NECA raises alarm over looming massive job loses

With about four weeks’ lockdowns of the nation’s economy, the need for employers to downsize workforce is gradually becoming unavoidable route, the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has said.


The Director General of the association, Timothy Olawale posited that such a scenario is indeed avoidable if the needful is done.


He noted the challenges confronting the business community has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the follow-up effect of the unproductive lockdown which was necessary to rein in the blight and protect lives.

He hinted that while businesses remain passive and unproductive with attendant mass losses of revenue, overhead costs remained with wages obligations to workers and several statutory payments without respite remained constant.


NECA Scribe noted that while protection of life should take precedence, the need to protect the economic foundation of the nation cannot be discounted as the economy will ultimately sustain life.


He added that without delicately balancing the scale, the consequential negative effects of the pandemic will not only include unimaginable loss of lives, massive job losses and heightened insecurity, it might also lead to unnecessary social revolt.


Olawale submitted that beyond palliatives, more decisive action on stimulus to businesses need to be taken, saying the announced stimulus, to a large extent, has not addressed the critical needs of businesses that will guarantee sustainability and protection of jobs.


Olawale highlighted that government must implement direct wage or income support, wage subsidies, tax credits or tax deferrals, short-term work schemes, moratoriums on loan payments and the establishment of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, where government pays up to 60% of private sector salaries until June as long as workers are not laid off, as done in other climes i.e. UK, France, and Denmark, etc. would reduce the negative impact on businesses and slow the rate of job loss.


As the Federal Government considers gradual reopening of the economy, Olawale reiterated the guidelines that should be put in place.


He explained: “The Guidelines should include compulsory use of sanitizers, free protective gears by Government (face mask, hand gloves (where necessary), maintenance of social distancing, increased education and awareness (posters, etc.), total banning of religious, political and social gatherings, limited number of passengers in public and private transportation and strict enforcement of same, amongst others. It will also be imperative for Government at all levels to be more strategic and transparent in the administration of social welfare and palliatives distribution among the most vulnerable.”

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