An ideal economy grows via the constant exchange of goods and services, creation of industries and exportation of finished or semi-finished goods. If this declines, then the economy will definitely suffer a setback.
The experience from the breakout of the new coronavirus strain, popularly known as COVID-19, has been after all and sundry. Nigeria, like many other countries, has witnessed its share of the pandemic disease which has brought ostensible tranquillity to the nation. The fact that the Nigerian Government have only decided to clamp down all forms of social and interpersonal gathering after letting the novel virus slip into our dilapidated system, may not cure or prevent the menace caused by the invisible wildfire. We might think the closedown of markets, schools and other public gatherings will do justice to the pandemic disease, but the current structure in our country promotes inevitable constant physical interactions.
Since the breakout of COVID-19, economies of different countries in the world have experienced setbacks where people can’t leave their homes to their respective places of work, causing a significant drop in standards of living. For example, self-employed individuals like technicians and artisans find it difficult to accrue their daily toll of stipends, solely because street-to-street mobility is now an offence. An automobile technician might have to sit and sleep daily because car owners have been deprived of servicing their engines.
In Nigeria, only a handful of people carry out transactions online, which means a majority of the population needs to meet physically before they exchange goods and services. The current lockdown might become the beginning of a hunger strike for some people due to the absence of physical gatherings. What can the poor citizen do? Coronavirus has sent him and his business packing off the street. The boys on the street will be forced into idleness, as no one perambulates the streets to buy cold drinks and snacks.
My friend in the United States once told me in a phone conversation, that despite the lockdown, he still took classes online. I was envious that despite the shutdown of academic activities, knowledge is still being transmitted through the internet. What can I say about my country Nigeria where network seesaw is a norm? You hardly enjoy watching your favourite show on YouTube due to the irregularities with the internet connection. COVID-19 has just decided to expose our nakedness.
The hike in internet prices and unsatisfactory services is disappointing. The telecommunication regulators could not slash data prices just to relieve citizens from the exorbitant costs we will be paying telecoms providers during this period.
Despite this, some Nigerians are going digital. Most meetings are done via virtual meeting apps on the internet. The Lagos state government has launched a digital means of learning via radio and television. Our religious gatherings, business and academic classes have gone digital due to the current constraints. Who could imagine such a thing could happen in our country?
The current digital campaign will affect Nigeria in both positively and negatively and after the end of this pandemonium, many companies might retrench their workforce after getting a taste of the digital life. Some companies will see no reason to acquire that huge number of staff, they might choose to employ the services of a freelancer who works from home. The gigantic workspace might not be necessary. That may be one of many downsides of the viral outbreak while some prosper via internet marketing classes.
In conclusion, COVID-19 will definitely go the same way it came. A friend said, that the virus might become something we live within our society. I think this time is for the government to notice and identify the loopholes endemic to our country and proffer possible solutions soonest.
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