COVID-19 Pandemic and Economic Crisis: The Nigerian Experience and Structural Causes

19 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2020 Last revised: 8 Apr 2020

See all articles by Peterson K Ozili

Peterson K Ozili

Central Bank of Nigeria; Central Bank of Nigeria

Date Written: April 2, 2020


We are in the midst of the worst recession since the global financial crisis. The economic downturn in Nigeria was triggered by a combination of declining oil price and spillovers from the COVID-19 outbreak, which not only led to a fall in the demand for oil products but also stopped economic activities from taking place when social distancing policies were enforced. The government responded to the crisis by providing financial assistance to businesses, not to households, that were affected by the outbreak. The monetary authority adopted accommodative monetary policies and offered a targeted 3.5trillion loan support to some sectors. These efforts should have prevented the economic crisis from occurring but it didn’t. Economic agents refused to engage in economic activities for fear of contracting the COVID-19 disease that was spreading very fast at the time. In this paper, I analyse the COVID-19 spillovers to Nigeria and the structural weaknesses in Nigeria’s infrastructure that helped bring on the current economic crisis and discuss prospects for reform.

Keywords: Nigeria, COVID-19, Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, outbreak, pandemic, financial crisis, global recession, public health, spillovers, monetary policy, fiscal policy, liquidity provision, central bank

JEL Classification: G21, G28, I11, I18

Suggested Citation

Ozili, Peterson K, COVID-19 Pandemic and Economic Crisis: The Nigerian Experience and Structural Causes (April 2, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Peterson K Ozili (Contact Author)

Central Bank of Nigeria ( email )

Plot 33, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Way
Central Business District, Cadastral Zone

Central Bank of Nigeria ( email )

Abuja, 09

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