Lagos State Government on Friday rolled out what it called ‘Register-to-open’ guidelines for businesses as it prepares for the opening of the economy following the ongoing lockdown. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, speaking at a webinar organised by First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Group, with the theme: “A Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities – A View from the Frontlines”, said government was concerned about balancing the reactivation of economic activities and the continuation of the state’s response to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Under the four-page Register-to-Open guidelines,the state government is offering incentives which the governor said will affect its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). The overall strategy is to prevent job loss in critical industries that provide employment for a large number of labour. In addition to granting a three-month moratorium to MSMEs that applied for loan facilities at the Lagos State Employment Trust Funds (LSETF), government has also started to compile data of registered MSMEs in the state for operational support that would cushion the effect of economic slowdown on their businesses. He said: “We have been caught in a very delicate situation between managing COVID-19 on one hand and managing hunger and sustaining an economy that is not only depended on commercial activities in Lagos alone, but also other States across the federation. “We have had weeks of engagement with players in fast-moving consumer goods sector and part of the measures we are taking is that, we are giving them additional clearance to work for longer hours. “Besides, we initiated what we called Register-to-Open, which is a thorough guideline to help the residents ahead of the full re-opening. Some of the things we will be seeing in the four-page guideline is, how we want to manage space at various places of business and what numbers of personnel and clients we expect at a given period, which must be based on the sizes of the facilities. As we prepare for this phased re-opening, we are giving priority to sectors that have higher number of labour.” The governor said the construction and manufacturing sectors would be accorded high priority for full re-opening, given the large number of employment they generate while the entertainment, hospitality and aviation industries will be considered in the second phase of intervention. Sanwo-Olu said the weeks of inertia in the economy also had significant impact on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), stressing that millions of small-scale businesses operating in the state could completely fold up if the economy is not fully reactivated.
Source: The Nation