By Staff Reporter
AT LEAST 23% of urban residents who used to work for a wage or to obtain a household business income before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, were no longer doing so in July 2020 due to the negative effects of the pandemic.
According to the World Bank, this figure is 19% in rural areas and the most common reason for losing a job and income was business closure due to the lockdown.
These are some of the headline figures based on a World Bank telephone survey conducted in collaboration with the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) among 1 747 households in July 2020.
“The survey tracked the social, economic and welfare impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on households. It is also a high-frequency survey providing critical information on the consequences of the pandemic and informing national discussions on which population groups are affected most,” the World Bank said in its report released Tuesday.
“The data will provide the evidence base for any mitigation programs that may be considered and track the implementation of those programmes.”
The survey was designed to; understand household knowledge, perspectives and behavioral responses to Covid-19, monitor household access to food, medicine, water, education, and government assistance, assess the economic impacts on wage workers, family business, farming and non-labor income.
It also tracked Covid-19 impact on food security, welfare, confidence; and provide evidence to support programmes and improving targeting and management.
The sample is representative for the urban and rural population and covers all 10 provinces in the country.
“Top-line finding of the survey include; households in Zimbabwe are well aware of Covid-19. Nearly everyone (99%) has heard about Covid-19 and knows the symptoms and preventive measures. Frequent hand washing is commonly adopted but is constrained by water shortages which are reported by 21% of urban households compared to 9% of rural respondents, and a shortage of soap which affects a quarter of rural households compared to 14 % of urban households.
“There has been a considerable fall in household income since the start of the pandemic. Ninety percent of households which operated a non-farm business (about 33% in urban areas) reported a drop in revenue.
“Forty-four percent of wage workers (which form about 60% of urban workers) reported a reduction or disappearance of wages. This adds up to more than half of urban workers who have witnessed a drop in income. The problem affects urban areas in particular as the proportion of people working for a wage or operating a non-farm business is much higher than in rural areas.”
The World Bank said the pandemic has had a considerable impact on employment.
“Roughly 64% of respondents reported having a job before the imposition of mobility restrictions; this was reduced to 51% in July 2020. Urban areas were most affected by job loss as 18% of respondents in urban areas were working before Covid-19 but no longer were in July 2020. The most commonly cited reason for no longer working was business closure due to Covid-19 restrictions.”