There is no denying the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses, the movement restrictions coupled with the border closures has caused a decrease in demand for certain goods and services; Consumers have been forced to spend primarily on essential goods and services which leaves other business owners at a loss and searching for means to sustain their business. The movement restrictions have also affected the income generated by the population and has subsequently reduced their rate of consumption.
The Nigerian Federal Government devised three programs: Payroll Support, Guaranteed Offtake Scheme and MSME Grant, all part of the Economic sustainability plan, ESP to support and protect micro, small and medium enterprises which may have been made vulnerable by the economic effects of the COVID19 pandemic. The programs began September 2020 and are said by the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum to still be ongoing by till ongoing with over 300,000 beneficiaries under the payroll support scheme and 166,000 artisans which have also benefited from the Survival Fund program.
The payroll support system scheme is targeted at MSMes who are greatly affected by the pandemic, the scheme will provide a payroll support for a maximum of 10 employees per MSMEs who qualify. This awards business owners the time and resources to focus their actions on sustaining their business and finding new ways to drive sales.
Many beneficiaries of this program have received alerts ranging from N20,000 to N50,000 salaries being paid and The senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Office of the Vice President Mr Laolu Akande stated that verification is still ongoing and the support scheme has really helped many people.
The MSME Revolving Guaranteed Off-take Scheme is another program developed by the FG to assist micro and small businesses which have been set back as a result of the pandemic. The income of the vulnerable businesses will be protected and sustained from economic interferences of the COVID-19 by increasing the capabilities of production for small businesses and ensuring their longevity.
The final program, MSME Grant includes a conditional grant which provide support to vulnerable micro and small enterprises, increase their productivity and output and enable sustainability with the funds distributed to the companies eligible.
Nigerian business owners have a call to action to ensure their business stay afloat during this pandemic; to lessen the impact of the pandemic on your business and ensure its sustainability, visit survivalfund.gov.ng and sign up for the program.