Economist: My brilliant citizen, it has really been a long time. How are you doing?
Brilliant Citizen: My Economist, I am doing good, I can’t wait for 2020 to be over. It has been a tough one.
Economist: I can imagine. Let’s see how we can still make the best of it.
Brilliant Citizen: Best of what? Please let 2020 be going! Just look around you, did anything good happen in this 2020?
Economist: My Brilliant Citizen, you seem quite unhappy today. Did anything specifically happen to you?
Brilliant Citizen: I am tired! In fact, my tired is almost tired! You remember that my salary was cut by 50% earlier in the year. I tried to do other businesses and my brother in the United States promised to send some cash. He sent the first one and before I knew it, time to send the second one, he told me that he could not send it anymore that he is facing financial difficulties too!
Economist: Sorry to note that. Do you know it is not peculiar to your brother?
Brilliant Citizen: How do you know that?
Economist: Overall, remittances in Nigeria dropped significantly during COVID19 and post?
Brilliant Citizen: You have come with your “big big grammar”, which one is remittances again?
Remittances are the amount of money sent by migrants to their home countries. They are the private savings of workers in other countries that are sent to family in their home countries mainly used for feeding, clothing and other basic needs.
Let’s look at the data:
The data shows that remittances drop significantly from the average $5.9 billion per quarter in 2019 to $3.3 billion in 2020 Q2.
Brilliant Citizen: Interesting to note, so what caused the decline in remittances this period?
Economist: It was mainly driven by the impact of COVID19 in the developed countries. Many migrants lost their jobs or experienced salary cuts hence do not have as much money as they used to.
Brilliant Citizen: That’s true, my brother explained to me that he lost his job and was trying to get another. Thankfully, the government is paying some relief but not as much as his former salary. This is not good for us that depend on monies from siblings abroad.
Economist: It is not just bad for you, it is bad for many low income families that depend on remittances to educate their family and access good healthcare. Also, it is bad for the economy. Remittances plays a part in boosting export earnings, second only to oil revenue. Indeed, it is bad for everyone.
Brilliant Citizen: Wow, do we expect remittances to increase in the last quarter of the year. You know it’s the “ember” months and we need money to end the year!
Economist: We hope it should get better in the coming months if COVID19 is curbed in most developed countries. However, there is second round of lock down in the United Kingdom, let’s hope this does not happen in other countries. On a brighter note, there has been some success with the creation of a vaccine for COVID19, if this continues, we should see a drastic decline in COVID19 cases in the coming months.
Brilliant Citizen: (sigh) I hope it is better so Nigerians can end this year well.