So Sad… How Coronavirus has Hampered the Nigerian, London and Dubai Socio-Economic Milieu

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So Sad… How Coronavirus has Hampered the Nigerian, London and Dubai Socio-Economic Milieu

So Sad… How Coronavirus has Hampered the Nigerian, London and Dubai Socio-Economic Milieu
March 06
18:37 2020

Why Obasanjo, Others Cancelled Parties

The list is swelling by the hour of the global companies which have been having grueling experience since the outbreak of the Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 in China.

Procter & Gamble and Ralph Lauren, among others, have issued warning that the epidemic will hurt sales because shoppers are staying home, especially in the booming consumer market of China.

Microsoft, Medtronic and Best Buy admit that the virus has disrupted their supply chains in Asia and forced them to shut down production, at least temporarily.

Apple has regrettably warned that it won’t meet its sales estimates for the current quarter, in part because its major suppliers remain understaffed, as potential employees have stated away for fear of contacting the virus.

No industries have been as hardest hit as tourism and travel. Many airlines have consistently cancelled flights just as companies such as JPMorgan Chase have maintained travel ban on all but essential employees.

Coronavirus crisis drags down Flybe is the The Guardian (UK)’s screaming headline that announced the collapse of Europe’s biggest regional airline, in what analysts have described as perhaps “could be the start of more casualties.”

The UK-based Flybe failure came barely a day after a global airline industry body bleakly predicted that the financial hit from coronavirus could reach $113bn (£87bn) this year.

Airline experts are forecasting more failures as passengers cancel flights.

Flybe’s collapse “will likely be the first of many in 2020,” said James Goodall, transport analyst at Redburn.

“We expect that the demand destruction caused by Covid-19 accelerated its demise and we believe further airline bankruptcies should be expected in the coming months.”

Airlines could lose $63bn to $113bn in revenue from the slump in passenger traffic globally this year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday.

Back home, Nigeria may have been designated as one of the most prepared countries to contain the spread of Coronavirus, yet, the biting effects of the outbreak sweeping across the globe have not exempted the country. In actual fact, the country economic space is shrinking fast as activities that stimulate growth and development are being put on hold or witnessing outright cancellation for fear of the annihilating virus.

Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who has been upbeat about railway construction across the country has just admitted on a live television programme that the outbreak of Coronavirus has disrupted the construction of Lagos-Ibadan rail project. According to Amaechi, the employees of the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), the construction company handling the project, have gone back to China and were in the country on the order of the Chinese government.

“If not for coronavirus we would have finished the Lagos-Ibadan rail, although the project is nearly completed. The CCECC workers are still in China,” he said.

Not only has the process been slowed down, therefore extending the completion date earlier stated, many Nigerians employed by CCECC to render sundry services are now in limbo as they have been relieved, albeit temporarily, of their services.

Findings by TheCapital show that many of the casual workers and others making brisk businesses along the project corridor keep showing up everyday in the hope that work would resume soon but they always go back home empty-handed, heartbroken and in despair.

“We are praying that God should eradicate this virus so that the contractors can come back. Things have been very difficult for us since work stopped on the project. We always go back home empty-handed everyday since there is nothing to do,” Semiu Akanni, a casual worker expressed in frustration.

Social functions have also taken the hits, as their hosts continue to cancel such events. In situations where social functions are held, people hardly turn up.

TheCapital has reliably gathered that United Bank for Africa has cancelled its annual CEO Awards celebration for 2020. The foremost financial institution expressly stated that the cancellation became imperative due to COVID-19 outbreak and in strict adherence to various health warnings by the World Health Organisation and the Nigerian Ministry of Health. The bank promises to back next year.

While TheCapital cannot confirm how much of resources have been invested in the event, it is certain that some vendors who had looked forward to benefiting economically from the event have to look elsewhere for such benefits this year.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo only yesterday said that the fear of contacting COVID-19 compelled him to adjust his three-day birthday. Obasanjo’s birthday celebration which was initially scheduled to hold for three days was compressed into one day.

