Business recovery

Supporting small businesses is critical for COVID-19 recovery

Policymakers need to adapt policies and institutions to enable small businesses to make a greater contribution to post-pandemic economic revival.

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can power a stronger recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, due to their innovative and opportunity-seeking nature, but they need more support.

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Participants at the 7th edition of the Empretec Global Summit held online on 20 April heard that policymakers need to adapt policies and institutions to support MSMEs.

Such support should be aligned with the priorities of the post-COVID-19 social and economic recovery, said UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant.

“Short-term support measures such as relieving tax burdens on MSMEs, extending debt finance and employment support are certainly needed and should be continued,” Ms. Durant said.

“Yet at the same time, it’s important to invest in long-term structural policies, such as digital and financial inclusion, as well as entrepreneurial skills capacity development,” she added.

Backbone of global economy

MSMEs constitute the backbone of the global economy, accounting for two-thirds of employment globally and between 80% and 90% of employment in low-income countries.

At the same time, they are disproportionately affected by pandemic-related shocks. They are overrepresented in non-essential services sectors hardest hit by confinement measures. Many MSMEs have suffered huge revenue losses while others have shut down.

MSMEs’ smaller size allows them to be flexible and adapt to new environments such as the one created by COVID-19.

Not only can they help overcome previous constraints related to lack of productive capacities and economic diversification in many low-income countries but also enhance a strong and sustainable recovery.

Unleashing entrepreneurial potential

The summit’s participants shared good practices on enhancing the role of entrepreneurship and MSMEs, with a special focus on UNCTAD’s Empretec programme, which relies on a unique behavioural approach for entrepreneurship capacity development.

UNCTAD’s head of enterprise, Tatiana Krylova, said the Empretec methodology aims to identify, then unleash the personal entrepreneurial potential of each participant of the programme through behavioural change.

This includes assessing individual differences in a person’s desire to achieve excellence in entrepreneurship and fostering capacity through an interactive training approach. She said Empretec is a “4U” programme – “unleashing, unique, universal and uniting.”

Ms. Krylova said: “During the pandemic, Empretec has continued proving itself as one of most impactful means to facilitate and boost entrepreneurship.”

She encouraged more entrepreneurs and MSMEs to join the programme in their respective countries to facilitate their contribution to post-COVID-19 recovery in the MSME sector.

How countries are supporting small businesses

Nigeria’s minister of state for industry, trade and investment, Mariam Katagum, said her country is supporting MSMEs through grants to address their financing needs.

“Supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs and boosting our economy,” Ms. Katagum said.

She said Nigeria recently revised its national policy on MSMEs to strengthen their resilience in the face of the pandemic, adding that more policy frameworks were in the pipeline to support startups in the digital economy.

Other high-level panelists related good practices and lessons learned from Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay, noting Empretec’s important contribution in their respective countries.

“Empretec is undoubtedly a transformative experience, a milestone in the lives of many,” said Bruno Quick, the technical director of Brazil’s micro and small business support service agency, SEBRAE.

Amid the pandemic, he said, the programme has continued to prove that through entrepreneur behaviour, it’s possible to promote entrepreneurship and help small businesses find opportunities in high-risk environments.

Entrepreneurs’ experiences

The event included an interactive session with entrepreneurs from the Empretec network, who shared their success stories during COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 caused us heavy losses because we couldn’t access our farm due to movement restrictions,” said Bosun Solarin, who runs Dasun Integrated Farms Ltd, an agroprocessing firm in Nigeria.

She explained how she adapted to the new normal after the pandemic by tapping into digital technologies and creating demand for her products.

Brazil’s Agda Oliver said during the country’s lockdown women in business were significantly more affected than men. She emphasized the importance of personal entrepreneurial competencies cultivated by the Empretec programme in boosting her resilience.

The summit also saw Empretec directors and graduates from Angola, Benin, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Romania and Russia explain how the Empretec methodology helped them emerge stronger from the pandemic. 


Mariam Katagum

FG to support MSMEs contribution to economy to boost development – Minister

The Minister said that the FG has schemes aimed at improving the post-pandemic climate for MSMEs in Nigeria.

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The Federal Government declared that it is working with stakeholders to improve MSME participation in the economy through improving the business climate which will create jobs.

