Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates the livelihood of daily-wage workers in Mogadishu

The end of December in 2019, Covid-19 disease has been detected in Wuhan city of China. and immediately spread in the global.

Since 2020, the most countries around  the world impose lockdown and restrictions on their citizens as part of measures to combat the new coronavirus pandemic by implementing the instructions and recommendation of World Health Organization and medical experts because this disease transmits from interaction of people, public gathering and close contact.

Similarly, the Somalia Government enforced lockdown in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. in addition, Somalis are still suffering from precarious situation since 1991 after the collapse of Somalia government because many workers have lost their regularly jobs and depends on daily meat and informal economic.

Furthermore, the limited jobs provided by the public and private sectors. The aim of this opinion paper, I focus on how the nightly curfew and restriction effects on the livelihood of a daily wage’s workers in Mogadishu. Again, the lockdown due for Covid-19 causes more harm the livelihood of the low-income people.

Lockdown hits the livelihoods of daily-wage workers   

As Somalia government confirmed the first case infected Somalis student come back from China and urgently announced the lock down from 08:00Pm to 05:00Am in local time of Mogadishu.

The nightly restriction imposed by Somalia government effects directly and indirectly on vulnerable people who works in nighttime. Besides, there are numerous street vendors and nightly workers in hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and coffee shops become jobless and could not get compensation or free food and cash transfer from government.

Likely, autorickshaw drivers unable to work in the night for reason of lockdown because autorickshaws pick people up from and to hotels and cafeterias in Lido beach where the politicians, public officers, journalists, businesspeople, students, professors and Somalis diaspora are enjoying in.

Furthermore, the many of schools’ teachers and universities’ lecturers in Mogadishu were working part-time affected them by closure of schools and universities announced by the Somalia government to constrain the new spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

 In addition, Somalia’s economy is very weak due for the lack of strong economic institutions and prolonged civil war in the country and maintain an informal economy based on unregistered business, livestock, agriculture, remittance/money transfer companies and telecommunications which exacerbates the livelihood of low-income persons.

Moreover, 40 percent of Somalis population depends on cash sent by their families from abroad especially western, and north America countries (foreign policy, 2017) and remittance companies of those countries are shut down for reasons of lockdown forced to prevent coronavirus pandemic.

Somalia government takes steps in mitigate the economic burden caused by lockdown including the tax exemption/deduction of foodstuffs, but the essential food rises as much 30 percent because the predatory commercials exploits the vulnerable people during the critical situation and Holly month of Ramadan which the power purchasing increasing in. Definitely, Mogadishu’ business is not eligible for tax deduction.

Recommendation

  • By considering the government capabilities to tackle the critical situations faced by vulnerable persons but the government and Mogadishu administration are mandatory for registration of the people left by lockdown the out-of-work;
  • The government and Mogadishu administration to provide free food and cash transfer to the daily-wage workers, poor families and vulnerable people;
  • The government take measures against the predatory businesspeople who exploits the critical condition to generates quick revenue, because the government has implemented tax deduction for essential food; and 
  • The government will provide compensation to small business which inflicted by economic stagnation.

Ahmed Mohamoud Mohamed, Independence researcher and Political analyst
Email: siyasi114@gmail.com