The ripple effect of the pandemic on Nigeria’s economy may cause devastation for businesses if the federal government fails to take urgent measures to salvage the situation.
According to Mr Tomi Tuboberini, a Rivers State-based marine businessman who expressed frustrations at the inability of the federal government to implement policies that could help alleviate the hardship in the country, only incentives in the form of tax relief would help the business to survive.
He stated that no government, which has the interest of its citizens at heart, would impose harsh policies at a time when private business owners are striving for the survival of their businesses.
“Most businesses can no longer stand the economic losses due to the pandemic. Those who are fortunate to continue in business can’t even make profit because of low patronage. Obviously the business environment even here in Port Harcourt is not friendly at all. Unfortunately most Nigerians are the cause of the business crisis because they don’t pay. Where a foreign firm pays more considering the cost you purchased the product, Nigerians will want to pay you peanuts despite all your efforts to get the product at a high cost. On top of that, they owe you millions of naira. No foreign business owner will treat someone’s business with utmost disregard. The banks are not helping the situation as they won’t give loans to business owners. Even when you are eventually given a loan, the interest rate will be extremely unrealistic. The level of insecurity is one bigger issue in the private sector. There is inadequate security in the country. Foreigners are scared to invest in the country due to insecurity. The government should stop using COVID-19 as excuse to do the needful. They are implementing policies that frustrate business owners. I have good business idea to export clothes, but the money to put up professional machinery for such business. But the enabling environment is not there. These policies are outrageous. They are killing our businesses. The federal government needs to reduce all taxes to an affordable rate for private business owners, create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in this terrible situation. Banks should consider giving out loans with payable interest rates., “ he said.