This was disclosed by Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, at the 7th EMPRETEC Global Summit,  on Tuesday, themed “The Role of Entrepreneurship, MSME and EMPRETEC in post-COVID-19 Resurgence.”

The Minister stated that the MSME sector of the economy is the growth engine of any economy which contributes to its development, job creation and export, amongst others.

“An MSMEs survey indicates that Nigeria’s SMEs contribute nearly 50 percent of the country’s GDP and account for over 80 percent of employment. No doubt, the sector is pivotal to Nigeria’s growth, including reducing poverty and unemployment levels.

It has, therefore, become more apparent that supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting our economy.

This is why the Government is working with stakeholders across all sectors, to create the enabling environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to ensure that they grow now and into the future,” she stated.

On Economic Sustainability

The Minister said that the FG has schemes aimed at improving the post-pandemic climate for SMEs in Nigeria. She also disclosed that the FG launched the National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), a framework for the resolution of the challenges faced by the sector.

The programmes launched by the FG includes the Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes, operated by a Steering Committee in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

“The Government of Nigeria had, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, initiated the MSMEs Clinics scheme as a strategy, aimed at providing support for the MSMEs in the country.

At the clinics, operators in the MSMEs space are engaged by regulators and business advisory experts, on issues ranging from entrepreneurship, skill development, finance, quality & standards, and on how to facilitate and grow their businesses and enterprises,” she added.

What you should know 

Nigeria’s unemployment rate as of the end of 2020 rose to 33.3% from 27.1% recorded as of Q2 2020, indicating that about 23,187,389 (23.2 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.

A combination of both the unemployment and underemployment rate for the reference period gave a figure of 56.1%. This means that 33.3% of the labour force in Nigeria or 23,187,389 persons either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed by our definition in Nigeria.


Business recovery

Business recovery interventions SMEs should explore

POST-COVID business recovery interventions SMEs should explore in 2021

There is no gainsaying what the coronavirus pandemic did in global socio-economic realities. What is also irrefutable is that small business have been the worse hit amongst the victims’ rollcalls.

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Beyond the economic uncertainty challenging a sustainable business environment, there was also the ravaging impact of the pandemic on healthcare that slowed productivity, hampered manpower and piled pressure on the unemployment scourge.

A steadily rising inflation now peaked at over 18% in April 2021, coupled with an economy that dipped into recession and back, acerbated by violent civil unrest and insecurities that slowed pan-Nigerian logistics, the Nigerian small business proponents have experienced a perfect storm.

According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) remain critical to the country’s economy, contributing about 48% of the national GDP in the last five years and accounted for 84% of the national workforce.

Despite these contributions to the Nigerian economy, SMEs continue to face growth-hampering challenges such as lack of access to funding, skilled human resources, high cost of doing business, among others. These existing conditions already posit a challenging environment for SMEs to thrive; the pandemic’s entry into the equation will surely heighten their difficulties and slow their capacity to bounce back from this economic pandemic.

According to a survey by FATE Foundation and Budgit on the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerian on small businesses, 94.3% said the pandemic adversely disrupted their operations. 72.2% said the pandemic impacted their cash-flow; 67.8% said their sales went south, and 59.2% said their revenue took a hit.

In tackling what may be the most challenging global health and economic crises of our time, the instinctive response would expectedly tilt towards immediate needs such as health, food, security, and jobs. However, there is an urgent need to prioritise interventions for the SME sector – the backbone of major developing economies.

We have identified three existing business interventions that SMEs in Nigeria should leverage to recover from the pandemic’s overwhelming effect. These interventions and programmes include:

  • The Federal Government MSME Survival Fund: A couple of months ago, the FG launched the Survival Fund Programme targeted at individual artisans and small businesses. The Survival Fund Programme ( is part of the Economic Sustainability Plan, which aims to support and protect businesses from the potential vulnerabilities brought by the COVID 19 pandemic.The programme categorised into Payroll Support, Guaranteed Offtake, and MSME grant, is designed to provide a cushioning effect to business owners’ pain points. With the Payroll Support, business owners are assisted in paying employees; the Guaranteed Offtake helps businesses kickstart or rebuild, while the MSME Grant provided free funding for badly hit MSMEs. The programme is opened to any Nigerian with a running business (either registered or not registered).
  • LSETF MSME Loan Programmes: The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) was established with a core mandate to tackle unemployment, promote job creation, entrepreneurship, and skills development in the state. The Loan Programme, one of its intervention vehicles, provides access to affordable funding for small business entrepreneurs. 


