How African governments are playing their parts to support businesses during the pandemic
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the global economy and with oil prices declining, it is undebatable that the goal of every business is not just to make a profit but to also survive this crucial period.
All over the world, it appears that among many industries suffering from the pandemic, the travel and hospitality sectors are having the hardest hit.
In Nigeria, the CEO of an indigenous online hotels aggregator, Mark Essien, confirmed in a tweet that “This is a difficult time for hotels.ng.”
This is a difficult time for https://t.co/f8xVHQqGZs
— Mark Essien (@markessien) April 16, 2020
Asides the travel and hospitality industry, other industries bearing a tough hit from the pandemic include sports betting companies, the music industry, fashion space, the export/import sectors and the movie industry, mostly because businesses in these sectors thrive more on human-to-human interaction.
A report has it that due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a significant shift in the stock market, causing investors to fear that the increasing rate of confirmed cases will damage economic growth and the actions of many countries’ governments may not be enough to halt the downturn. As at press time, there are 2,520,522 cases of COVID-19.
But whether or not government’s interference will tune down the coronavirus effect, it’s not for us to decide. In any case, we’ve seen governments around the world rising up to play their parts. African governments are not left behind. Here’s how African governments are equally attempting to salvage the situation.
The African governments’ play amid coronavirus pandemic
The South African government recently announced a new support package to help South African businesses and citizens. The plan is to energise the economy with R500 billion package for residents and companies.
The funds will also be reportedly allocated to the healthcare sector and to social organisations to make sure people have enough money to survive this period.
In addition, a loan scheme of R200-billion will be pioneered to support local businesses. This means that companies may apply to the loan scheme through local banks, potentially before the end of April.
Similarly, the federal government of Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning have disclosed some financial measures to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic on the economy, Nigerian businesses, and families.
The apex bank introduced N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) as an incentive package to assist families and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
In the same light, the Ghanaian government announced plans to support households and businesses, particularly small and medium scale enterprises with a relief package of at least GH¢1 billion.
It is also noteworthy to mention that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) allegedly approved immediate debt relief for 20 African and five other non-African countries to help them free up funds to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The African countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, D.R., The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
However, this isn’t peculiar to African countries. Last week, the Prime Minister of Canada announced plans to expand the Canada Emergency Business Account by both increasing and decreasing the eligibility threshold. As such businesses that spent between $20,000 and $1,500,000 in total payroll in 2019, will be eligible to receive a loan through the Canada Emergency Business Account.
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