[EDITORIAL] Covid-19: Sustaining businesses during and after pandemic

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The effect of the pandemic and attendant restriction imposed by governments across the world led to disruption in commercial activities and collapse of businesses. Many business organisations may never survive the effect of the pandemic.

In Nigeria, various sectors have called for special fund to stimulate operations. According to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), airlines in Africa have lost nearly $5 billion in revenue as a result of the spread of coronavirus on the continent due to low passenger demand.

The association reports that international bookings on the continent went down by 20% in March and April, while domestic bookings fell by about 15% in March and 25% in April.

A former President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bankole Bernard, said in the first two months since the global lockdown went into effect, the Nigerian travel industry lost more than N180 billion and thousands of jobs.

It is important that business organisations begin to adjust to the distribution engineered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is equally important that for businesses to survive Post-Covid-19 it must adjust to the current realities. The lockdown and restriction on movement in spite the negative impact has shown that a considerable amount of some commercials activities can be done in specific locations without movements. Businesses should therefore take advantage of this and spend less on transportation.

Supply chain should also be evaluated to expose potential vulnerabilities. More also, it is expedient that as business operations moves to virtual, business owners must understand that Covid-19 challenge comes with other  threats.

The Federal Government as the insurer of last resort must act decisively in order to save businesses, especially Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and the livelihoods of Nigerians especially in the informal sector, and micro-economy to prevent long-lasting damage to the economy.

One of the negative impacts of the pandemic on businesses is the loss of jobs. It is critical that businesses and government must work to ensure job retention. To guarantee this, good government should provide financial support for SMEs so they do not have to lay off workers and can continue paying salaries.

The government must also leverage on the pandemic and adopt strategic approach in its industrial support, using the crisis as an opportunity to help build a more inclusive and sustainable industrial structure for the post-COVID-19 period.

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