Working Conditions

Covid-19: Working Conditions Still Precarious

Covid-19: Despite Easing Lockdown, Working Conditions Of Nigerians Still Precarious-NBS

Despite the easing of Covid-19 lockdown, working conditions of most organisations have remained precarious as they battle the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic.

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According to the National Bureau of Statistics report titled, ‘COVID-19 impact monitoring report’ for November/December 2020, business activities in the non-farm enterprise sector suggests people’s working situations remain precarious.

Recall, as at July, 2020, Nigeria had completed the three phases of its gradual easing of the COVID-19 lockdown, with the reopening of airports for local flights.

The report showed that about 17 percent of households who had non-farm businesses during 2020 were not operating their business in December 2020.

It stated, “Of these, 61 per cent (11 per cent of all households with non-farm businesses) had also been closed for at least one month between June and November 2020.

“Moreover, just 23 per cent of households with non-farm businesses in 2020 operated them continuously since the peak of restrictions in April/May.”

It showed that the share of respondents who were working remained around pre-crisis levels in December 2020.

However, it stated that the agricultural sector has proved to be a resilient source of income for most Nigerians, as households involved in farming activities recorded increased income from crop sales in 2020/21 as food prices soar.

There was also an 80 percent increase in the share of households participating in crop-related farm work between the 2019 and 2020 agricultural seasons.


Manufacturing sector

Investment in Nigeria’s manufacturing sector down 76% on COVID-19

The Nigerian manufacturing sector is still reeling from the effect of COVID-19 as investment inflow into the sector declined by 76 percent in 2020, according to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN)

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In its H2 economic review, MAN revealed that in 2020, manufacturing investments dropped to N118.52 billion representing a 76 percent decline when compared to the N496.11 billion achieved in 2019.

The decline was attributed primarily to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic which disrupted economic activities globally and locally.

“Manufacturing investment declined in the period following the depressing fallouts from COVID-19 that gave no impetus for new investments in the sector,” the report states

According to MAN, in H1’2020, the sector recorded investment inflow of N62.08 billion, which was a 74 percent decline from the N248.45 billion achieved in H1 2019. In the second half of the year, investments further dipped by 78 percent to N56.44 billion from N257.66 billion realised in the same period of 2019.

The drop in investments also affected the overall performance of the sector, especially as many manufacturing firms were forced to either suspend or shut down operations during the period under review, thereby reducing the number of players in the sector.

“At the moment and following the impact of COVID-19 on productivity, the sector is at the lowest and therefore requires deliberate action to rekindle significant productive activities” the report added.

Emanating from China, the world’s manufacturing powerhouse and Nigeria’s largest trading partner, especially for manufacturing inputs, the COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt stop in the supply of raw materials, goods, tools, and machinery for manufacturing companies which forced many of them to suspend business operations.

Furthermore, Brent crude oil which serves as the major provider of the country‘s FX experienced a historic fall during this period, reaching a two-decade low in April at $15.98 a barrel. This drop triggered the prevailing FX shortage and also caused the naira to be greatly devalued thereby impeding the procurement operations of local manufacturers.

Consequently, after two years of consecutive growth, the sector glided to a negative terrain in 2020 with -2.75 percent, which is also the worst experienced since 2016 when the Nigerian economy entered into recession according to the GDP data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The sector’s contribution to GDP as well dropped to 8.99 percent in full-year 2020 as against the 11.64 percent it achieved in 2019.

Furthermore, with Nigeria ranking 131st out of 190 countries surveyed on the 2020 World Bank’s ease of doing business index, business experts assert that due to the recurrent challenges in Nigeria’s business environment and insecurity challenges, investors are forced to take flight for the proverbial greener path, scaring away prospective investors.

Experts, however, believe that investment inflow will improve in the medium to long term following the partial border reopening and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

“The reopening of the land borders should provide succor to the manufacturing sector even as the kick-off of AfCFTA serves as an avenue for manufacturers to penetrate new African markets and for investors to flood the market” Jide Babatope, Lagos-based analyst said.

