2019 General Election Postponement: Economic Implications

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Following the postponement of the 2019 General Elections on Saturday, 16th February 2019, Business Insider, Sub-Saharan Africa looks at four economic implications of the postponement on the nation, the individual and the economy.

1. Increased economic uncertainty
The postponement of the elections will further keep investors away from the Nigerian market as fear and uncertainty about the country's economic and political direction linger. This will also discourage investment and bring adverse effect to the nation’s stock market.

2. Overbearing costs
Individual spending has increased in the last two days. Many have gone to filling stations and supermarkets to stock up for the election weekend, while some have travelled out of their places of residence to their constituencies where they are registered to vote.

Journalists, international correspondents, and election observers have spent thousands of dollars travelling to and around Nigeria to cover the elections and observe polling activities.

For instance, a return flight for a UK journalist to cover Nigeria election will cost them about N400,00 (more than £800) while hotel accommodation for up to a week in a Lagos hotel could cost up to N35,000 (£75) per night. Add to that an average per diem of $500 for 3-4 days and you will get a sense of just how much could have been expended on covering the elections originally scheduled for February 16.

Every Saturday, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people get married across the country. Those who might have scheduled their weddings for the week after the elections will now have to reschedule them, bearing unforeseen costs that might greatly affect their finances in the process.

3. Companies’ strategies at risk
Some companies have tied their spending and 2019 strategies around the Saturday, February 16 and March 2, 2019, initial election dates, spending millions of Naira. Adjusting to the new dates will not only affect company finances, but it will have some effects on employee morale going into the new week, further harming the companies’ productivity levels.

Last week, Nigeria fully recovered from its worst economic recession as the GDP growth recorded a remarkable 1.93% in 2018, thanks to the activities and spending of private organisations. It will be important to note how these activities will be impacted in the coming weeks.

4. Waste of national resources
INEC’s budget for the election year is roughly 189 billion Naira. It is safe to say that a large chunk of that budget that has already been expended on logistics in preparation for elections on February 16 has gone to waste, never to be recouped.

INEC will also need to make adjustments to already incurred costs, almost doubling costs.