ASSESSMENT OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON CONCERNED CITIZENS OF NIGERIA
ABSTRACT: Further the emergence of COVID-19 and the perceived socioeconomic hardship imposed by the measures put in place to curtail the spread of the virus, the United High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) embarked on a study to understand the socio- economic impact of COVID-19 among CCoN. The study was carried in conjunction with UNHCR partners across various locations. Different geographical zones and survey strata were identified to inform the sampling strategy. The rationale is to harvest several dimensions of the impact of the pandemic on economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights of CCoN, the host community members and other persons of concern in Nigeria. The assessment was carried out with a view to understand:a. The socioeconomic background of refugees, IDPs and returnees across all locations of its operation.b. Assess the level of knowledge and awareness on COVID-19 pandemic among the persons of concern (CCoN).c. Examine the degree of access to social services among CCoN, especially during COVID-19.d. Examine level of access to basic health facilities among CCoN during COVID-19.e. Assess the effect of COVID-19 on social activities and practices.f. Assess effect of COVID-19 on socio-economic activities and various coping mechanisms adopted by the affected population.g. Identify forms of domestic crises imposed by COVID-19 among the affected households.h. Identify needs and level of support received by CCoN during COVID-19.Each of the outlined objective was assessed based on UNHCR socio-economic and livelihood indicators with a view to provide an understanding of the impact of the pandemic in terms of access to economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights of refugees and other persons of concern and the host community members in Nigeria.Respective field offices of UNHCR worked closely with different partners, respective state Government authorities, community leaders and relevant local authorities to ensure smooth data collection process. Prior to the data collection exercise, community sensitizations were ensured appropriately by partners to facilitate proper awareness and foster validity of the data that were elicited from the CCoN. In addition, an online training was conducted to guide the enumerators on the approach to the data collection with clear interpretation of each of the questions and the expected responses. UNHCR have up to date database of all refugees living in urban and rural settings, as well as those within the settlements and host communities. For ease of data collection and intervention design, household level data were used for the study across all locations. The database gave the estimation of the study population which informed the estimation of the sample size. Sample size for the study was developed using the minimum sample size technique. The structure of the UNHCRdatabase was used to draw the sample while respondents were selected randomly across locations. A pretest of the survey tool was carried to ensure reliability of the instrument prior to the collection of the overall data set. Data collected include qualitative and quantitative variables.Data were analyzed in line with the respective indicators identified under each of the objective. Most of the data components were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Influence of COVID-19 on households’ food expenditure and wellbeing were analyzed using consumer price index (CPI). Monthly food expenditure was used as a proxy to prices of food basket among households. The estimation was assessed over a 5-month period. For ease of result presentation and brevity, a country level analysis was done using the pooled data. The rationale is to present the impact of COVID-19 on CCoN in Nigeria as a whole. However, for ease of intervention design, the result of the analysis was further disaggregated using relevant variables.From the results, it is obvious that COVID-19 has negatively impacted the socio-economic status of CCoN in Nigeria irrespective of their categories (refugees, IDPs or returnees, host?) and locations. The restrictions imposed by government at all level in order to curtail the spread of the virus has affected the income and livelihood of the CCoN, and consequently their wellbeing. Although, the depth and severity differ, however, the larger percentage (95%) across locations have experienced significant economic shock with limited access to basic needs (like food and shelter). Apart from the hardship imposed by the restrictions, the rise in food prices (as revealed by the CPI) also contribute a significant difficulty in the socio- economic wellbeing. The situation is expected to be largely felt among those living on remittances (aged or students) or those with no current occupation or loss of job.In addition, just like other citizen in the country, CCoN have been denied access to social services like education, market, financial services, and so on, unlike before. However, the significance of the challenge is that, the said group are highly vulnerable and could be further subjected to all forms of social ill treatment like extortion, sexual abuse, among others. Although, some of the CCoN received a significant support from government and humanitarian actors, but incidence of poverty is still in commonplace. The situation therefore calls for the need for advocacy and urgent intervention to reduce incidence of poverty as well as the establishment of effective adaptive mechanism that will foster restoration of life, social and economic activities among CCoN. Governments, UNHCR, other humanitarian organizations as well as development actors need to join forces in order to achieve more significant results.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:Executive Summary 4 Background 5 Scope and Objectives 7 Methodology 8 Sampling Procedure and Sample Size 8 Data Analysis 9 Results 10 Socio-economic Background of the CCoN 10 Knowledge and Awareness on COVID-19 11 Level of Access to Social Services 12 Level of Access to Health Facilities During COVID-19 14 Effect of COVID-19 on Social Activities and Practices 15 Effect of COVID-19 on Socio-economic Activities and Coping Mechanism 18 Consumer Price Index Measure 19 a What is the coping strategy for families for COVID-19? 203.8b How did the COVID-19 affect working conditions? 21 c How did the COVID-19 affect business operation? 