The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) on Thursday urged the Federal Government to provide more financial support to traders to mitigate the economic impact of the Coronavirus.
NANTS President, Ken Ukaoha, who stated this in Abuja, praised government’s effort at curbing the spread of the virus and its impact on the economy, but stated that more needs to be done to ease the challenges faced by traders in the country.
Ukaoha pointed out that already traders were faced by challenges posed by insecurity which has made movement of goods across the country difficult.
He said: “Government should consider more palliatives in the face of prevalent strangulating economic conditions, staring at poor informal traders and other MSMEs.
“These impeded movement of traders and a major chunk of informal sector entrepreneurs with their goods across the country.
“Traders have also been affected by land border closure which has negatively impacted on the economy of many businesses plying the regional cross border since August. 2019.
“And now the COVID-19 scourge which has globally disrupted all activities of traders across the globe,’’ he said.
He therefore called on governments at various levels to urgently begin consideration of palliatives that could stabilise the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19 turbulence.
Speaking on Federal Government’s efforts, he commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on the provision of N50 billion soft loan facility to enhance the MSMEs.
The trade and economic expert also expressed satisfaction, particularly on the non-collateral aspects of the loan facility and interest rate reduction from nine per cent to five per cent, among other palliatives.
“Specifically, NANTS is pleased with the reduction in pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from N145 to N125 per litre.
“The support by the private sector, led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Access Bank, who have provided N200 million and more pledges, is also well appreciated by NANTS.
“We appeal to philanthropic organisations such as Churches, Mosques and other well-placed Nigerians, including wealthy sportsmen and women, to further support the fight against the virus, especially among vulnerable communities,” he said.