Nigeria was among the first countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to identify COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases and has since implemented strict measures to contain the spread of the virus. At the same time, oil prices plummeted by 60% following the spread of the global pandemic. As the oil sector accounts for the bulk of Nigerian government revenue, this collapse in prices has profound implications for the economy.
The federal government is confronted with the simultaneous challenge of combatting the public health crisis of the pandemic alongside trying to bolster a weakening economy. Given the mounting evidence that the social and economic impacts of these twin crises are likely to be significant, the government is ramping up policy interventions that can help mitigate such negative impacts. Alleviating the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis is vital for preventing poverty from deepening and increasing in Nigeria; before the crisis, approximately 4 in 10 Nigerians were living below the national poverty line, and millions more were living just above the poverty line, making them vulnerable to falling back into poverty when shocks occur.
To provide the government with timely evidence to guide the policy response, a new high-frequency survey – the Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (COVID-19 NLPS) – has been initiated in Nigeria. This survey is being implemented by the National Bureau of Statistics with technical support from the World Bank and is designed to measure and monitor the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis by tracking households’ welfare and behavior every month over a period of 12 months. The survey has a panel structure, such that it follows a representative sample of Nigerian households to assess how key indicators that may underpin the overall policy response are changing over time.
Household COVID-19 monitoring survey
The COVID-19 NLPS collects a wide range of information from households across Nigeria. The sample, which is nationally representative and covers both urban and rural areas, was drawn from the 2018/19 General Household Survey Panel (GHS-Panel), so vital background information on each household was already available.
The survey covers important topics including knowledge and concerns about the pandemic, access to food and other basic needs, employment and income loss, and safety nets and coping strategies. Its design is flexible, such that the topics covered can be altered according to evolving needs, priorities, and insights from emerging data. The survey is implemented using the Survey Solutions software for Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing, this allows for faster access to the data and dissemination of results.