The global impact of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, if not nipped in the bud will adversely affect Nigeria’s fragile economy, analysts at CSL Research said in a publication yesterday.
The immediate effect of the new variant is sending negative ripples already. Already, the forecast for the international price of crude oil going into 2022 appears biased towards a decline, which becomes a major concern for Nigeria given the concentration of crude oil proceeds in its export earnings, the impact on reserves, and the management of Foreign Exchange (FX) supply towards exchange rate stability.
“Though many issues around the new variant remain unclear, we believe a fourth wave, if not nipped in the bud might be a serious concern for the overall economic outlook in 2022”, said CSL Research.
The United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Korea have all issued travel limits from passengers from southern Africa where the virus is thought to have originated. Israel has also closed its borders to foreigners after it discovered the case. Many markets are already pricing in its possible risks and consequences.
According to reports, the province of Ontario, Canada has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 omicron variant from persons who had recently traveled from Nigeria. However, the federal government through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that the deadly omicron variant of the coronavirus was yet to be detected in the country. On 26 November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of its Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).
This decision was based on the evidence presented that Omicron has several mutations with tendencies to impact human behaviour.