Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) make up over 86% of the Nigerian workforce. And so the nationwide lockdown has severely affected livelihoods, as SMEs are no longer able to operate, generate revenues, and meet short-term cash obligations.
Governments around the world quickly put in place stimulus packages to support their Small Businesses to ensure jobs were not lost and the pain in the economy is is not as pronounced. However, the Nigerian government has done very little to support their SMEs, particularly, the over 12,000 SMEs in Lagos, the centre of the pandemic.
Many of us business owners feel lost. We are scared of what the future might bring, not knowing how our businesses are going to get through this. If we can pay salaries for April and the coming months. If we can meet our other obligations.
What makes it worse is that our financial providers, commercial banks, continue to act like nothing has changed. Principal and interest payments on loans are still being deducted, as well as the erroneous fees from ATM, to Maintenance and Stamp Duty.
We need HELP. From our Federal Government, through the Central Bank, who can also mandate commercial banks to reign in on their practices. This is not normal times.
NIGERIA, PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR SMEs!