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LCCI cries out as Lagos MSMEs lose N2.7 billion to COVID-19 lockdown



Lagos state city lies empty: Deserted streets in Lagos after the COVID-19 second wave lockdown

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has revealed that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Lagos have lost a sum of N2.7 billion to partial lockdown caused by the COVID-19 second wave.

The LCCI Director-General, Muda Yusuf, disclosed this on Sunday, December 27, during the LCCI’s Economic and Business Review for 2020 and Outlook for 2021.

Yusuf explained that the major disruptions that Lagos businesses faced during the end of the year was the attack by hoodlums after the #EndSARS protests, and the lockdown restrictions during the holiday season.

He said: “The business community witnessed two major disruptions in year 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic and EndSARS protest nationwide.

“The fiscal and monetary authorities as well as the coalition of private sector players provided several relief measures to cushion the impacts of the pandemic on the business community.

“Our findings showed that MSMEs with active presence in Lagos lost at least N2.7 billion in revenue to the lockdown.

“Business activities rebounded modestly in Q3-2020, following the relaxation of various lockdown measures.

“However, the major challenges faced by the business community in the outgoing year include – liquidity crisis in the foreign exchange market, sharp exchange rate depreciation, high energy and production cost.

“Others are: ports congestion, cumbersome and burdensome customs processes, insecurity, inconsistent policies, regulatory uncertainties, land border closure and Apapa traffic gridlock,” he said.

Yusuf also disclosed that most businesses would struggle in 2021 though it was expected that the larger corporations would thrive in 2021 as the economy returned to positive growth.

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According to him, “While most MSMEs will struggle to survive in year 2021 amid unfavourable economic conditions, we expect most large corporations to demonstrate resilience in the coming year.

“We expect the economy to return to the path of positive growth in the second quarter of 2021. This will expectedly impact on the macroeconomic environment which may ease some of the critical economic conditions currently impeding economic growth.

“Without bold policy pronouncements in this regard, constraints to the ease of doing business including FX shortage, escalating production costs, high regulatory costs, infrastructure inadequacies and delayed cargo clearance will persist into year 2021.”