first among equals, where good standard of living will be maintained. We need to come up with a road map to fill the yawning gap created by the effects of Covid-19 and disentangle our economy from the ensnarled trap of economic difficulty.

Moving Ahead Post Corona Virus Pandemic: Impact and Prospects of Covid-19 on the Economy Moving Ahead Post Corona Virus Pandemic: Impact and Prospects of Covid-19 on the Economy Reviewed by Tadese Faforiji on November 18, 2020 Rating: 5

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