Coronavirus: Government must act fast to save small businesses ― Ibadan Chamber of Commerce

If the prevailing conditions of the coronavirus pandemic persist, Nigeria may be faced with another economic recession. Therefore, the Nigerian government must act fast to save small businesses which are the greatest employers of labour.

Sir Sola Abodunrin, the new president of Ibadan Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture, made this assertion over the weekend in Ibadan.

According to him, “This lockdown is affecting business adversely. Most companies are closed or working on skeletal basis. That means production is stopped or reduced terribly. There is either little or no output at all, but salaries are being paid. That is a terrible loss to businesses.

“We are praying that this should not last long. If it does, outfits may close shop totally. Acute unemployment may then set in. The overall effect on the economy will be another recession which will be worse than that of 2017. This one will be a production induced recession. Even now, oil price has gone below 24 dollars, as against the 57 dollars benchmark that was used in the 2020 budget.

“In advanced countries like the US, UK and Canada, governments are considering bailing out industries. The United States Senate has just approved 2 trillion dollars to bail out businesses in the US.

“The Nigerian government should consider similar bailouts too. The tough conditions that are imposed on businesses should be relaxed. The Senate should quickly resume from its recess to consider the economic palliatives that are being proposed by the Lower House. This is a period of both medical and economic emergencies. Both the Executive and the National Assembly should treat it as such.

“Most of the traders are daily income earners. When their shops are locked down they have no income to feed. Our prayer is that this crisis should end soon to avert the impending hunger. However, we appreciate what the government is giving out to relieve the situation of the poor. We want the government to extend this to small businesses who are the greatest employers of labour in Nigeria.”


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