2020 And Coronavirus: What Lies Ahead....? (Nigeria's Reality)

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2020 And Coronavirus: What Lies Ahead....? (Nigeria's Reality)

By Raphael Adewoye


The year 2020 started on a good note for most of us. It was always supposedly going to be a new beginning in every way for most, especially those of us that didn’t really get the best out of the previous year, 2019. But little did we know that 2020, which in fact marked the beginning of a new decade, had its own curious plans lurking just weeks ahead.

From mysterious fire burning in Australia, to Devastating floods in Indonesia, to Earthquakes in Turkey and the Caribbean, to the Death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter crash, even to reports of an asteroid racing towards our beloved earth, to mention the least… 

2020 started on quite a scare, until it got even scarier as our nightmares started acting out in reality with the spread of the Coronavirus like wildfire all over the world.

It has been as though all of the forces of nature turned their back on us, as everything quickly spun out of our control.

There is no doubt the world, as we know it, will never remain the same after now. We are at war.

Things have taken a ‘quantum leap’ from what and how they used to be. The countries we so took in high esteem are barely struggling to get rid of the virus. Even the ‘World Power’ does not seem to be able to overpower it.

The coronavirus abundantly made manifest the ephemeral nature of things we so relied upon and crystalized the frailty of all the things we once thought to be forever there for us. 

The realities we now have to cope with are ones we were never prepared for and ones as have never been witness before, especially for a country like Nigeria.

It is as though all things are falling apart. Even worse, the main stay of our economy, being crude oil has dramatically lost its value, with a recession staring us in the eye and untold hardship just waiting to lay its hands on the populace.

How do we survive a reclining economy, where the vast majority are either underemployed or unemployed as companies and firms are already laying off their workers? 

HOW MUCH IS AT STAKE?

As days and weeks pass, we begin to realize just how much is at stake as the world governments wage strategic wars against COVID-19. The havoc wreaked by the virus extends beyond health and wellbeing. Business and commercial activities have been grounded to an indefinite halt.

From Tourism to Aviation, Hospitality and Industries, Consulting and services, Trades and investments, Oil and gas, Manufacturing, Real estate and Construction, Entertainment and Cinemas, Education and learning, even Small businesses are feeling the pinch in their shoes. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) already predicted a negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of -3.4 per cent for Nigeria in 2020, due to the ongoing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even in a situation where the country is able to contain the outbreak of coronavirus, the economy could still go on to contract by as much as 3.4 percent this year as global oil prices tumble, as estimated by global consulting firm, McKinsey & Company.

It get even worse, according to McKinsey, in scenarios in which the outbreak is not contained, as Nigeria’s GDP growth rate could fall to -8.8 percent for 2020. A decrease in GDP means a higher increase in the unemployment rate, which would invariably translate to increasing rates of poverty.

As more people prepare to lose their jobs and poverty rates continue on a steady climb, crime rates too will increase in tandem. This is the somewhat messed up situation the country is in at the moment. How then must people do to survive?

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT LIES AHEAD?

After what could be called a “miraculous and narrow” eventual win over this hydra-headed coronavirus, the citizenry will be left to grapple with the aftermaths.

The country’s economy would have to begin its long climb back to normalcy. All sectors affected by the economic downturn will have to struggle to get back on their feet. Businesses and trades will be in dire need of capital.

This also means necessity will birth innovation as there would be need to look inwards to develop indigenous technologies and materials as importation may still remain grounded.

With the part things have chosen to take, companies and firms will have to enter into a new normal by taking the businesses fully online, as the internet becomes the hub of things and the happening place for business activities; including meetings, conferences, webinars, exhibitions, marketing and the host of them. Establishments without solid structures risk folding up too.

This would mean lesser people would be employed and the offline services of workers may no longer be required. By implication, the rate of unemployment increases and untold depression and suicide attempts come to life, as people begin to run into debts and become insolvent.

Firms will also be on the lookout for only workers with multiple skills that meet their requirements and new business climate. A lot of workers will get rejected owing to their deficiency in some skills se, especially with regards to the internet and Information and Communication Technology, ICT.

Entrepreneurship and small business ownership would then become the newly discovered “crude oil”. Agriculture, being an abandoned sector would also receive sudden but serious attention. New businesses will spring up, new innovations and diversification of businesses will take place.

YOU DON’T WANT TO BE LEFT BEHIND…

With all of this brewing in the background, no one would really want to be left aback. The best place to be is ahead of the crises. A lot of things would have already taken an irreversible change by the end of this war.

All that would be left to do would be to pick up what’s left and fix what could still be fixed. This is why one must be prepared ahead of time. The birth of this new Dawn would require that we diversify income by considering entrepreneurship and venturing into Agriculture.

Even as we wait at home for the eradication of the pandemic, it is more than important that we acquire new skills and take trainings online. For worker who still have their deal with their firms, do not get comfortable when your company seems to be running without your absence being felt.

Give the bosses suggestions and ideas on how the company won't collapse, try to be part of the solution not just the salary. Also do not relent in searching for better opportunities, your present job may not last as you may have predicted. 

For Teachers especially in Primary and Secondary schools, research on Google Classroom, Zoom and other remote learning tools that would be instrumental in helping you stay relevant. We don’t even know when schools will open yet. Stay active!

For Accountants, consider taking free online courses on Data Science, acquire proficiency certificates in Google Doc, Sheet and other similar state of the art services and tools.

For those in other professions, don’t just stay passive, find a way to develop yourself and get better at what you do. Build capacity, go on self-improvement, and learn new ways to do all what you used to do before now.

Don’t let this wave simply pass you by. The world as we know it is about to change forever and there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to make sure you are part of the change and not being left behind.

One last tip… even as we wait at home in trying to stay safe, remember that Depression Is REAL. Do not stay alone for too long. Find a way to always speak and connect with people either physically or online.

Exercise from time to time, Eat healthy and stay alive by all means.
We will survive this, we will scale through, and we will win the war.

STAY INFORMED, STAY SAFE, and STAY AHEAD.


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