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How SMEs can mitigate COVID-19 impact

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt an overwhelming blow on the global economy, causing a series of hitches on the businesses, economies and lives.

In Nigeria, micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 90 percent of all businesses in the country and contribute 50 percent to the GDP, have been largely affected as they are much more susceptible to shocks due to the nature of their formation, activities and limitations.

BusinessDay recent sample survey of MSMEs in Lagos, Aba, Ibadan and Ogun revealed that while some have had to hold on with business operations, others have experienced difficult challenges in carrying out their activities despite the partial resumption of activities in the country.

Andrew Nevin, chief economist at PWC, said the effect of COVID-19 and other economic issues have consequent impact on the business environment.

”Subsequently, businesses that are able to withstand the economic headwinds are those that have built mechanisms and designed internal strategies to weather the storms that occur in the global and local economic spheres,” he said.

A PwC MSME Survey 2020 themed ‘Building to Last: Navigating MSME Growth and Sustainability in a New Decade,’ provides viable options for MSMEs to succeed amid the pandemic.

The survey aims to measure the experiences of sector players, assessing the underlying issues which MSMEs face and providing insights on the sector.

According to the survey, “The world is fast becoming a global village due to innovations underpinned principally by technological advancements. Technology has brought about changes in consumer perceptions, tastes and preferences.” It urges MSMEs to invest in technology and use it to propel and reform business activities and further satisfy clients.

In addition to the investment in technology, business owners are advised to strengthen cybersecurity platforms in order to minimize fraud and enhance information security and privacy of documents and internal resources.

Entrepreneurs have also been advised to employ the use of alternatives in supply chain and particularly adopt local quality materials as substitutes for imports in the short-term to reduce production costs.

Uyi Akpata, country and regional senior partner, PwC Nigeria, said in a statement that “In the aftermath of the pandemic and as we enter an age of disruptions to traditional business models, traditional approaches to doing business in Nigeria surely must change.”

In addition, business owners are advised to stay informed and abreast of industry insights and related information that could enhance and improve strategies to mitigate risks and access new opportunities, including economic reports and business forecast. Armed with the right and necessary information, the business owners will be able to make the right decisions that will help them remain relevant and grow, analysts say.

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