The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic this year has been a major disaster to several sectors including the financial sector. The ensuing lockdown affected the global economy tremendously. SMEs in Nigeria were among the worst hit.
According to a survey published by the Fate Foundation and BudgIT on the ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian SMEs’, 94.3% of the total 1,943 respondents said the pandemic has negatively affected their business.
Back in 2017, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector comprising approximately 40 million SMEs contributed an estimated 48% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and employed 84% of the country’s entire workforce, according to a National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report released in 2018.
GDP is an important indicator of a country’s economic power. According to the NBS, Nigeria’s 2017 GDP was worth about N113.7 billion. Of that amount, the SME sector contributed 48%; that’s two percent short of half the total amount. This value provided by SMEs, which ensures the smooth running of the country, is why they are referred to as the bedrock of the economy.
But this was before the pandemic and the accompanying lockdown that resulted in an unprecedented economic tailspin affecting business operations, consumer spending, loss of jobs, and livelihoods. According to the Fate Foundation and BudgIT survey, off the businesses still managing to stay afloat, 72.1% cannot find the cash flow to continue running their business, and 59.2% are struggling to increase their revenue base.