Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, has raised the alarm that 74.2 percent of businesses have stopped operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a briefing, weekend, in Lagos, acting President of NECA, Taiwo Adeniyi, disclosed that 15.8 percent 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 organized 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 research into the effects of the pandemic on businesses. The outcome of the research showed, among others, that 74.2 percent of surveyed enterprises have stopped operating due to COVID-19, while 15.8 percent are either fully on-site or teleworking.
‘’Over 90 percent of surveyed enterprises noted that limited cash-flow was an impediment to operations and over 90 percent stated that demand for their goods and services had significantly reduced.
‘’The disruption of supply chains resulted in 78.2 percent of enterprises having supply challenges as suppliers were unable to fulfill orders.”
He said the body commended the 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 the 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 programs were revised downwards from nine percent to five percent, 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 organized 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 the government to give attention and support to businesses to ensure their survival and competitiveness.”