SIGN THE PETITION TODAY! 10 Important Relief Actions for Nigerian SMEs and Growing Businesses

After a week of the compulsory lockdown, Ada Osakwe, Founder of Nuli, a small and growing food service business in Lagos, started an online petition, #NigeriaSupportYourSMEs, calling on all who want the government to do more to support SMEs. As at April 20th, 2974 individuals had signed this petition.

Petition Priorities

The three main priorities of this petition are:

  • To Retain Jobs
  • Avoid an Economic Depression
  • To Reduce Social Unrest


10 Recommendations for Relief

The recommendations written below are Nigeria-centric, and were thoroughly researched examining the country’s unique situation. They can be divided broadly into two phases: actions for immediate relief and actions post-lockdown that will stimulate a recovery in the aftermath of this crisis.

Immediate Relief Actions

Actions that need to be taken within the next week, during the lockdown period, to stem the negative impact of the standstill in the economy.

  1. Provide ₦50 billion grants to directly support businesses in vulnerable industries to avoid job retrenchments. Key Driver: Ministry of Finance, CBN
  2. Declare Force Majeure. Allow complete forgiveness of principal and interest repayments on existing SME loans during the Government legislated. Key Driver: CBN
  3. Grant forbearance on principal on existing SME loans for at least 3 months after the shut-down period. Key Driver: CBN
  4. Provide guarantees and/ or Liquidity for new ₦30 billion SME loans, specifically through digital lenders for quick disbursement. Key Driver: CBN, NIRSAL, Development Partners e.g. AfDB
  5. Provide relief on business taxes due, rent payments, and associated essential utilities. Key Driver: FGN, LASG
Post-Lockdown Recovery Actions

Actions that need to be taken within the next 1 to 4 weeks as we look ahead to prepare for and stimulate the economic recovery during and post COVID-19 and protect ourselves in the event of another pandemic of similar magnitude.

  1. Establish a Small Business Resilience Fund A multi-stakeholder fund. Key Driver: FGN, CBN, LASG
  2. SME entrepreneurs to be included in Presidential task-force developing a comprehensive policy for a “Nigerian Economy Functioning with COVID-19” Key Driver: FGN
  3. Launch SME Business support services, especially those that foster digital business transformation. Key Driver: CBN, FGN
  4. Direct Tax Reliefs to incentivize capital to new start-ups and early stage businesses.  Key Driver: FGN, State Governments
  5. State Governments to Consider FREE Transportation for Workers for 90-days. Key Driver: State Governments


Call To Action

After a two-week lockdown, we are already experiencing the fact that the Covid-19 will ultimately affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who depend on being open for business.

#Support4AfricaSMEs is completely behind the #NigeriaSupportYourSMEs petition as it aligns with our objectives to help African SMEs to survive the Covid-19 epidemic and to thrive when the crisis is over.

This petition has inspired SME-owners, particularly those representing the vulnerable industries, to come together to identify the challenges that affect them and agree on the most urgent solutions they require to pull-through this crisis.

As an SME-led initiative, our solutions are authentic and directly from the ‘horse’s mouth’. We are therefore calling for a Government-led, SME-focused response to the crisis.

Also, kindly support this campaign by using the hashtags highlighted above. You can also check for more resources.


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