“COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered corona virus. Corona virus causes respiratory infections ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)” (WHO). The virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since the virus has been declared a pandemic, it has had several ripple effect on many economies globally. As at July 9,2020 the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recorded 30,748 confirmed cases, 12,546 discharged patients and 689 deaths.
The following points will highlight the impacts of this disease on the Nigerian economy:
– Lock-down: The Nigerian government tried to reduce the spread of the virus by putting the country on lockdown. The economy was on lock down from the first of April to the seventh of May. This was intended to drastically reduce the movement of people through closure of business activities and ban of social gatherings.
– Increased rate of unemployment: Currently, Nigeria is facing its worst unemployment crises as employers sack millions of workers due to the negative impact of Covid-19 on their business operation and profit margins. It is predicted that the unemployment will rise to 45% by the end of 2020 from the 23% recorded in 2019 and this might increase the rate of criminal activities if alternative jobs are not created.
– Devaluation of naira: Devaluation of a currency is the deliberate downward adjustment or official lowering of a currency’s value relative to another currency or group of currencies. In the case of Nigeria, it would mean the deliberate downward adjustment of the Naira relative to the dollar. There has been a dip in oil prices, draining Nigeria’s foreign reserves and leaving the Central Bank unable to maintain the Naira’s value much longer. The rate of the dollar to naira was 360 naira to one dollar but it has become 440 naira to one dollar as at the end of June 2020
– Loss of lives: The virus has caused a large number of death (over 557,000) globally. In Nigeria there has been 689 death cases and people fear this might increase because of the poor medical facilities in Nigeria.
Also, with the arrival of COVID-19, there has been a lot of stigmatisation on people, even though most of them do not actually have the virus. The corona virus is known to have similar symptoms of the common malaria disease. Thus, the two illnesses have been generally categorised as the same. For example, anyone who coughs or sneezes repeatedly in public will be stigmatized as a patient of the Corona virus. In fact, many people are scared of visiting the hospitals at this period due to the fear of stigmatization, therefore they depend on self-medication which has failed in many cases and has increased the general death rate.
I believe this speech has enlightened us on the impact of Covid-19 on Nigeria. I hope and pray a vaccine will be discovered very soon, in order to help curb the disease and bring the economy back to normal state
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