Beyond the decline in investments, manufacturers suffered a decline in the volume of demand for causing an uptick in the inventory of unsold goods. This is also coming amid the surge in production and operations cost.

MAN revealed that the inventory of unsold manufactured goods in the sector increased by 44 percent to N577.61 billion in 2020 from N402.42 billion recorded in 2019.

In H1’2020, inventory of unsold goods stood at N275.39 billion and it increased significantly to N303.22 billion in the second half of the year.


MSME Capital

MSMEs: Deepening access to capital…

Deepening access to capital for Nigerian MSMEs during a pandemic

While Nigeria has, so far, seemingly been spared the public health onslaught created by COVID-19, the country has not escaped the urgent economic crisis created by the pandemic.

READ ALSO: First trade deficit in 4yrs as COVID hurts exports

Worse, hardest hit have been the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), whose operations are largely traditional and dependent on physical contact with their consumers and partners.

Over 40 million MSMEs exist in Nigeria, employing over 80 percent of the country’s population and contributing about 50 percent of the country’s GDP. Now, the biggest threat to the survival of these businesses central to the economy lies in their physical approach to interacting and transacting, which has left them unprepared to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization as well as vulnerable to the lockdowns and distancing measures intended to stave off the health crisis.

Financial exclusion—especially among micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector— was a national concern even before COVID-19 made in-person interactions hazardous. To address this issue, prior to the pandemic (as far back as 2017, in fact), large-scale microcredit interventions such as the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program—in which the Bank of Industry (BOI) participates—have been targeting four economic segments—market traders, artisans, youth, and farmers—for increased financial inclusion. Technology has been key: By leveraging the power of data, biometrics, and mobile wallet systems, and with an extensive network of over 17,000 agents, BOI has been able to identify, target, and deliver micro-credit to over 2.4 million MSMEs across Nigeria. Remarkably, over 52 percent of the beneficiaries are female. In the process, the bank has onboarded an additional 500,000 beneficiaries onto the formal financial system—essentially using technology to break the barrier of access to finance and financial services for underserved demographics.

At the onset of the pandemic, our bank’s immediate objective was to ensure business continuity by deepening our MSME activities through the provision of innovative lending solutions to new customers. Through our microcredit platform, BOI’s agent network—spread across the country—operate as proxies enabling beneficiaries to efficiently interact with technology and have their businesses captured and digitized in records. These agents, equipped with smartphones loaded with the bank’s data-driven applications, engage informal entrepreneurs by capturing their Know-Your-Customer details, profiling their business, tracking transaction histories, and monitoring income and spending patterns—thus providing financial solutions tailor-made to boost financial literacy, improve credit worthiness, and support their micro-businesses with funds, especially during these difficult times.



First trade deficit in 4yrs as COVID hurts exports

Nigeria records first trade deficit in 4yrs as COVID-19 hurts exports

Africa’s largest oil producer posted a N7 trillion trade deficit in 2020, with exports falling as much as 35 percent, according to data published, Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

For the first time in four years, Nigeria’s trade position was negative in 2020 as the pandemic crushed oil demand and sent the revenues of oil exporting countries tumbling.

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Africa’s largest oil producer posted a N7 trillion trade deficit in 2020, with exports falling as much as 35 percent, according to data published, Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

That compares to a surplus of N2.23 trillion recorded in 2019, with imports outweighing the county’s value of export.

A trade deficit occurs when a country’s imports exceed its exports during a given time period.

When that happens, the said country is denied the gains of foreign exchange which comes from the exports of commodities to other trading countries.

The huge trade deficit largely explains why Nigeria’s naira ran into troubled waters last year as Africa’s most populous nation was starved of the needed foreign exchange that would have helped in the accretion of the external reserves, and give monetary authorities the legroom to defend the naira from falling against the dollar.

Nigeria’s trade balance stood at N32.4 trillion with imports rising 17.32 percent to N19.9 trillion in 2020 from the N16.96 trillion in 2019, while exports fell 34.75 percent to N12.5 trillion from N19.2 trillion in 2019.

The last time the country witnessed a deficit in its trade was in 2016, when a collapse in the oil market and a restiveness back home in the Niger Delta region, slowed the growth of oil exports, the country’s biggest export commodity.

At that time, Nigeria recorded a deficit of N290 billion.


