By P. Vangerline Kpotoe
MONROVIA, Aug. 8 (LINA) – Phase One of the High Frequency Phone Monitoring Survey (HFPM) conducted by the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) has disclosed massive drop in the operation of large and medium size businesses amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in the country.
According to Boima Sonii, the Director of Economic Statistic at LISGIS, the HRPM findings show that 63 percent of large businesses in the country were temporarily closed as a result of the drastic decline in the operations of those entities, leading to reduced revenue generations.
He added that about 13 percent of those large businesses closed permanently with only a scanty 4.2 percent remaining fully operational.
Speaking at the launch of the High Frequency Phone Monitoring Survey report, Director Sonii asserted that the medium size enterprises have also been slammed hard, citing that at about 32 percent of the medium size businesses were temporarily closed during the containment period.
Meanwhile, Sonii has indicated that firms revenue generation has dramatically decreased, supply chain hampered, profit dipped as well as a significant number of workers laid off, while some experienced wage cut.
He emphasized that large firms have 33 percent of employees fired and about 38 percent had pay reduction, stating that trade and industry sectors are the worst hit with 62.6 percent and 65.7 percent of firms affected massively.
Also, Sonii lamented that the pandemic has thrown businesses in turmoil, noting that workforce, supply chain, sales and profit projection have gotten more uncertain.
He asserted that the expectation of the workforce indicates that about 5 percent of large firms anticipate reduction in employees and 11 percent% of small businesses expect similar situations.
The LISGIS official explained that to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, deploying mobile and digital platforms by firms could boost sales.
However, Sonii said about 85 percent of businesses surveyed indicated that there were no benefits with the use of mobile tools and digital platforms since some are new and require extensive marketing and face-to-face transactions with clients.
Sonii narrated that there have been grave concerns on the overall food situation in Liberia during the pandemic, maintaining that about 83.8 percentof households worried about not having enough food to eat as a result of lack of finance or other resources.
He added that the effects of food insecurity on household diet and nutrition are troubling since 75.2 percent of households are enabling food with diet and nutrients.
Sonii further revealed that the effect of COVID-19 on education remains less severe, and as such 62 percent of households reported that their children completed assignments provided by teachers.
“Regarding online learning, only a paltry 1.2 percent of households use mobile learning applications as media for learning,” said Sonii.
He pointed out that the project comes from a continuous collaboration between LISGIS and the World Bank, stressing that the institution is preparing for the second round of the survey.
The overall objective of the HFPM survey is to have a measure of the potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Liberia, most especially on households, welfare impacting households through employment and price on the long-term human capital.
The monitoring structure on households and enterprises aimed at observing the socio-economic impact of shocks like COVID-19 within the country.