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#EndSARS: Online Business Owners Recount Losses




Ganiyat Ganiyu

Several businesses were grounded during the two-week #EndSARS protest across the country, and the e-commerce sector was not exempted.

Despite the e-commerce business model that allows businesses and individuals to buy and sell their goods over the internet, many of them were without patronage for weeks as the #EndSARS demonstrations dominated the internet space.

The protest, which was initially peaceful across the country later took a violent turn after the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday night.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has in its latest report revealed that Nigeria lost more than N700 billion in economic value since the #EndSARS protests began.

Lagos of course is a very important economic hub and contributes quite a bit of economic activity to overall Nigeria activities.

As states across the country began to relax curfews to get the economy back on track, business owners who solely run an E-commerce spoke to as they recounted their losses while the #EndSARS protest lasted.

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A Lagos based entrepreneur who sells fashion items, Mo’Apparel said, “It was a difficult time for me because business was just picking up after the COVID-19 lockdown and now the #EndSARS protest happened. Majority of my customers are youths, many of them could not place orders while the protest was on.

“So our revenue dropped drastically for two weeks due to low patronage. It was even bad that we couldn’t dispatch our items out of Lagos due to the roadblocks.”

Another vendor, Glow Posh, said “In as much as I wanted a change by supporting the EndSARS protest, my business suffered for it. Going by figures, I made a loss amounting to millions during the two weeks protest. I couldn’t produce my products due to the curfew imposed.”

It wasn’t a different case for an Abuja based hair vendor, Hair by Luciana, as she explained how her business was paralysed due to the violence that marred the protest in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

“The protest was different here in Abuja, it was almost not peaceful from day one as security operatives dispersed protesters. The whole city was in a mess, we couldn’t sell to our customers and this had a negative impact on our revenue.”

For Mrs Ibidun James, a Lagos based baker, staying alive amid the unrest was the ultimate goal for her as business could be revived.

“As we continue to strive in these challenging times, I was mentally prepared for a possible shutdown because when there is life, there is hope for a better tomorrow. Even though, it affected my business, what was important for me was to stay safe by staying indoors during the protest while I render my support online.”

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund, IMF said that activities surrounding the #ENDSARS protest may mar the already documented Nigeria’s growth projection.

The organisation said it had already finished collecting its data but the projection will depend largely on how the protest evolves.

The Fund’s Director, African Department, Abebe Selassie, said this while responding to questions during the October 2020 Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook Press Briefing, on the sidelines of IMF/World Bank virtual annual meetings in Washington D.C.

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