1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is currently a global pandemic. This infectious respiratory disease was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 [WHO 2020]. Symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 include cough, fever, fatigue, and breathing difficulties, but sore throat, diarrhea, muscle pain, nasal congestion, and new loss of taste or smell may also occur (CDC 2020). According to WHO (2020), there were 4,098,018 global confirmed cases and 283,271 confirmed deaths worldwide as of 12th May 2020.
In early 2020, the COVID-19 (caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) pandemic took the world by surprise as it gained widespread across countries. The Coronavirus is believed to have first spread in China in December 2019, before spreading to Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States, Vietnam, Singapore, and other Western Pacific and South-East Asian nations, and then to Russia, Africa, and Latin America McLord (2020).
In a hospital in Wuhan, China, the first index case of COVID-19 was diagnosed as unexplained acute pneumonia. As a result, WHO (Cai et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2020) declared the virus a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, after it was previously identified as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)” on January 30, 2020 (Wang et al., 2020).
About 7 million people were infected with the virus over the course of six months, with about 434,796 people dying and only 4,272,909 recovering (Worldometer, 2020). Due to a shortage of available clinical vaccines to fight the virus, the international community decided to enact lockdown measures, which were first adopted by China’s central government in Wuhan on January 23, 2020.
Subsequently, there were widespread declarations of lockdown in over 100 countries between April and June 2020. This lockdown move became an inevitable option owing to both the anticipated and unanticipated macroeconomic shocks that could be triggered by the evolving virus.
Lockdown has been described as a government-imposed emergency response that requires people to remain indoors in the event of an outbreak. The end aim of the lockout measures in the case of COVID-19 was to flatten the virus’s gradient. Both activity-based centers, such as Banks, hotels, stores, religious houses, and other locations where a large number of people could congregate, was closed as part of the exercise (NCDC, 2020; CDC, 2020; WHO, 2020).
As a result of this, human movement was restricted, hence individuals were unable to assess funds in Banks. However the mobile banking services through the use of smart phones and point of sales (POS) devices facilitated fund withdrawals, transfers, cash backs, bills payment etc. Notably, the POS devices played a significant role in Managing the challenge of unavailability of funds as people were able to perform cashless transaction. Wherefore, upon this note this study is carried out to examine the effect of Covid-19 lockdown and POS availability in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The widespread dissemination of the COVID-19 virus has thrown the world’s nations, including Nigeria, into a health crisis. The implementation of lockdown measures was deemed the best solution for countering the virus’s dissemination. However, this necessary action had a significant impact on many sectors of the country but most importantly on human movement.
As a result of this, human movement was restricted and were unable to access funds in banks, perform urgent transactions, pay local bills, and so on, which could have posed a significant challenge in the country as at that time. However, mobile banking facilitated services that were able to curb these challenges.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The apex aim of this study is to ascertain the effect of Covid-19 lockdown and POS availability in Nigeria. However, below are the specific objective;
- Examine the extent to which Covid-19 lockdown affected the availability and operation of POS businesses in Nigeria.
- Determine if the Covid-19 Stay at home precautionary measure implemented in Nigeria limited the assessment and disbursement of fund by POS operators in Nigeria.
- Investigate if POS played a significant role in limiting the challenge of fund availability for Nigerians during the Covid-19 Lockdown.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the extent to which Covid-19 lockdown affected the availability and operation of POS businesses in Nigeria?
- Did the Covid-19 Stay at home precautionary measure implemented in Nigeria limited the assessment and disbursement of fund by POS operators in Nigeria?
- Did POS play a significant role in limiting the challenge of fund availability for Nigerians during the Covid-19 Lockdown?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will provide findings on the relevance of POS and how it was able to manage the challenge of Fund unavailability during the Covid-19 lockdown. Hence this study will undoubtedly be relevant to Banking Industries, POS operators, students, researchers, teachers etc.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
- The study on the assessment of the effect of covid-19 lockdown and POS availability in Nigeria covers only selected POS business in Anambra State. This study also covers the examination of the extent to which Covid-19 lockdown affected the availability and operation of POS businesses in Nigeria; determining if the Covid-19 Stay at home precautionary measure implemented in Nigeria limited the assessment and disbursement of fund by POS operators in Nigeria; Investigating if POS played a significant role in limiting the challenge of fund availability for Nigerians during the Covid-19 Lockdown.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
During the course of the study, challenges encountered were exclusively but not delimited to the following;
Inadequate finance: the research was face with problem of inadequate fund which hinder the researcher from covering as much location as possible.
Time: time factor pose another constraint since having to cope in this research which went simultaneously within the time schedule of other academic work making it impossible to undertake this study in large more representative skill.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Covid-19: This is also known as Coronavirus disease 2019 and is defined as an illness caused by a novel coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly called 2019-nCoV), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China
Lockdown: A lockdown is a mechanism that requires individuals or communities to remain in their current location due to potential threats to themselves or others if they are allowed to travel and communicate freely.
POS: A point of sale (POS) is a place where a customer executes the payment for goods or services and where sales taxes may become payable. A POS transaction may occur in person or online, with receipts generated either in print or electronically.
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