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COVID-19 Lockdown And Distressed Industries



Zainab Sanni

The coronavirus disease outbreak has brought industries across the world to their knees. Economic uncertainties loom and many wonder if life would ever be the same again.

Nigeria which had its index case of the pandemic on Thursday, 27th February now has a record of 1045 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease. One of the measures put in place by Federal and State governments to restrict the spread of the pandemic is a total lockdown directive which has affected social and economic activities.

According to a KPMG report, “the rapid outbreak of the COVID-19 presents an alarming health crisis that the world is grappling with. In addition to the human impact, there is also significant economic, business and commercial impact being felt globally. In fact, 94 percent of the Fortune 1000 across the globe, and businesses in Nigeria have been impacted and are already seeing COVID-19 disruptions.”

In Nigeria, a number of industries have been badly hit and are taking drastic measures, – including sending staff on leave without pay- to stay afloat.


Television and radio stations in the South West and Northern zones of the country, on Friday, April 24th hinted at the possibility of a shutdown if the government would not provide help to sustain broadcasting operations. Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Zone C , and the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association, in separate statements, said the lockdown order put in place because of the raging COVID-19, had affected their revenue streams and appealed to the Federal Government for bailout funds.

Chairman, South West BON (Zone C), Festus Kehinde said “COVID 19 pandemic ravaging the world has created a financial cul-de-sac for broadcast stations in the southwest which may necessitate a shutdown of operations if urgent actions are not taken”. Dr. Ahmed Tijani for the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA) also said “the current economic challenges faced by radio and TV stations in the north may soon lead to a shutdown of media houses.” He called on the government to quickly intervene.


In March, the International Air Transport Association had said “the disruption to air travel due to the continued spread of coronavirus will cost Nigeria’s aviation industry over N160.58bn (using Bureau de Change rate of N370 to $1) ($434m) in revenue and 22,200 jobs. IATA had also said the country would lose approximately 2.2 million passengers.

On Friday, April 24th, the management of Arik Air announced that it would implement an 80% pay cut for members of staff across board for the month of April 2020.

It also announced that 90% of its staff will proceed on leave without pay, starting from Friday, May 1, 2020 until further notice.

This confirms fears that the income of many families would dip even further if the lockdown continues.


Secondary and primary schools were shut down just before they could round off academic activities for the school year second term. Ideally, they should have resumed for the third term with parents paying school fees but as the lockdown continues, it doesn’t seem likely that resumption will happen soon.

Our correspondent gathered that private school owners are now struggling to keep up with the payment of staff salaries and with worries that the Federal Government has no intention of lifting the lockdown soon, they cannot afford to continue paying.

Plans by some Lagos based private schools to resume academic activities for the third term online were thwarted when the Lagos State Ministry of Education warned private schools to shun the idea.
The State Commissioner for education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo in a statement on Thursday, 23rd April said “The attention of the Lagos State Ministry of Education has been drawn to the plans by some private schools in the state to resume academic activities for the third term of the 2019/20 session by online teaching. This is with effect from Monday, April 27, 2020.

“The Ministry wishes to state categorically that all schools in Lagos State remain closed and have not yet been opened for the third term. The state continues to offer free teachings on various media, especially radio and television.”


Oluwaseun Sanni works with an Events Company in Lagos . He is deeply worried about the possibility of receiving half or no salary following a conversation he had with the Chief Executive Officer of his organisation. In a chat with, he said all projects that should have yielded profit for the company in the month of April have been put on hold. He has no doubt that this would mean no salary for some employees including the secretary, driver and security man and for him, he can only pray for half salary. He is however certain that if the lockdown continues, he won’t receive pay in May because there would be no events to manage.


Damilola Abodurin, an Ibadan based make-up artist used to make between 24,000-40, 000 naira weekly before the lockdown. ” It has affected my business a whole lot. On an average, I do about four makeups weekly. Right now, I’m not even getting any. No one is going out and I’m not even willing to pick up any offer right now. Until this whole phase is over. ” she told . She has resorted to sewing and selling face masks, hoping that people will buy.

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Similarly, spas and beauty parlors have also been shut down since the lockdown order went into effect. Individuals who work in these places have no hope of getting paid at month end.

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