Nigerians are a hardworking people; more so, in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital where a motley crowd is ever ubiquitous. Every day, we all are up for work before the sun, only to retire several hours after the sun’s bedtime. Just as the ‘suit-and-tie army’ march into their cozy offices, millions of ‘foot soldiers’ disperse into the several corners of the metropolis. Many itinerant traders spill into the streets, under the scorching sun and sometimes in the rain, to eke out a living. The city is ever so busy.
Fueled by the slow pace of economic development, mismanagement of funds by public officers, loss of formal jobs, and persistent rural-urban migration of mostly unskilled migrants, the informal sector of the Nigerian economy continues to grow bigger. World Bank estimates put the contribution of the informal sector to the Gross Domestic Product in developing Asian and African countries between 25% and 40%. From independent research, in Nigeria, Africa’s largest country, it might be close to 65% of the Gross National Product. According to the International Labour Organisation, the informal sector is broadly characterized by a low level of organisation, with little or no division between labour and capital as factors of production and on a small scale. Labour is mostly based on casual employment, kinship or personal and social relations rather than contractual arrangements with formal guarantees. The activities are mostly outside the purview of the government.
The contribution of the informal sector to Nigeria’s economic growth is quite significant as it is better placed to absorb unutilized resources from the public and organised private sectors. Moreover, through partnerships with large-scale enterprises, informal sector enterprises could easily constitute the production base of the economy. Therefore, it is hoped that the government continues to pay more attention to the ‘underground economy’, providing strong linkages to the formal economy for national development. In the budding city of Lagos today, it is not uncommon to see and hear of government agencies and officials clamping down on the activities of street vendors, whilst seeking to obtain tax and regulate the activities of other traders. This post is dedicated to the resilience of our people on the streets. We do hope that the government strikes a balance between the provision of a proper structure for increased job creation and the enhancement of alternative means for those who have to sweat it out on the streets.
Bayo Omoboriowo is a freelance photographer and photo artiste. A double-finalist (Still Life & Lifestyle) at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Photography Awards in July 2011, his works have appeared on BellaNaija.com, YNaija.com, and in Y! Magazine. He loves documentary photography, though he also dabbles into events and portrait.
Twitter: @BayoOmoboriowo | Blog: www.bayoomoboriowo.com | Facebook Page: Bayo Omoboriowo
Jide Odukoya, a graphic designer and (front-end) web designer, decided to build a career in photography barely a year ago after purchasing a Canon 550D with which he had experimented for a while. A Photoshop faithful, he dabbles into several kinds of photography, the top three being documentary, street, and wedding photography, in that order.
Twitter: @jideodukoya | Blog: www.jideodukoya.com/blog | Facebook Page: Jide Odukoya Photography
Gbenga Awomodu is an Editorial Assistant at Bainstone Ltd./BellaNaija.com. When he is not reading or writing, Gbenga is listening to good music or playing the piano. He believes in the inspirational power of words and pictures, which he explores in helping to make the world a better place. He writes from Makurdi, Benue State, where he is presently on the national youth service programme.