Nigeria has done well in managing and curtailing Covid-19 biological pandemic. Yes, to a large extent, our healthcare experts have overperformed. But the economic pandemic is about starting. This could become a really harsh harmattan for labour. You would expect that, as paralyses are coming from multiple fronts and some sectors remain severely under water. Today, Arik Air has drawn the first blood: “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”. That is another way of saying that Arik has fired 300 people. Very painful!
The statement, titled ‘Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant’, noted that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
“Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations,” the statement said.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The statement said over 50 per cent of Arik Air’s workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months on a base allowance.
“Decisions to let go of staff is naturally a difficult decision. Arik Air wishes the impacted staff well in their future endeavors,” the airline said.
As written there, a few months ago, Arik noted that it had put 50% of its workers on furlough. This sack is taking that redesign to a steady state which is a calamity for the families involved. As you count airlines, remember restaurants and private schools: most are not re-opening.
One quick thing, if Nigeria has data of its citizens, is to re-ignite the economy through consumption, by sending N10,000 to every citizen. If you do that, we can spend ourselves out of this while structural adjustments are done across sectors with growth-focused policies. But of course Nigeria does not have data and cannot send cheques to the citizens. I have called for sustained tax changes to stimulate venture funding in Nigeria. As population continues to rise, this economy cannot afford to shrink!
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