Few days before ASUU announced the suspension of their three months old industrial action, I walked into the premises of a federal University in the South South only to realize that the most active and fastest growing part of the economy rely on the seemingly insignificant sector of the economy to survive.
The canteens has been on break, women who fry akara are nowhere to be found; the ones who make zobo and other natural fruit drinks even the young women who sold fruits at the gates had less turnover. Nothing actually seemed to be moving because they all complained of the chances of selling out even if it means borrowing money to stock up. And then I asked, is it really true they depended on the university community to survive?
Well, I can manage a ‘yes’ but not when it sways rhythmically to the state’s economy. Growing cities that rely on its informal economy to survive face a slowdown and disruption alike when industrial actions like ASUU strike occur.
We all never expected it but we were all caught up in this mess. Young school levers needed to be cleared by their departments and faculties so they can mobilize for NYSC, Project students needed to get their project topics and research materials approved, small businesses were swept off their markets especially in university dominated communities, events hardly sold out because they mostly have students in mind and the upcoming election would have been a mess because a lot students may not vote having been displaced from their place of registration and voting alike.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities recently suspended a three months strike action that they embarked on Sunday 4th of November, 2018. Unfortunately, it affected the revenues generated through some small economic revenue generators including transporters, barbers, market women, fruit vendors, food vendors, shop owners and big eateries who depended on students for their market. It simply came to bear that economic and social policies affect the informal sector which seem to be the fastest growing and ever evolving part of an economy.
Informal economy consist of a diversified economic activities dominated by characterized by self-employment and often unregulated. Small businesses who constitute the informal economy generate less but constant revenue per time relatively. This economic sector seem to have minimized the rate of unemployment and poverty in the global economy at large because they constitute the barbers, vendors, fast food, transporters, hair dressers, and even the woman who sells akara and bread in your street.
The lesson is simple; all part of the economy is indispensable. The inadequacies emanating from either sides of the economy spreads uncontrollably like virus except handled right from the heart. Now that ASUU has suspended the strike, everyone else is happy because lines are going to fall back in pleasant places again.