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20% of Full-Time Workers in Nigeria Lost Jobs in 2020—Report

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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.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Investors Pump $10m into SeamlessHR for Expansion

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By Adedapo Adesanya

SeamlessHR, a startup that builds world-class cloud solutions to help organisations manage most HR processes on one platform, has raised $10 million in its Series A funding round which will see it expand to new frontiers in Southern and East Africa.

This funding round was led by TLcom Capital, with significant contributions from Capria Ventures, Lateral Capital, Enza Capital, Ingressive Capital, and some private investors.

The new fund is coming just about a year after announcing a seed round. The fresh capital is expected to further strengthen the company’s position as Africa’s leading cloud HR and payroll platform.

The new funds will also help the company achieve its vision of helping more African businesses become more productive and successful.

In addition, SeamlessHR will be launching a new embedded finance product to help improve the lives of working people across Africa, and will also add new product functionalities around AI and HR data analytics.

The endorsements of new investors like TLcom and Capria follow investments made by Lateral Capital, Enza Capital, and Ingressive Capital will help it achieve these.

Speaking on this, the company’s CEO, Dr Emmanuel Okeleji said, “We are fanatical about customer success, and this funding will enable us to invest in the continuous optimisation of customer experience across all touchpoints, adding new features and functionalities to empower our customers even more.”

Adding her input, Ms Andreata Muforo, Partner at TLcom Capital, expressed her “belief in our ability to unlock more value in Africa’s business-to-business (B2B) space.”

“Over the last few years, SeamlessHR has consistently demonstrated its ability to deliver a robust HR and payroll platform for Africa’s medium and large businesses.

“The strong execution shown by Emmanuel and his team is a vital ingredient required to build a successful business, and as they expand their products to include embedded finance and launch their solutions to new markets, we’re proud to partner alongside them and strengthen their push to unlock more value within Africa’s B2B space.

“At TLcom, we believe SeamlessHR can be the preferred platform for businesses to digitise workplaces and support their personnel,” she noted.

Mr Will Poole, the Managing Partner at Capria noted, “SeamlessHR is addressing the needs of African enterprises in ways that the global giants can’t compete with by building customer-centric SaaS designed from the ground-up to address complexity unique to the continent.

“Now that they’ve proven they can address the needs of disparate countries across Africa, we are confident that they will be the solution provider of choice to support their customers that are expanding globally.”

SeamlessHR is the only enterprise-grade HR and payroll SaaS company in Africa that fully manages the entire lifecycle on one platform.

Its clientele spreads across multiple sectors and regions in Africa, including renowned brands like PwC, Flutterwave, Sterling Bank, TGI Group, Lagos Business School, AXA, and Chapel Hill Denham.

SeamlessHR was founded in 2018 by Dr Emmanuel Okeleji and Deji Lana – who currently serve in their capacities as CEO and CTO respectively.

The platform equips clients and their people with the cutting-edge tools required to remain ahead of the rapidly changing HR management curve.

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FG Appoints Matthew Pwajok as NAMA Acting MD

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Matthew Pwajok

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has appointed Mr Matthew Pwajok, a former Director of Operations, as the acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

Mr Pwajok takes over from Captain Fola Akinkuotu whose tenure expired on January 7, 2022.

The appointment of Mr Pwajok, who retired from service in December 2021 was contained in a letter emanating from the Ministry of Aviation, Human Resource Management with a reference number FMA/PS/APPT/CEO/014/1/23.

The letter titled Appointment of Director to Oversee the Office of the Managing Director/CEO and signed by A.D Muhammad for the Minister read: “I am directed to inform you that the Minister has approved that Mr Pwajok Mathew Lawrence, Director of Operations, to oversee the Office of the Managing Director pending the appointment of a substantive MD/CEO.

“You are to kindly accord the director all the necessary support and cooperation he needs while overseeing the office.

“While thanking you for your usual cooperation, please accept the esteem regards of the minister.”

Established by the Act of Parliament No. 48, commencement date of 29th May 1999, NAMA provides safe, efficient, effective and economic air navigation services to airspace users, through the deployment of new technologies and a dedicated workforce.

The agency provides air traffic services in Nigeria, including air traffic control, visual and non-visual aids, aeronautical telecommunication services and electricity supplies relating thereto, to enable public transport, private, business and military aircraft.

NAMA secures the safety, efficiency and regularity of air navigation; procure, install and maintain adequate communication, navigation and surveillance and air traffic management facilities at all airports in Nigeria and ensures there is effective coordination in the use of Nigerian airspace in line with established standards and procedures.

It has a governing board headed by a part-time chairman, who is appointed by the President for a term of four years.

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UN Reappoints Amina Mohammed as Deputy Secretary-General

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Amina Mohammed

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria’s Ms Amina Mohammed has been reappointed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

In delegating development coordination to the Deputy Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Antonio Guiterres set in motion the most ambitious reform in the history of the UN development system.

Ms Mohammed’s leadership helped advance the conceptual shift from the UN that the Member States called for in adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Over the last five years, the UN Sustainable Development Group was strengthened to enhance global leadership and oversight for the development and the UN established a strengthened UN Resident Coordinator system as the foundation of a more effective development system.

The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation for the Deputy Secretary-General’s leadership of the UN Sustainable Development Group and her determination to reinforce collective results and maximize the impact of the UN development’s system on the ground.

“From our robust response to the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis; through a boost in climate action and unprecedented momentum for Financing for Development; to her strong emphasis on coherence across humanitarian, political and development action – her role was instrumental in keeping the SDGs alive at the country level and protecting the Paris Agreement, despite significant headwinds,” he said in a statement.

Prior to first assuming her role as Deputy Secretary-General in January 2017, Ms Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.

Before joining the UN, she worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals, providing advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.

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