By Margaret Oraza
The second wave of COVID-19 has impacted negatively on the business community ranging from the banks, markets to transportation.
In the banking sector, the second wave showed the slow pace at which banking activities are carried out. This has caused a lot of agitations amongst customers because of increased in strenous safety protocols implemented by the banks.
The markets are partially deserted for fear of the devastating effects of the disease due to its contagious nature which has affected traders following the fear by costumers to conjest during purchase of commodities.
In the transport sector, since the virus can spread through movement of people from one place to another, the sector has been affected due to people’s fear that they can easily be infected when they travel out of their environments.
This new wave of the disease has reduced commercial activities due to its threat to life.
According to Ajeje Odah, a worker in a barber’s shop, the pandemic came to play as a strange phenomena in the world and has been an impediment to regions of the globe, especially in third world countries such as Nigeria, within a short time, adding that its effect has sternly affected the mortality of individuals, leading to panic, segregation and social distance in religious, financial, entertainment, educational and other organizational bodies.
As economic activities are slow and move at an unpredictable sequence, many people are temporally out of jobs while some have lost their jobs entirely, leading to increase in the level of unemployment and dependency ratio. The cost and standard of living has drastically changed in many homes in Nigeria. This has a tremendous effect on the economy as the flow of funds is at a declining rate as many businesses which serve human needs do not get the desired turnover and nigh loss leading to inflation which devolves the naira and further increases hardship.
The production of goods and services has taken a new phase during this pandemic and in this second wave, it is not different as businesses struggle to thrive despite the hike in oil prices, transportation, taxes, electricity tariffs and government policies which are not favourable for small businesses and even blue chip companies.
Mrs Joy Ojide, a pharmacist said pharmaceutical sales are low compared to the first wave of COVID-19; masks, gloves and hand sanitizers are not available as before where it was on the increase. She further said that nowadays, people prefer to consume a lot of vitamins and zinc to improve their immune systems and the only thing that remains the same is the level of consultation on precautions to prevent illnesses.
Also speaking, Mrs Cordelia Agbe, a trader from Wurukum Market said the first wave was better in terms of prices of goods. According to her, consumables and non consumables are still on the increase while supply is low, adding that the level of demand is still the same because people have to eat and survive. She said that things we thought were expensive last year are on the increase this year; a jerry can of oil that was sold for N10, 500, is now sold at N12, 400. She however, thanks God for life, observing that, things are not getting better.
A student of the Benue State University, Makurdi, Blessing Egani, said, it was very bad when COVID-19 became a full blown pandemic as many employers around the world were forced to close down and lay-off many of their workers.
A lot of people who have been struggling hard to get on with life have not recovered from last year’s hardship and here comes the second wave, some people felt they will be able to use this year to cover up for last year’s lost but starting this year like this is frustrating as more businesses will be closed down which might lead to another form of recession.
Another student of Benue State University, Makurdi, Cephas Owina, said, the new wave can be dealt with from the experience of the first one to reduce its severity.