WFH Is A Policy Which Nigeria Can Use to Decongest Its Big Cities

WFH Is A Policy Which Nigeria Can Use to Decongest Its Big Cities

Major real estate players have a new challenge in their hands: exodus of citizens from big and expensive cities. Why live in expensive cities if your company permits remote work? Yes, one can live in Auburn (Alabama) and work remotely in San Francisco. And even in Nigeria, Andela now makes it possible that you can live in Owerri and be in its team, without the old requirement of relocating to Lagos. That move is huge. A one-bedroom apartment in Ikeja can get you a nice 3-bedroom one in a good location in Owerri. Post Covid-19, commerce will not be the same.

There is a policy opportunity here: With incentives to get companies to go WFH (work from home) in Lagos and our big cities, the government can magically solve our traffic paralysis! If that policy happens, people can move into second and third tier cities, reducing traffic congestion in big ones like Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. But for that to happen, incentives must be offered by governments at both federal and local levels.

Silicon Valley workers are rethinking their sky-high rents and considering moving now that major tech companies won’t reopen their office this year. Facebook and Google won’t bring back employees until 2021, while Twitter has given workers the option to work from home permanently. The looming exodus isn’t just happening in San Francisco — many people in crowded cities are eyeing moves to less densely populated areas amid the pandemic. A new Zillow-Harris Poll survey found 66% of people teleworking would consider moving if work-from-home flexibility continues.

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4 thoughts on “WFH Is A Policy Which Nigeria Can Use to Decongest Its Big Cities

  1. It will really help bring some places to life, if work-from-home policy can be scaled here. The first challenge is the internet infrastructure, those who live in tier-one cities don’t know how ridiculous Internet connectivity is in some places, so the WFH will force telcos to upgrade; because what we branded 3G and 4G hasn’t really attained the speed level of well functioning 2G.

    If people must not live in a particular city to work there, both cost of rent and transportation will recalibrate downward, at same time injecting life into cities that are largely lukewarm.

    And talking about incentives, Ekiti State government recently announced an important policy in the area of broadband penetration, by slashing right-of-way from N4500 to N145, a 97% cut. This is a big shift in mentality, because for average governors, they see telcos as ATMs, so to extend network infrastructure, the telcos must be squeezed until they run dry, but they want development…

    Nigeria will rise when Abuja runs out of money, thereby forcing states to compete for investments from private sector; it then becomes a question of who can outdo the other in incentives and infrastructure development.

    Maybe the evolving WFH can help accelerate the redesign.

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  2. Brilliant thoughts prof.

    I am one that has enjoyed the WFH recently and it definitely comes with many economic advantages. Indeed it will not fit for all job types but many will benefit from it.
    If we will have a policy that will be implemented effectively, our per capita will rise due to drop in cost of living and there will be an automatic stimulus.
    However, the Telecom industry needs to expand the quality in major cities (Abuja, Lagos, Kano and PHC especially – which are basically the only ones where one has fair internet services). Although, when people moves, services may follow them. Until then, we hope for the best.

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