Around 20% of workers in Nigeria have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, the government's statistics office said on Tuesday, outlining the impact of the pandemic on businesses in Africa's most populous nation.
The National Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations Development Programme surveyed nearly 3,000 businesses in the formal and informal sectors in Nigeria.
In March, the NBS said a third of Nigeria's workers were out of a job in the fourth quarter of 2020, a situation worsened by the pandemic.
"While there have been promising signs of recovery this year, COVID-19 has had an outsized socio-economic impact on Nigeria," the duo said in a statement.
Businesses complained about revenue declines, higher costs and an inadequate safety net for those in the informal sector, they said, adding that the disruption could leave a lasting impact on enterprises. Only a few in the utilities, financial and health sectors reported gains from the previous year.
The West African nation's economy, the biggest on the continent, was hammered by the fall in oil prices following disruptions caused by the pandemic. The country relies on crude exports for around 70% of government revenues.
Growth in Nigeria has resumed after COVID-19 triggered a recession but it lags the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, with food inflation, heightened insecurity and stalled reforms slowing the economy and increasing poverty, the World Bank has said.
The bank has said that the COVID-induced crisis was expected to push over 11 million Nigerians into poverty by 2022, taking the total number of people classified as poor in the country to over 100 million. The total population is estimated at 200 million.
By Camillus Eboh