#COVID-19 Lockdown: Implications On Political Economy

By Hassan SULEIMAN

Within 2 months of the COVID -19 pandemic lockdown, the Nigeria’s political economy situation has witnessed unprecedented twists and thorns in the midst of stand still. Virtually all the sectors of the nation’s economy is grasping for survival as companies shut down their offices, while others mandate  strategic staff to  work from home using different online platforms.

In the education sector, the trend is on the use of various Information Communication Technology platforms such as the WhatsApp, Facebook, envivo, Telegram, teleconference by teachers, who are under lockdown to interact with students.  For instance, in the Lagos State University has adopted a virtual training seminar for academic staff. Since the lockdown, the school has had series with his academic staff. The members of staff are mandated to register with training with through various links with meeting Identification (ID) and passwords given. Infact, in  line with the directive of the Lagos State Government , LASU commenced virtual (online) classes for its students across all levels  on  May 13, 2020.  The university sent  a mail containing  personalized log- in detail to each  through their registered  e-mail addresses with the university  and therefore continue to participate  by logging  in  to envivo platform  using the  log –in detail. . In addition, to this, some lecturers  open group WhatsApp to chat , discuss and even  present audio records of  different topics on many courses.The University management also held its maiden virtual University Senate meeting  on May 22, 2020. The Vice Chancellor  chaired  meeting with 118 senior members of the Academic Staff of Lagos State University in  attendance. Aside from tertiary institutions which have embraced technology to reach out  to its students, Both government owned and private  primary  and secondary schools have equally reached out to their pupils uding different Technology  powered platforms to reach out to their teeming  pupils, Indeed West African Examination Council and National Examination Council have also reached out to  the final year students, with different educational broadcasting tutorials ..

In the banking sector, the Pandemic COVID -19  has made   some staff to work from home . In an interview with Idowu Rapheal, a banker, he emphasized that the banking sector had been adversely affected by the lockdown. He said there huge decline in customer deposit either in saving or fixed deposit. He stated that the small and micro businesses has been shut down, therefore hindering bringing new businesses. He  asserted that the key functions of banking which include: servicing the customer,  receipt of deposit and save keep, loan granting, investment through  issuance of treasury bills,  fixed deposit, oil and gas investment  and financial   advisory have been shut down .  According to him “bankers are now forced to work from home which invariably has contributed to the bottom line of bank transactions and low patronage. In fact, the Central Bank of Nigeria  publication on the need for banks not to sack  their staff came at the right time because  some banks have compiled the list of  staff to be sacked “

In the same vein,   Ralpheal mentioned that the interest on loans have been technically removed because not many sectors can meet up. Aside those in essential services industry such as: health, food and beverages,  agric and allied industries that are now  being given access to loan, other sectors are nit assisted. He claimed that trading with stakeholders fund on the floor of the  Stock  Exchange Market has been at its lowest since the   outbreak of the Pandemic, leading to dro in price of shares in stock .

Sharing his view on the Pandemic COVID—19 lockdown and its effects on the Media training Centre, Oladimeji Wasiu, the proprietor of Wyze Communication. He explained that the lockdown has enabled the outfit to adopt online method in order to keep abreast and maintain his clients. He claimed that he   created a WhatsApp group where he added all his student phone number based on the categories of their studies. He said that the online platform require students to get data because it is not free. At  a particular time, the parents of these students requested that they will appreciate if  I can ran the online classes  free but  because I still want to keep my  clients, I seemingly ran the online classes free while I bore the overhead cost . I equally informed the teachers about the decision of the parents and urged those who can  do it free to assist . “

The media too have its better peel of the COVID-19 as some media organization retrenched some staff due to their bloated overhead cost. According to report, Gotel Communication based in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State and owned by one of the former Nigeria ‘s Vice President  sacked 40 of its staff  as a result of  restructuring exercise. This exercise was carried out during the Pandemic  COVID -19 lockdown .The creative industry which comprised the theatre arts, cinema, stand –up comedy, promo events,  red carpet shows and product, personality and service launch  have lost their glamour and patronage . Government restriction as a result of lockdown has prevented people from buying tickets to view these shows. These industry practitioners now use various visual technology to still retain their clients.

Poultry and Fish farming are also among the affected by the ranging corona virus pandemic a fortune continue to decline due to low patronage from consumers. According to a media report, the President of the Lagos State Catfish and Allied Farmers Association, Mrs Nurat Atoba, she complained bitterly that the lockdown was unexpected and came at a time many of the farmers had stocked their ponds with fish. She stated that there are no buyers for metric tons of fish in their farms. According to her “our major customers are predominantly in the food and nutrition sector such as hotels, eateries and restaurant, among others, but the lockdown has reduced their patronage. She emphasized that their hatchery members lot of their newly hatched fries.            Majority of them who are not mobile could not get to their farms due to restriction of movement. She therefore urged government to buy off their stocks or provide assistance in the area of grants so that they can obtain feeds for the stocks they have in their farms. There are also the problem of Almajiris, dwindling patronage of Nigeria’s oil in the global market,  as well as  uncoordinated palliative measure implemented by the Federal Government as

Recently, the Federal Government, according to media report is merging some ministries, agencies and department of federal government due to the shortfall in the income and the revenue of the     Federal Government due to the pandemic lockdown. The outbreak of the Pandemic COVID-19 and the lockdown imposed on Nigerians  with a view to curtailing the  spread have redefined Nigeria political economy sphere. 

Hassan Suleiman is of the Department of Journalism, School of Communication, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos

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