While addressing well-wishers at his 83rd birthday celebration held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Obasanjo said, “When we were thinking of this celebration, two programmes came to mind.

“One was to see what Asian countries have done to make their continent become what they have become, for instance, Malaysia, which was worse than us when we got independence; South Korea which was below us and Vietnam which was plunged into series of wars.

“We would have spent the day before yesterday and yesterday to really consider how the Asians have risen to greatness.

“And what lessons we could learn from them but because of Coronavirus, that programme was shelved. Some of them were not able to make it.”

Worship centres, especially in Lagos, have neither been spared, as congregants have chosen to desert churches. A lady who worships in one of the most prominent churches in Nigeria explained on her social platform that she chose to partake in the church service through online streaming. According to her, church is a place where people sit so closely to one another; and that aside, today’s pastors are in the habit of asking congregants to exchange handshakes and hugs with one another, many of which are strangers.

A sprawling luxury hotel in Ikeja GRA, Lagos, that used to play host to a good number of expatriates and foreigners is currently witnessing a sharp decline in patronage. One of the managers of the hotel confided in TheCapital that the management is seriously contemplating downsizing its personnel, many of whom have been redundant lately.

In the same vein, founder and CEO of Twitter, who had promised when he was in Nigeria last November to come back and spend six months in Africa, has been reported to reconsider his decision as the spread of the virus has taken a monstrous dimension in recent days. The IT community who had been looking forward to and making preparation for his visit has been thrown into confusion.

On the global scene, in countries where the virus is most lethal, such as China, Iran and northern Italy, business activity has all but ground to a halt, with entire cities under quarantine and whole industries forced to lay off workers. Odds of a global recession are fast rising, as governments and central banks around the world are racing to fend off the economic damage from the spread of the coronavirus.

The virus has begun to take its toll on financial markets, as stocks continued to plummet and sold off even as investors fled stocks. Companies have shut factories, canceled conferences and drastically scaled back employee travel.

Last Sunday, Goldman Sachs projected that because of the coronavirus, the U.S. economy would grow by an anaemic 0.9% during the first three months of 2020 and would flatline during the second quarter.

The International Monetary Fund last week posited that the epidemic has already cut into growth this year and may slow the global economy even further, depending on how long it lasts.

While China grapples with auto sales collapse of about 80% last month, a plunge in tourism has been forecast to push Italy and possibly France into a recession.

The U.S. Travel Association predicts that international travel to the United States will fall by 6% over the next three months.

“There is a lot of uncertainty around coronavirus, and it is pretty clear that it is having an effect on travel demand — not just from China, and not just internationally, but for domestic business and leisure travel as well,” the association’s president, Roger Dow, said in a statement.

The United Arab Emirates, which has reported 13 cases since January 28, have not been immune to the economic havoc being wrought by the virus.

Egyptian investment bank, EFG Hermes, said this week it had decided to cancel its annual One on One investment conference in Dubai, which was due to take place from March 2-5.

“The spread of the virus over the past three days to multiple countries from which we expect guests has underscored the importance of guaranteeing the health and safety of all our employees, clients and guests,” it said in an email to clients.

Bahrain has suspended flights to Dubai.

Dubai’s main share index dropped 2% to its lowest level since last June.

Budget airliner Air Arabia extended losses from the previous session to close 2.1% lower, after the UAE on Tuesday suspended all flights to and from Iran.

Nigeria recorded her first case of the virus when an Italian businessman landed in Lagos, the country’s most populous city, late February.

Since the disease was diagnosed in Nigeria, over 100 people have been quarantined in Lagos and Ogun states.

The coronavirus has killed over 3,200 people across the world, mostly in China where it was first detected in 2019 while political leaders have not spared in Iran which has lost a senior adviser to the country’s Supreme Leader, just as Vice President and 23 parliamentarians have been infected in the Arab country.

There have been over 95,000 reported cases, with infections on every continent in the world.

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