A new report has said insecurity and the sit-at-home protest in the South East geopolitical zone have led to economic losses estimated at almost N4 trillion.
The report was made available to the public by DevEast Foundation, a non-profit, issue-based policy and business advocacy organisation with emphasis on the development of Eastern Nigeria, by SBM Intelligence, a leading research firm.
The study which focused on two categories of businesses – transporters and traders/artisans – also found that trading ventures lost between N655 billion and N3.8 trillion over 24 months.
It said large-scale losses can be traced to specific factors including loss of between four and five working days per week; job losses due to cutbacks by business owners in response to the reduced working hours as well as other lost opportunities; loss of clients and customers who find alternatives because of the unstable business environment in the South East; increased cost of service delivery because of extra logistical costs, etc.
“The obvious negative impact of insecurity in the zone which was escalated by the enforcement of the sit-at-home protest has been the subject of much discussion and speculation for a long time, but this is the first investigation of the phenomenon.
“In addition to the activities of official and non-state actors of various stripes – “Unknown Gunmen”, Eastern Security Network (ESN) and Ebube Agu and military operations in the zone, agitations by IPOB as well as the #EndSARS protests of 2020 – have also worsened the security situation in the region and contributed to the losses.
“But perhaps the most dramatic finding is the revelation that transporters plying inter and intra highways and other roads in the five states of the South-East Nigeria lose between N10 billion and N13 billion EVERY day of the sit-at-home protest.
“Although all the states are affected by violence and threats of violence, the study found that Ebonyi is the most impacted by violence.
“Another notable finding is that, despite the many complaints by businesses, nongovernmental organizations and individuals regarding the losses occasioned by the situation, there has been no government intervention or support of any kind to help those impacted.
“The study was conducted using qualitative and quantitative methods including surveys, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions.
“The research also found that the effect of the violence on all stakeholders has a compounding impact on businesspeople, traders, community leaders and similar groups. Another fallout is dwindling of public trust in political and community leaders due to their apparent helplessness,” the report signed by Ifeanyi Ikegwuani revealed. – The Sun.