By Elizabeth Adegbesan
A National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) survey has shown that 58 percent of households in the country reduced their food consumption between July and December 2020 in order to cope with shocks caused by COVID’19.
According to the Bureau, this and other strategies adopted by households to cope with COVID’19 shocks are potentially harmful.
In its National Longitudinal Phone Survey (COVID-19 NLPS) 2020 Seventh and Eighth Round, NBS stated: “Households continued to experience severe shocks as the COVID-19 crisis persisted since March 2020.
“Between July 2020 and December 2020, 83 percent of households reported an increase in the price of major food items that they consumed, demonstrating a widespread deterioration in purchasing power. This builds on the rise in prices already observed between mid-March 2020 and July 2020.
“Households have also continued to adopt potentially harmful coping strategies in response to shocks. Around 58 percent of households that experienced a shock between July 2020 and December 2020 reduced their food consumption, while 26 percent reduced their non-food consumption.
“As in the past, many households also adopted coping strategies which could reduce their long-term financial security, with 31 percent of shock-hit households relying on their savings.
“There was also a rise in the share of households that reported doing nothing in response to shocks. While this may partly indicate that households are less reliant on potentially harmful coping strategies, it may also be that house-holds are reaching a subsistence welfare level where coping strategies deployed in the past may no longer be tenable.”
“One additional change observed among Nigerian households, which may constitute a coping mechanism, is that they have become larger.
“Specifically, households had 6.6 members in November 2020, compared with 5.5 members in January/February 2019.”