ADDIS ABABA – Upto two million Ethiopians could lose their job within the coming three months due to the impact of coronavirus, reported government’s Job creation commission.
As of Friday, Ethiopia has recorded 65 coronavirus patients. Health experts say the infection rate in Ethiopia is low like many African countries but fear it may grow exponentially.
The increase has forced the government to take several measures including declaring a state of emergency, ban on gathering, and suspending operations of airlines to contain the virus. The measures could have an indirect impact on the job sector.
If the country could not manage to contain the virus “within three months”, head of Job Creation Commission Ephrem Tekle said up to 2 million people could lose their job.
The estimated number of unemployment could double if the impact from the virus could linger up to six months, he said during a virtual conference held on Thursday.
The commissioner said the major sectors that are expected to face a high level of risk due to coronavirus are service, manufacture and construction sectors.
Ephrem also said hotels, industrial parks, banks, small and medium construction firms could particularly be hit hard in the coming months.
The government is currently supporting private sectors to stay open and continue retaining their workers.
These measures include increasing credit availability, delaying debt payment and waving taxes to businesses that employ a considerable number of employees, he said.
The country targets to create 3 million jobs in the current 2019/20 fiscal year and has so far managed to create over 1.8 million jobs to date.
However, the commissioner said the focus could now shift from creating new to support the already existing and operative business to make sure they stay open and retain their employees.
By Sisay Sahlu
(This story has been refiled to correct the number in the first paragraph to two million)