NBS Publishes COVID-19 Impact Monitoring Survey Report for May 2020

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Friday, June 05, 2020 / 09:54 AM / by NBS / Header Image Credit: @sgyemikale


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Introduction

Nigeria was among the first countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to identify cases of COVID-19. The Government has since implemented strict measures to contain the spread of the virus. Additionally, global oil prices plummeted by a dramatic 60% following the spread of the pandemic and since the oil sector accounts for the bulk of government revenue, this is expected to substantially weaken the Nigerian economy.

 

The federal government will have fewer resources available to simultaneously combat the public health crisis of COVID-19 and a weakening economy. In order to track the impacts of the pandemic, the National Bureau of Statistics implemented the Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (COVID-19 NLPS) on a nationally representative sample of 1,950 households. COVID-19 NLPS households were drawn from the sample of households interviewed in 2018/2019 for Wave 4 of the General Household Survey-Panel (GHS Panel).

 

The extensive information collected in the GHS Panel just over a year prior to the pandemic provides a rich set of background information on COVID-19 NLPS households which can be leveraged to assess the differential impacts of the pandemic in the country. This brief presents findings from the baseline of this survey which was conducted between April 20 and May 11, 2020 and coincided with a federally mandated lockdown that was initiated on March 30, 2020.

 

Summary

  • Respondents are generally aware of important preventative measures against coronavirus such as handwashing (97%), avoiding gatherings (90%) and social distancing (89%).
  • Many in the country are concerned about the health and financial impacts of the pandemic. 78% of respondents were worried about themselves or their family members becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus, while 92% saw the coronavirus as a threat to their household's finances.
  • The impact on employment and income have also been widespread. 42% of respondents who were working before the outbreak reported that they were not currently working due to COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19 has been most strongly felt in the commerce, service, and agriculture sectors. 79% of respondents reported that their households' total income have decreased since midMarch.
  • Some households struggled to purchase staple foods like yam, rice and beans during the 7 days prior to the interview with 35-59% of households who need to purchase these staple foods reporting that they were not able to buy them. 26% of households reported not being able to access medical treatment when they needed it during the same period.
  • Experience of economic shocks in the few months after the outbreak of coronavirus far exceeds shocks experienced between 2017 and 2019. The most widely reported shock experienced by households was an increase in prices of major food items faced by 85% of households since the outbreak compared to only 19% between January 2017 and January 2019. Many households have struggled to cope with these widespread shocks with 51% of all households resorting to reducing food consumption.
  • The pandemic has also affected children's education. Among households with children attending school prior their nationwide closure in March, only 62% reported that their children had engaged in any learning/educational activities since the closure.

 

Knowledge and Concerns of COVID-19 Transmission

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97% of respondents reported that they knew handwashing was a measure to help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, while only 63% of respondents knew that avoiding touching their face is also a preventative measure. Knowledge of appropriate social distancing measures was also high among all respondents. The majority of respondents reported being concerned that COVID-19 could have a negative impact on their health and financial status. 78% reported being “very or somewhat worried” about themselves or an immediate family member becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus, while 92% reported that the coronavirus is a “substantial or moderate” threat to their household's finances.

 

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Employment And Livelihood

The survey revealed that 42% of respondents who were working before the outbreak were no longer working the week preceding the interview for reasons related to COVID-19. The poorest households (from the lowest consumption quintile) reported the highest share who stopped working (45%) but the rate was also high for the wealthiest households (39%)

 

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Workers in all sectors were affected by the pandemic, but primarily those working in commerce, services and agriculture. 14% of respondents were working in the commerce sector before the outbreak but have since stopped working due to COVID-19. This is equivalent to 60% of all those working in the sector prior to the pandemic. In all sectors, respondents that stopped working reported that COVID19 related economic impacts were the primary cause.

 

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A high rate of households reported income loss since midMarch. 79% of households reported that their total income decreased. Income from all sources were affected by the pandemic and reported to have decreased since mid-March. However, the rate was highest for income from non-farm family business (85%) compared to household farming, livestock or fishing (73%) and wage employment (58%).

 

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Access to Basic Needs

A high percentage of households (35-59% of those that needed them) reported not being able to buy staple foods like yam, rice and beans during the 7 days prior to the interview when they needed them. Soap and cleaning supplies were reported by households to be the most commonly needed items, though most households were able to purchase these items. 26% of households who needed medical treatment reported not being able to access treatment.

 

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Safety Net and Coping

When compared to the period between January 2017 and January 2019 as reported in the GHS-Panel data, it is clear that the same households interviewed in the COVID-19 NLPS have experienced more economic shocks following the pandemic. Increases in the price of major food items consumed (85% of households) and farming/business inputs (46%) were most widely experienced. Serious disruptions of economic activities were also experienced, particularly nonfarm business closure (36%) and disruption of farming activities (29%). While households are facing economic shocks, they are also attempting to adapt. However, many households appear to be turning to coping mechanisms that can have further negative impacts such as reducing food consumption (51% of all households). Many households are also drawing down their savings (29%) in response to these shocks.

 

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Education

School closure prompted by the pandemic is reducing children’s opportunity to learn. 38% of households with children who attended school prior to school closures due to the pandemic reported that their children did not engage in any learning/education activities during the 7 days prior to the interview. Poorer households have higher rate compared to wealthier households. 81% of households also reported that they did not have any contact with children's teachers since schools were closed.

 

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