The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa. The economy is well sustained by revenue inflow from the export of crude oil. At the dawn of the 21st century, Nigeria has continued to face an unsteady revenue inflow as a result of fluctuating world oil market prices and rapid population growth index.
As far as the world oil market controls the global prices of oil, the Nigerian economy will fall when global oil prices fall and vice-versa.
In 2016, the Nigerian economy was forced into a recession. This plunges the Nigerian government into borrowing from the World Bank and the international monetary fund (IMF) and other countries like China.
Within this period, Nigeria witness an increase in budget allocation to meet demands and a marked inflation ravage various sectors of the economy. Hardship was unavoidable as prices of essential and non-essential commodities skyrocket and the poor almost lost hope of survival. Austerity measures of various kinds were imposed in a bid to stabilize the economy and to move out of recession.
Few months after the Nigerian economy gradually survived the unprecedented recession, there was hope for the economy to thrive again. The year 2019 was seen as a harbinger of good fortunes and great products for the economy.
It didn’t occur to anyone that the hopes were a dream as it all fades away like dust into the air.
The year 2020 came with a backlash of a global pandemic of Corona-virus (COVID-19) from China leaving the global economy in shambles. Once again, the Nigerian economy comes crashing down like a shooting meteor in the Galaxy as the world witnessed a global oil price crash amid a global catastrophic COVID19.
The pandemic shut down world economy as a global lockdown (International, national, inter and intrastate movement restrictions) and a curfew is being imposed across Nigeria and the entire globe.
Factories and companies of both the private and governmental sectors were forced to shut down and social distancing was instructed in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. Hope for a flamboyant economy goes dim and opportunities are been sought to stabilize the economy and to curtail the spread of the virus.
Despite the call by labor union not to lay off workers in this period, many became jobless- employers tried to cut costs by terminating appointments, private business disrupted and there was a surge in the price of transportation.
Those who retain their job saw their salaries slashed helplessly. Businesses such as restaurants and hotels witness declining patronage as people become conscious of hygiene and health. Schools and places of worship were closed down and many things that used to be, have vanished away.
It was not just an economic struggle but a creeping change sweeping across the globe leaving a world of people with face masks and hand sanitizers as a social norm.
This pandemic also presents an opportunity for many countries as the World Bank and the international monetary fund (IMF) gave debt relief to many struggling countries of which Nigeria benefited in a bid to cushion the effect of the pandemic on their economy.
Nigeria also received grants and donations (financial and material) from banks and countries like Germany, the USA, and the UK. Notable international and national entrepreneurs also made donations to help stabilize the Nigerian economy and to tackle the pandemic.
The Nigerian health sector which is being rated as one of the poorest in the region also received a much need boost and adequate financing to help the sector stand the challenges of the pandemic especially those in the Frontline. The health sector received donated materials such as protective equipment (PPE), reagents, kits, machinery, ambulances among others.
The pandemic also coincide with the Ebola outbreak in the North leaving the Nigerian health sector to tackle two outbreaks at the same time hence revamping the health was no option but the only option available.
One question I had in mind is- would the Nigerian health sector see this sincere attention without the Covid-19 pandemic?
The telecommunication industry also witnesses a marked surge in service as there was an increased remote server usage and a surge in mobile data consumption. There is an increased investment in data network as companies and businesses works online from the comfort of their homes and many institutions and co-operation bodies embark in online lectures and conferences.
Data services consumption doubled geometrically as the sector witnessed increased online content usage, video streaming, gaming, downloads, social media views, and usage across the globe.
Despite the ominous effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, it does present the Nigerian government the opportunity to diversify the economy by revamping other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing industries, solid mining, and services.
The agricultural sector can sustain the Nigerian economy as it has done a few years ago if given adequate attention rather than the lip services being rendered. These sector will not only provide more jobs but will also sustain the economy even if world oil prices continue to fluctuate.
The economic challenges and recession witnessed in Nigeria could become history if the Nigerian government gives diversification the green light or it could continue in its dependence on crude oil which has brought economic fluctuations as world oil prices fluctuate.
In an interview with the social media team; Ghana president said- “We may not know how to bring people back to life, but we do know how to bring back our economy”.