Given the devastating blow coronavirus has dealt businesses in the past five weeks, business owners in the country have demanded one-year tax break among others from the government to enable them to recover.
This was contained in the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry COVID-19Impact Report Survey released on Sunday.
It was signed by the Director-General of LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf.
Apart from one-year tax relief, the businesses also asked for the suspension of the implementation of the new Value Added Tax regime rate till year end.
They demanded these incentives for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, airlines, manufacturers, agro-processors, Small and Medium Enterprises and the hospitality sector.
Yusuf said the report was in line with the LCCI’s mandate of ensuring an enabling environment for the general business community, and to determine the impact of the lockdown on businesses, using Lagos State as case study, “informed by its commercial and economic importance to Nigeria.”
He said the survey captured business operators across various sectors of the economy such as food processing, agriculture, financial services, professional services, ICT, exports, trade and freight forwarding.
According to the report, a significant fraction of sampled businesses, precisely 81 per cent, were ‘severely’ affected by the lockdown while 17 per cent indicated moderate impact on their business.
It added that the lockdown had a severe impact on over 50 per cent of businesses in the services sector, necessitated lower demand for services by individual and corporate clients.
It further indicated that during the lockdown, clients prioritised food and essential items ahead of ‘relatively less important’ services, and corporate clients ran skeletal operations, which depressed demand for non-essential services.
It added that the public and private sector must make concerted efforts to protect businesses, jobs and income.
The report read in part, “Recognising the role of business and investment in the economy, it is imperative to have a strategy aimed at enabling businesses to navigate through the current storm caused by the pandemic and jumpstarting the economy in general.”