21 a Forms of Domestic Crises Imposed by COVID-19 223.9b Needs and Support Received by CCoN 244.0 Conclusion 26Appendix I – Disaggregated Results Using Specific Variables 28Appendix II - Copy of the Survey Tool 33LIST OF ACRONYMSB-SEMA: Benue State Emergency Management Agency CBI: Cash-Based InterventionCCoN: Concerned Citizens of NigeriaCOVID: Coronavirus Disease CPI: Consumer Price IndexCR-SEMA: Cross River State Emergency Management AgencyFCT: Federal Capital Territory FHI360: Family Health International HH: Heads of HouseholdsIDPs: Internally Displaced PersonsJDPC: Justice Development and Peace Commission JRS: Jesuit Refugee ServicesLEMA: Local Emergency Management AgencyNCFRMI: National Commission for Refugees and Migrants and Internally Displaced PersonsNRCS: Nigeria Red Cross Society PWD: Persons with DisabilitiesUNHCR: United Nations High Commissioner for RefugeesCHAPTER ONEBackground of the study The emergence of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has imposed a threat on health, economy, social relations globally. As at mid-July 2020, the disease has spread across 216 countries with a total of 13,150,645 confirmed cases and 574,464 deaths1. In Nigeria, there has been confirmed cased of COVID-19 across the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In response to curtail the spread of the virus most countries of the world, including Nigeria have imposed restriction measure which led to total and or partial closure of the economy. In the process, economies are grinding to a halt, jobs and livelihoods are lost on scales never seen before. The impact is huge and increasing in low and middle-income countries, especially in Nigeria with over 202 million population (World Bank, 2020)2. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, refugees and asylum seekers are faced with a myriad of challenges. The initial report of the UNHCR Sub Office in Ogoja3 indicates that the lockdown in Taraba state has affected mobility with limited access to basic needs including food and other commodities impacting livelihoods opportunities among refugees working as casual laborers in Cocoa farms and small-scale business market in different local government of Sardauna, Ussa, Takum and Gembu. In Cross River State, refugees (like other residents) are having to pay double for transportation due to the measures put in place during the ongoing pandemic. In Benue the cost of living has gone high considering the increase of food commodities including rice and gari. Many refugees are unable to access basic health and hygiene facilities in order to comply with physical distancing measures. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a press release on 14 May 2020 highlighted that “COVID-19 is not just a physical health crisis, but it is now also triggering a mental health crisis. While many refugees and internally displaced people are remarkably resilient and can move forward despite having experienced violence or persecution first- hand, their capacities to cope are now being stretched to the limit.4” The High Commissioner noted further that given the widespread socio-economic damage inflicted by the pandemic, UNHCR is particularly concerned about the loss of daily wages and livelihoods among refugees as challenges also result in psychosocial hardship. In response to the highlighted challenges and to ensure action that will minimize or mitigate risks, which may expose the affected population to more harm; UNHCR in collaboration with partners assessed the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the refugees (in urban, settlements and in host communities), IDPs and returnees to facilitate a better understanding of the potential range of impacts of the COVID-19 and the likely responses. The goal is to utilize the Information and results from the assessment to establish post COVID-19 evidenced based re-programming and advocacy, in the medium and long term.ENDNOTES: 1 https//wwwwho.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. Accesses 16 July 2020.2 https//wwwworldbank.org/en/country/nigeria/overview. Accessed. 16 July 2020.3 UNHCR, 2020. Report on the Socio-economic impact among persons of concern- Covid-19. Ogoja, Nigeria4 https//wwwunhcr.org/news/press/2020/5/5ebcfd784/unhcr-urges-prioritization-mental-health-support-coronavirus- Scope and ObjectivesIt is enough to conclude on the recorded hardship during COVID-19 pandemic as a basis for re-programming but rather a better understanding of the socio-economic status of the affected population among other concerns need to be well understood. The context of the crises differs in dimensions. For instance, the urban centres are likely to be more affected in terms of price inflation while rural communities may be faced with incidence of poor health facilities and social treatment to cope with the rising challenge of the pandemic. In addition, variation in the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the affected group is enough to establish the need for re-programming. While some may be better informed about the pandemic and the preventive measures, others may be at disadvantage. Similarly, while few households may be able to cope with the economic shock, others may find it extremely difficult to survive the crises. In view of the underlining variations, severity and depth of the impact of the pandemic among persons of concerns (refugees, IDPs and returnees) the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) operation in Nigeria wishes to understand:a. The socioeconomic background of refugees, IDPs and returnees across all locations of its operation.b. assess the level of knowledge and awareness on COVID-19 pandemic among the persons of concerns (CCoN).c. examine the degree of access to social services among CCoN, especially during COVID-19.d. examine level of access to basic health facilities among CCoN during COVID-19.e. assess the effect of COVID-19 on social activities and practices.f. assess effect of COVID-19 on socio-economic activity and various coping mechanism adopted by the affected population.g. identify forms of domestic crises imposed by COVID-19 among the affected households.h. identify needs and level of support received by CCoN during COVID-19.Each of the outlined objective was assessed based on UNHCR socio-economic and livelihood indicators with a view to provide an understanding of the impact of the pandemic in terms of access to economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights of refugees and other persons of concern and the host community members in Nigeria. The assessments therefore seek information on these situations to better inform protection responses, especially in respect of the impact on women, children and Persons with Disabilities ‘PWDs’. The assessment will also reflect the UNHCR 2019 - 2023 Global Strategy on Refugee Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion and contribute to implementation of Nigeria’s pledge 1 at the Global Compact of Refugees 2019..