By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Furniture Dealers Association of Nigeria has commended the federal government over the inclusion of the members of the association in a scheme tailored for small enterprises.
President of the association, Mr Emeka Egwuekwe, has, however, asked that members of his group be included in the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) N50 billion COVID-19 stimulus package for households and small businesses in the country.
Business Post had reported that the federal government recently released the guidelines to access the N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund and Support Initiatives, which took effect from September 21, 2020.
The scheme, which is the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, includes the N60 billion MSMEs Survival Fund and the N15 billion Guaranteed Offtake Schemes.
The leader of the furniture dealers stated that the industry lost over N600 million during the COVID-19 lockdown, noting that if care is not taken, a lot of companies will shut down after the pandemic.
According to Mr Egwuekwe, who is also the Apakata Onyii Of Enugwu-Agidi l, “the government should look into our sector, the furniture industry. If care is not taken, a lot of furniture dealers would go out of business after this COVID-19 pandemic.”
“As the President of the United Furniture Association Of Nigeria, I want the government to look at ways of including members in the CBN N50 billion COVID-19 intervention loan. Our members need this bailout loan as the furniture industry provides over 6,000 jobs. If you go to Kugbo furniture market, you will discover over 6,000 Nigerians making their living from the market.
“I tell you that after this COVID-19, a lot of companies will go extinct as most of our raw materials are imported from China, and since we have not been able to import for some time, the companies are not working.
“So, I am pleading with the federal government to include us in the bailout funds. We have lost over N600 million not only in revenue, but this sector has also lost over N600 million because of the pandemic.
“The business aspect is closed, people are crying and this is happening when the year was just picking. Many people imported goods but cannot clear them and others cannot replace their stock. As I speak, many are still losing so much money as they cannot get their goods or bill of lading to clear the goods, we are in a quagmire and calling for government intervention to save our businesses” he declared.
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