By Elizabeth Adegbesan
THE National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) survey on the economic well being of ordinary Nigerians has indicated a mixed condition with a rise in food insecurity while improvement in working population is reported last month.
NBS survey was against the prevailing impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on living conditions of the low income population.
In its Nigeria COVID’19 National Longitudinal Phone survey (COVID-19 NLPS), obtained by Vanguard, the NBS stated: “The food security situation in Nigeria has substantially worsened since the start of the pandemic. About 30% of households interviewed in June experienced severe food insecurity due to lack of money or other resources. The incidence of severe food insecurity in June 2020 was nearly 3 times higher than in July/August 2018 and nearly 6 times higher than in January/February 2019.
“The share of people working has risen substantially since the beginning of May 2020. In April/May 2020, just 43 percent of respondents reported that they were working, meaning that about half of those respondents, who were working before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak had stopped working.
“Yet, in June 2020, around 71 percent of respondents reported that they were working, indicating that the share of respondents working recovered substantially as the lockdown restrictions were eased in May. Nevertheless, the share of respondents who were working in June was still lower than prior to the outbreak, indicating that the pandemic continues to limit individuals’ work opportunities.
“The commerce and services sectors – those hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis – experienced among the largest recoveries in the share of respondents who were working, while many of those returning to work engaged in agriculture.
“Non-farm household businesses and agriculture are the most important income-generating activities for Nigerian workers. Of those respondents who were working in June, 42 percent reported that their main job was in a non-farm household business while a further 46 percent reported that their main job was in agriculture.
“By contrast, just 12 percent of working respondents reported that their main job was in wage employment, either for the government or a private company.
‘Despite the observed increase in the share of respondents working, income from non-farm household businesses – which are mainly concentrated in commerce and services – remains precarious.”