The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association has said the country faces massive job loss if it does not take steps to curb the crisis.
NECA, in its weekly bulletin, pointed out the harsh business environment in Nigeria had dealt a devastating blow to businesses in the country, adding that the situation had been made worse by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
The association noted that while businesses had remained passive and unproductive with attendant mass losses of revenue, overhead costs had remained. It stated the government has spoken well in urging businesses to continue to bear the brunt without recourse to staff rationalization, while members of NECA have been equally urged to continue to keep the full complements of its workers for as long as it is bearable and as far as economic indices will permit.
However, the body added that even though employers had been advised to keep staff, hard decisions at this time would be inevitable because five weeks of the economic and business shutdown have “overstretched” the limits of businesses.
NECA noted that balancing the protection of lives with economic interests should, ordinarily not be difficult, adding that while the protection of life should take precedence, the need to protect the economic foundation of the nation cannot be discounted as the economy will ultimately sustain life.
The association recommended that to save jobs of Nigerians, the government should consider direct interventions such as; direct wage or income support, wage subsidies.
Others are; tax credits or tax deferrals, short-term work schemes, moratoriums on loan payments.
NECA also suggested the establishment of a coronavirus job retention scheme, where the government pays up to 60 percent of private-sector salaries until June, as long as workers are not laid off, as done in other climes, such as the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, and others.
It said this would reduce the negative impact on businesses and slow the rate of job loss.