By Adedapo Adesanya
A new report has disclosed that at least 20 per cent of full-time workers in Nigeria lost employment during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The report tagged The Impact of COVID-19 on Business Enterprises in Nigeria was jointly released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday.
Sampling 3,000 businesses via in-depth interviews across both formal and informal sectors in major industries of the economy, the report assessed the impact of COVID-19 on business enterprises in the country.
“While there have been promising signs of recovery this year, COVID-19 has had an outsized socio-economic impact on Nigeria,” it said.
“From disruptions in supply chains to ongoing supply and demand shocks and a drop in consumer confidence, these challenges are expected to leave a lasting impact on the businesses and enterprises that make up the backbone of the economy,” it added.
The report also highlighted the significant decline in revenue faced by enterprises and establishments across the country due to the pandemic.
It indicated that 81 per cent of enterprises interviewed, experienced a decline in revenue and 73 per cent stated that they faced liquidity challenges due to secondary impacts of the pandemic in 2020.
Data from the report showed that the median loss in revenue remained at 44 per cent, in comparison to 2019 revenues while about 60 per cent of enterprises surveyed experienced an increase in operational costs, with the price of raw materials and logistics being the top two contributors to the increase.
Other operational challenges included access to credit and capital, high expenditure on utilities, and inadequate social safety net, especially for informal enterprises.
In addition, the report revealed that one in three business enterprises surveyed indicated that some businesses have permanently closed due to operational challenges resulting from the pandemic.
According to the report, businesses are likely to continue experiencing the impact of the pandemic even after the easing of public health measures.
Despite reduced restrictions at the time of the interviews, 74 per cent of enterprises still reported a decrease in production levels when compared to the same time in 2019.
In his remarks, the new Statistician-General of the Federation and Head of the NBS, Mr Simon Harry, highlighted the importance of the survey results.
“As the economy begins to show signs of gradual growth, this report contains important information that can guide policymakers in their interventions to mitigate the negative socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in the country,” he said
“I wish to thank UNDP for collaborating with the National Bureau of Statistics on this important report and I urge other development partners to emulate this worthy endeavour by partnering with the Bureau in matters relating to data generation in the country.
“Although the report findings highlight the complex challenges the economy continues to face because of COVID-19, it also tells a powerful story of innovation, resilience, and strength as Nigerian businesses leverage their ingenuity to adjust to this new normal,” he added.
On his part, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Mohamed Yahya said, “As Nigeria mobilises to recover from the devastating health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic, this report will be a critical tool in informing targeted policymaking and programme interventions for both medium and long-term planning as the country rebuilds.”
University of Ibadan Elects Prof Adebowale as 13th VC
By Adedapo Adesanya
Professor Kayode Adebowale has emerged as the 13th Vice-Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the institution’s Governing Council, Mr John Odigie-Oyegun, on Thursday at the Senate Chambers in Ibadan.
He said the Joint Council-Senate Selection Board interviewed the eight candidates shortlisted and the Professor of Chemistry, who until his appointment was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), was preferred to head the 73-year-old university.
Mr Odigie-Oyegun said: “Two representatives of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education were in attendance.
“At the end of the very thorough, transparent and highly competitive exercise, Prof. Kayode Oyebode Adebowale emerged as the best candidate for the position of Vice-Chancellor.
“The Governing Council, at its just-concluded meeting today considered the report of the Selection Board and approved the recommendation of the Board to appoint Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan.”
Mr Odigie-Oyegun further said that the position of the VC became vacant on December 1, 2020.
In his acceptance speech, Prof Adebowale said that though, he was not the best among all the candidates, he was happy to have been appointed to the institution’s apex position and called for support from the entire university community for his administration.
The selection came almost a year after the process for the appointment of the 13th substantive vice-chancellor at the University of Ibadan was halted. Sixteen candidates had applied to lead the university.
However, the withdrawal of a former Dean, Faculty of Arts of the same institution, Professor Remi Raji-Oyelade, had reduced the number to 15.
Following a screening exercise by the Governing Council of the university, the number of contestants was pruned to eight on Wednesday.
Those who scaled through the screening on Wednesday included the Acting VC, Professor Adebola Ekanola, Professors Yinka Aderinto; Adebowale; Ademowo and Babatunde Salako.
The process of appointing the 13th vice-chancellor of the university began afresh under the newly appointed Chairman of the institution’s Governing Council.
This was due to various allegations of malpractices by various factions within the university community under the former VC, Professor Idowu Olayinka.
The new race, which commenced in the second week of July 2021, came after the decision on the cancellation of the initial process of the VC race by the new Governing Council of the University.
The initial UI VC race, which started in May 2020, ended on November 23 with the directive from the Federal Ministry of Education, through the Nigerian Universities Commission (NCC), due to various crises that marred the election of members of the Senate representatives.
Senate Confirms Justice Baba-Yusuf as FCT Chief Judge
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The Nigerian Senate has confirmed the nomination of Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf as the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week transmitted a letter to the upper chamber of the National Assembly for the confirmation of Justice Baba-Yusuf for the position.
Mr Buhari had explained in the letter that the nomination of the respected legal practitioner was in accordance with the provision of Section 256(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian 1999, as amended.
At the Senate, the nomination of the judge was considered and approved following the recommendations of its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters headed by Mr Opeyemi Bamidele.
While presenting his report on Tuesday, Mr Bamidele said the judge met all the requirements expected of him.
Mr Baba-Yusuf has been holding the position in an acting capacity since August and is now recognized as the chief judge following the approval.
The development followed the resignation of Mr Salisu Garba as the chief judge of the FCT high court.
The Chief Judge is the highest judicial officer in the state and acts as a chief administrative officer as well as a spokesperson for the judicial branch.
The Chief Judge presides over oral arguments before the court and also has significant agenda-setting power over the court’s meetings.
FG to Deepen Job Creation in Green Economy
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
The Federal Government of Nigeria has drawn attention to the vast provision of job opportunities in the green economy of the country.
It considered the sector’s provision of creating environmentally-friendly jobs in areas such as construction, renewable energy, afforestation, and waste management, which includes e-waste.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, who mentioned this at the opening of the 6th Meeting of the National Employment Council, noted that the opportunities presented, especially to youths, in this sector have not been explored enough.
Speaking on the theme Creating Environmental Friendly (Green) Jobs, the Minister, represented by the Director, Employment and Wages, Mr John Nyamale, noted that the government was committed to the large-scale installation of mini-grids and solar home systems.
He said this will be effective in a minimum of five million households not currently on the grid as part of the government’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan titled Bouncing Back.
The Minister, in a statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Charles Akpan, said that the council will discuss extensively the activities of the federal ministries of Power and Environment, in evolving strategies and innovative ideas to create decent jobs in the green economy.
“This council has the responsibility of following up on the implementation of this plan and making useful recommendations that can deepen job creation in the green economy,” he explained, urging participants to be aware of the presentations from the critical ministries.
Mr Ngige also disclosed that the council would be informed on the implementation of the afforestation program and Nigeria’s Sovereign Green Bonds by the Federal Ministry of Environment.
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