Nigeria has been severely hit by the spread of COVID-19 and the associated sharp decline in oil prices. Government policy is responding to both these developments. A range of measures were implemented to contain the spread of the virus, including closure of international airports, public and private schools, universities, stores and markets, and suspension of public gatherings. Following a full lockdown that was placed on March 30, 2020, Nigeria's economy reopened gradually in three phases with incremental reductions of traveling and gathering restrictions. Phase 1 started on May 4, phase 2 on June 2, and phase 3 on September 4—which is still being implemented. In December 2020, Nigeria had entered the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with daily new cases doubling the peak of the first wave at end-January. Restrictions on mass gathering were reinstated. Public servants were ordered to stay at home and await further directives. Schools, however, resumed on January 18 after being shut down again from mid-December. Since peaking at 1,600 levels toward end-January, the 7-day moving average of new cases rapidly fell. Nigeria plans to vaccine 40% of its population in 2021 and additional 30% in 2022. Nigeria has requested 41mn vaccines from African Union and expects another 16mn doses under WHO-backed COVAX program. Nigeria received 3.92 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines on March 2nd (as the first shipment from the COVAX facility), commenced vaccination on March 12, and has vaccinated about 2 million (0.97 percent of population) with the first dose as of May 29.
Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC)
- Toll-Free Number: 0800-970000-10
- SMS (Text Message): 08099555577
- Website: https://ncdc.gov.ng/
- WhatsApp: 07087110839 (if outside of Nigeria – +234-708-711-0839)
- Is a curfew in place? Yes
- The Government of Nigeria continues to have a 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. daily curfew in place. We urge U.S. citizens to check as individual states may have more restrictive curfews.
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? No
- Are commercial flights operating? Yes
- Is public transportation operating? Yes
Passengers must wear face masks when taking public transportation and public transportation is limited to 50% capacity.
Fines for Non-Compliance
Covid Watch Africa is not aware of any fines for non-compliance. However, there are reports of individuals being harassed for non-compliance..
Key Policy Responses as of June 1, 2021
The Federal Government adopted a revised budget for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 shock. A N500 billion (0.3 percent of GDP) COVID-19 intervention fund is included in the revised budget to channel resources to additional health-related current and capital spending (tests, supplies and facilities) and public works programs to support the incomes of the vulnerable, including N7.5 billion to Nigeria's Center for Disease Control and grant of N10 billion to Lagos State. The coverage of the conditional cash transfer program has been broadened and an allocation of N150 billion to support state and local governments' spending needs has been made available through the budget. Import duty waivers for pharmaceutical firms were introduced. Regulated fuel prices have been reduced, and an automatic fuel price formula introduced to ensure fuel subsidies are eliminated. Electricity tariff was increased. The social register was increased by 1 million households to 3.6 million to help cushion the effect of the lockdown. A broader economic stimulus plan that includes the N500 billion COVID-19 intervention fund (of which 288 billion has been released so far) was introduced to support the real sector. The bulk of the plan's financing (1.8 trillion naira) would come from financial institutions according to the Finance Minister. A supplementary budget for 2021 is being formulated including to finance COVID-19 vaccination.
MONETARY AND MACRO-FINANCIAL
In response to the crisis, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cut monetary policy rate by 100 basis points in May and another 100 basis points in September while expanding liquidity available for nonbank financial institutions, leading to significant lowering of market yield of government securities. It also introduced additional measures, including: (i) reducing interest rates on all applicable CBN interventions from 9 to 5 percent and introducing a one year moratorium on CBN intervention facilities; (ii) creating a N50 billion ($139 million) targeted credit facility; and (iii) liquidity injection of 3.6 trillion (2.4 percent of GDP) into the banking system, including N100 billion to support the health sector, N2 trillion to the manufacturing sector, and N1.5 trillion to the real sector to impacted industries. Regulatory forbearance was also introduced to restructure loans in impacted sectors. The CBN is also coordinating a private sector special intervention initiative targeting N120 billion ($333 million) to fight COVID-19. As of September, the CBN has disbursed a total of N3.5 trillion in intervention funds since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including N73.7 billion in targeted credit facilities to help households and small and medium enterprises exceeding their initial plans of N50 billion.
EXCHANGE RATE AND BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
The official exchange rate was adjusted from N307/$ before COVID-19 to N361/$ at the beginning of the crisis and more recently to N380/$, with an ongoing unification of the various exchange rates under the investors and exporters (I&E) window, Bureau de Change, and retail windows. The authorities committed to let the I&E rate move in line with market forces. A few pharmaceutical companies have been identified to ensure they can receive FX and naira funding. While I&E window turnover has been low since April, the CBN has resumed FX supply in some of the other windows. On May 14, the CBN discontinued publication of the official exchange rate, which used to be administratively fixed, and on May 24 it started to post on its website the daily Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate (NAFEX), a more market-determined exchange rate in line with its commitment to more unified exchange rates.
Civic Freedom Tracker
BAN ON GATHERINGS
The government of Niger State issued an order banning gatherings of more than 50 people, indefinitely, to combat the spread of COVID-19. (See primary source or citation here)
Date Introduced: 18 Mar 2020
LOCKDOWN ON BAUCHI STATE
Nigerian authorities announce a 14-day lockdown on Bauchi state to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Citizens are ordered to stay at home, with permission to leave to buy food and seek medical care between 10am and 4pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Date Introduced: 1 Apr 2020
LOCKDOWN ON MAJOR CITIES AND STATES
The presidential order institutes a 14-day lockdown on individuals' movement in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory. The lockdown does not apply to hospital and medical institutions and certain commercial establishments including food, petroleum, electricity, and private security companies. (See primary source or citation here)
Date Introduced: 30 Mar 2020
PROHIBITION ON MASS GATHERINGS
The Presidential Task Force on countering the coronavirus threat reiterates a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people. (See primary source or citation here)
Date Introduced: 23 Mar 2020
DATA USE TO COMBAT COVID-19
The Nigeria Governors' Forum has formed a partnership with MTN Nigeria, a telecommunication and internet service provider, to use subscriber data to combat COVID-19. The partnership has raised concerns over information sharing, privacy, and the protection of human rights. The data that will be used to develop services relating to COVID-19 will be personal information that was not originally shared or intended for this purpose. (See primary source or citation here)
Date Introduced: 5 Apr 2020
Issue(s): Surveillance, Privacy