BY KINGSLEY OKOH, Lagos
Following the commencement of vaccination against COVID-19 across the country, experts have stated that with the pick-up of the vaccine distribution for usage, businesses may return to normalcy and the Micro, Small and Medium enterprise (MSMEs) will be revamped to drive the accelerated growth in the non-oil sector.
The manufacturing sector and players in the informal economy suffered a great loss without adequate buffers to suppress the shocks and following the outbreak of the pandemic.
Also, the pandemic affected the Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
To this end, the experts hinted that stability may return to the business space with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to holistically rebound the various sectors of the economy.
Also, the manufacturing sector experienced a breakdown in supply chains with negative downturns and limited growth projections. This challenges were part of the country’s economic narratives but were further amplified by the pandemic which further caused economic vulnerability, rising inflation, depressed purchasing power and weak investor confidence.
The SMEs in particular which contributes 48 percent to the nations GDP with great asset value to drive economic growth and given the size of the informal sector, the MSMEs were exposed to risk and uncertainties which took turns to have devastating effects on the operating environment, households income and expenditures.
In the wake of the global pandemic, the federal government stepped up plans with intervention funds to revamp MSMEs who were affected by the economic shocks.
More importantly, this projects were funded by the Federal government through various intervention support programmes from CBN, NIRSAL to alleviate businesses affected by the global pandemic.
Confirming the development, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI) Mrs. Toki Mabogunje revealed that the vaccination against the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to drive economic growth and global recovery in year 2021.
According to her, the vaccine driven recovery would continue to gain momentum in several advanced economy and few developing economies to support economic activities globally.
She decried that the extended lockdowns in some part of Europe shows concerns about the potency of the vaccine while pointing out that the slow vaccine administration in developing economies are the major downside risk to global output recovery.
Reacting, Director-general, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI), Mr. Muda Yusuf, said the use of the vaccine is bringing confidence back to business adding that with the commencement of the vaccine for usage a lot more economic activity will resume.
He said a lot of economic activities require interaction especially those who are in the hospitality management sector, entertainment sector, tourism and other sectors who have been heavily affected by the pandemic.
He confirmed that with the vaccine distribution confidence is returning to derisk the operating environment to help accelerate the recovery of the economy and restore investors confidence to the ease of doing business.
Speaking on the Intervention Funds for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Yusuf said only a few group of people benefitted from the funds while others could not access the intervention funds.
He said the bigger picture for MSMEs in the country is the environment itself to relax the environment so that more economic activity can take place which is already happening now.
But he lamented that with over 40million MSMEs, only a very minute group of people could access the funds and to this end it didn’t add more significant impact to the vast numbers of MSMEs operating in the business space.
Similarly, Managing Director, TBWA Concept, Mr. Kelechi Nwosu espoused that the vaccine distribution will repose business confidence not just within Nigeria but abroad while he added that Nigeria is fast recovering from recession to rebound the economy.
He said, “we need to think better about the optimal productivity of the non-oil sector by investing in other growing sectors like ICT, pharmaceuticals, real estate and agriculture which had a fast recovery in the first Quarter of 2021.