A cursory glance at the recent developments on COVID-19 reveals that since December 2019, the virus has spread to nearly every continent in the world, and case numbers have continued to rise. There are authoritative reports from 211 countries and territories reporting that more than 2,463,000 novel COVID-19 cases worldwide i have emerged since China reported its first cases to the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2019. Humanity will never forget December 2019 when the strange virus emerged. Since then, it threatens to become one of the most difficult tests faced by humanity in modern history, with a huge potentiality to take lives, overwhelm health systems, and trigger lasting geopolitical change.
According to the report of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), by 20th of April 2020, Africa had 22 303 cases; the five countries reporting most cases are South Africa (3 158), Egypt (3 144), Morocco (2 855), Algeria (2 629) and Ghana (1 042). Asia had 378 985 cases; the five countries reporting most cases are Turkey (86 306), China (83 817), Iran (82 211), India (17 265) and Israel (13 491). America had 899 051 cases; the five countries reporting most cases are United States (759 687), Brazil (38 654), Canada (34 777), Peru (15 628) and Chile (10 088). Europe had 1 046 854 cases; the five countries reporting most cases are Spain (195 944), Italy (178 972), Germany (141 672), United Kingdom (120 067) and France (112 606). Oceania had 7 964 cases; the five countries reporting most cases are Australia (6 612), New Zealand (1 105), Guam (136), French Polynesia (55) and New Caledonia (18), with other 696 cases reported from an international conveyance in Japan ii.
According to the same report, Africa had recorded 1 120 deaths; the five countries reporting most deaths are Algeria (375), Egypt (239), Morocco (141), South Africa (54) and Cameroon (42). Asia had 14 663 deaths; the five countries reporting most deaths are Iran (5 118), China (4 636), Turkey (2 017), Indonesia (582) and India (543). America had 47 369 deaths; the five countries reporting most deaths are United States (40 682), Brazil (2 462), Canada (1 580), Mexico (686) and Ecuador (474). Europe had 101 408 deaths; the five countries reporting most deaths are Italy (23 660), Spain (20 453), France (19 718), United Kingdom (16 060) and Belgium (5 683). Oceania had 89 deaths; the four countries reporting most deaths are Australia (70), New Zealand (12), Guam (5) and Northern Mariana Islands (2). Other 7 deaths were reported from an international conveyance in Japan iii.
With these developments of ill-health, deaths and restrictions of movements to curtail the spread of the virus, the consequence on the economy of Africa and Nigeria in particular would obviously be disastrous. This piece would focus on how COVID-19 has affected the Nigerian economy. It would further make suggestions on the way forward towards boosting the Nigerian economy.
The International Monetary Fund Report in 2020 observes that in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy faces its worst downturn since the Great Depression. Following the IMF, the Oxfam International in her 2020 report warned that half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With particular reference to Nigeria, the question looming at the horizon is: how is the pandemic affecting her economy? A cursory glance at the Nigerian economy reveals that there are three major impacts that COVID-19 is already having. Each of the three impacts is very devastating. However, having the three of them at a time, with their mutually reinforcing character, their threat to any economy can be terrible.
The consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy is one that the nation will have to grapple with for years to come. However, the policy response will go a long way in determining how long it would last. If it is late, weak, or uncoordinated, the devastating consequences would last longer. However, if the response is prompt, strong and coordinated, it would be less devastating. For the policies to be coordinated, it must be multidimensional, bold, and unbound by convention.
All the above points can be grouped under three main policy instruments:
The first is health and social protection. It includes government policies regarding testing, treatment, hiring new medical staff, expanding social assistance and implementing cash transfers to households, etc. The second is Fiscal policy, which includes efforts on revenue collection, spending and financing of the larger fiscal deficit. The third is Financial, industrial, and trade policies, which cover providing liquidity to solvent banks, bank forbearance on domestic private loans, reductions in collateral requirements, canceling unnecessary procedures for firm registration, and reducing import restrictions and tariffs vi.
If the policy instruments presented in Figure 1 are administered, Figure 2 tells of the expected outcomes from the administration of the policy instruments.
The beauty of this is that the policy instruments must be administered concurrently, and only within this context is she able to bring about a wholistic expected outcome that reduces human suffering, enhances the recovery of the economy from bankruptcy and recession.
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