ABCON calls for sector-specific policy to drive informal economy
The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has called on the Federal Government to design informal sector-oriented economic policy that will help workers overcome the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group made the call in its Quarterly Economic Report for the First Quarter of 2020 (Q1’2020), saying that while most COVID-19 related government aids and packages are targeted at formal businesses, it is the informal sector, which accounts for the majority of the labour force, that suffers the greatest impact of the pandemic.
According to the group, to ensure that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) continue to play their critical role in the economy, especially employment generation, economic policy trust for post-COVID-19 must be designed to reach the informal sector, as they consist of the larger percentage of the society.
“Nigeria has 41.5 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), accounting for 17.4 million jobs. Most of these MSMEs operate in the informal sector. These informal workers suffer disproportionately when large-scale lockdowns are ordered, but at the same time, government aid packages are largely being targeted at formal businesses,” ABCON said.
The group said that the COVID-19 pandemic represents a wake-up call to the government on the need to support the indigent members of the society, noting that a major lesson to be learned from COVID-19 is the practicability of social security policy in Nigeria.
The association reiterated the need for the Government to awaken to this prime realisation of the need to support the indigent in the society not only during emergencies but also under normal conditions.
“This will consequently reduce a lot of social ills in the society and on the long-run cost of crime prevention and management will reduce. This would encourage the Government to realistically take an accurate census and perfect the identification process in the country,” ABCON added.
Also, the association called for the creation of call centres where members of the public can call to request for food support, and also deliver such support, saying it would go a long way to ease the growing hunger in the country.
It also advised the federal government to sustain the school feeding system by allowing schools to cook while the pupils visit the school to collect the food.
Meanwhile, ABCON urged its members across the country not to panic due to the negative consequences of the pandemic, noting that there are also positive outcomes with benefits for the BDC business.