Kaduna State chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday took stock of effect of COVID-19 on businesses in the State, saying that both small and medium businesses were grossly crippled in the last five months.
The Labour also noted that the ongoing demolition of popular markets by the State government without alternative plan for traders and workers strangulated economic sources of the victims.
Addressing Journalists to mark this year 13th World Day Decent Work, the NLC State chairman, Comrade Ayuba Suleiman noted that decent work applied to both the formal and informal sector.
This year’s Day was entitled, “A new social contract for recovery and resilience”.
Comrade Suleiman also observed the effect of the COVID-19 on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP), saying the growth was largely down due to sharp drop in economic activity after the country resorted to a lockdown in April to curb the spread of the virus.
“The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been layered on top of a pre-existing crisis of low-wage and insecure jobs. Every second person has no financial buffer, no ability to save for the tough times ahead and relies on every pay cheque to survive.
“As with most other economies around the world, the sharp drop in Nigeria’s GDP growth is largely down to the slowdown in economic activity after the country resorted to a lockdown back in April to curb the spread of the virus. In the wake of the pandemic the World Bank forecast a decline of -3.2% for 2020-a five percentage point drop from its previous projections.
“The stories are the same in Kaduna State, the almost five months lockdown strangulated small and medium businesses, some companies and business establishment were close down, also, the popular Sheikh Abubakar Gumi Market was shut down leaving traders with huge loss due to expired and damage commodities in their shops. Major markets were demolished leaving traders without alternative place to do their businesses thereby increasing economic hardship on them.
“Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the State Government unilaterally deducted 25% of its workers’ salaries for two consecutive months; important markets were demolished for ambitious expansion and modernizations, living good number of traders without sources or livelihood, thus worsening the situation as authorities’ intervention were either insufficient or not forthcoming.
“Taking account of this years’ theme; Social Contract thus is; an agreement entered into by individuals, that results in the formation of the state or of organized society, the prime motive being the desire for protection, which entails the surrender of some or all personal liberties.
“Large-scale, integrated, policy measures are needed, focusing on four pillars: supporting enterprises, employment and incomes; stimulating the economy and jobs; protecting workers in the workplace; and, using social dialogue between government, workers and employers to find solutions”. Comrade Suleiman said.