The Covid-19 pandemic has wiped out 6.7% of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to 195million full time workers of which 53million African workers are affected, the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC) has said.
The Conference also lamented that before Covid-19 there were challenges of low wage and insecure jobs, adding that the pandemic has ensured that 50% people has no financial buffer, no ability to save for tough times and relied on every pay cheque to survive without safety net.
This was made known on Wednesday during the celebration of the 13th World Day Decent Work with the theme, “a new social contract for recovery and resilience”, organised by the Kaduna state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress. NLC, while taking stock of effects of COVID-19 on businesses in Kaduna state, said that both small and medium businesses were grossly crippled in the last five months.
Kaduna state NLC Chairman, Comrade Ayuba Suleiman, told journalists that the ongoing demolition of popular markets by the state government strangulated economic sources of the victims. He added that decent work applied to both the formal and informal sector.
Comrade Suleiman also observed the effect of the COVID-19 on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP), saying that the growth was largely down due to sharp drop in economic activity after the country resorted to a lockdown in April to curb the spread of the virus.
According to him, “The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been layered on top of a pre-existing crisis of low wage and insecure jobs. Every second person has no financial buffer, no ability to save for the tough times ahead and relies on every pay cheque to survive.
“As with most other economies around the world, the sharp drop in Nigeria’s GDP growth is largely down to the slowdown in economic activity after the country resorted to a lockdown back in April to curb the spread of the virus. In the wake of the pandemic the World Bank forecast a decline of -3.2% for 2020-a five percentage point drop from its previous projections.
“The stories are the same in Kaduna State, the almost five months lockdown strangulated small and medium businesses, some companies and business establishment were close down, also, the popular Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Market was shut down leaving traders with huge loss due to expired and damage commodities in their shops.
“Major markets were demolished leaving traders without alternative place to do their businesses thereby increasing economic hardship on them. Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the state government unilaterally deducted 25% of its workers’ salaries for two consecutive months; important markets were demolished for ambitious expansion and modernizations, leaving good number of traders without sources or livelihood.”