By Victor Young
Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has raised the alarm that 74.2 per cent of businesses have stopped operations due to COVID-19 pandemic.
At a briefing, weekend, in Lagos, acting President of NECA,Taiwo Adeniyi, disclosed that 15.8 per cent of businesses were either fully on site or teleworking.
While commending the Federal Government’s efforts through various stimulus packages to aid small and medium scale enterprises, SMES, NECA lamented that organised businesses were basically left in the lurch to weather the challenges of COVID19 pandemic alone.
Adeniyi said: “With the view of gauging the specific impact of COVID-19 on businesses to aid our advocacy efforts, we conducted a research into the effects of the pandemic on businesses. Outcome of the research showed, among others, that 74.2 per cent of surveyed enterprises have stopped operating due to COVID-19, while 15.8 per cent are either fully on site or teleworking.
‘’Over 90 per cent of surveyed enterprises noted that limited cash-flow was an impediment to operations and over 90 per cent stated that demand for their goods and services had significantly reduced.
‘’The disruption of supply chains resulted in 78.2 per cent of enterprises having supply challenges as suppliers were unable to fulfill orders.”
He said the body commended government at all levels for efforts so far made to curtail the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
Effects of restrictions on businesses
Adeniyi noted that the guidelines and protocols initiated by the Presidential Task Force were needful, though sometimes late and hardly enforced.
He said: ‘’We note the political will that necessitated the imposition of significant restrictions in the movement of persons and goods practically all over the country, especially in states of Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and the varying degrees of restrictions on movement of persons and goods, including public gatherings and markets within states.
“The effects of the various restrictions on businesses prompted the Federal Government to introduce fiscal and monetary measures to ameliorate the impact on businesses and save the economy from further collapse.
‘’Worthy of commendation is the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s, N50 billion credit facility to households, Small and Medium Enterprises most affected by the pandemic, N100 billion loan to the health sector and N1 trillion to the manufacturing sector.
‘’In addition, the interest rates on all CBN interventions programmes were revised downwards from nine per cent to five per cent, and a one-year moratorium was introduced, effective March 1, 2020.
Solicits govt’s support
“While we commend these efforts, we wish to state with concern that organised businesses were basically left in the lurch to weather the challenges alone. With many businesses closed down and many others on the verge of bankruptcy, we had urged government to give attention and support to businesses to ensure their survival and competitiveness.”