MSMEs women

Govt. Cushioning the Effects of COVID-19 on MSMEs

How the Nigerian Government is Cushioning the Effects of COVID-19 on MSMEs

The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises has been overwhelming.

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According to research, over 90% of business owners agreed that they were adversely affected. Their cash flow, sales, revenue and salaries/wages took the biggest hit.
While a number of medium and small scale business owners are struggling to keep their heads above water, the resultant effect for the others is devastating. With fast depleted fund reserves, most businesses are forced to close. Employees are laid off, and business owners, disgruntled. Over 82.8 percent of businesses are likely to lay off one to five employees.

MSMEs play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic development. They are responsible for over 84 percent of job creation in the country. Therefore, a continuous decline in their sales and profit may trigger a major unemployment crisis in the country.
In order to mitigate such occurrence, the Federal Government introduced the MSME Survival Fund. It is a N75 billion conditional grant to support micro and small enterprises and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. Launched in September, 2020, the Fund is a part of ₦2.3 Trillion stimulus package, known as the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).

The MSME Survival Fund Scheme has the following categories:
• Payroll Support: assist vulnerable MSMEs in meeting payroll obligations of between ₦30,000 – ₦50,000 per employee over 3 months.
• Artisans/Transport Workers Support: provide artisans and transport business operators with ₦30,000.
• Guaranteed Off-take Scheme: Bulk purchase of products from MSMEs to protect jobs and livelihood.
• General Grant: Support the survival of 100,000 MSMEs most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Formalization Support: Provide free CAC Business Name registration for 250,000 new businesses.

The program actively promotes gender inclusion – with 45% of the fund going to women-owned businesses.
Since the start of the program till date, the MSME Survival Fund has achieved the following results:
• Provided Payroll Support of between ₦30,000 – ₦50,000 for 3 months to 320,678 employees from 64,395 companies across 36 states and the FCT.
• Given one-time grant of ₦30,000 to 96,157 artisans and transport workers in 36 states and the FCT.
• Provided free business registration with CAC for 140,531 bMSMEs across the country.
Several beneficiaries across the country are thankful to the government for providing this timely intervention.

Mrs Nwodo Uche, the CEO of Andertek Global Roofing Ventures in Lagos State had this to say: “When one of our staff received her first payment from the Payroll Support, she was so elated because we had not been able to pay salaries for some months. It was really a welcome relief for us as a business and for our employees. The payments our staff received for three months seriously helped to cushion the effects of the pandemic. Our gratitude goes to the Federal Government for remembering small businesses in these trying times.”

Mallam Usman Ibrahim who is into fruit production in Kano State shared his experience: “I heard about the Survival Fund from one of my friends. I had to ask one of my staff to help us apply online and upload all our documents. I had ten employees before but I had to downsize to five, due to the effects of COVID-19. When we received our first payment in November, all my staff were so happy. We continued to receive the payments in December and January. It has helped us so much. Sales has now picked up this year and we can now afford to pay our staff again. I am grateful to the government for helping us, just at the time we needed it.”

Mrs Victoria Jashi, the head of Goodnews School in Gombe State was effusive in her praise for the government’s timely intervention: “We really thank the Federal Government for their help. Schools were not open for a long time and it affected our ability to pay salaries. The Payroll Support allowed us to register 10 employees which is the maximum per organization, although we had a staff strength of 52 employees. Every month that we received the payroll support, we brought all the funds together and shared it among all the staff. We just wanted everyone to partake of the benefits.”



CBN extends forbearance for intervention loans by another 12 months

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of its regulatory forbearance for the restructuring of its intervention facilities by another 12 months.

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In a circular signed by Dr. Kevin Amugo, the Director of Financial Policy and Regulatory. the apex bank said it will continue to charge its borrowers an interest rate of 5% per annum as against the 9% originally offered.

The CBN had on March 20th reduced the interest rates on its intervention loans from 9% to 5% as part of its response to the economic crunch brought on by Covid-19 induced lockdowns.

The banking sector regulator also offered to rollover moratorium granted on all principal payments on a case by case basis. All credit facilities had been granted a one-year moratorium starting from march 1, 2020 when the pandemic first gripped Nigeria.

Below is excerpt from the circular:

“The Central Bank of Nigeria reduced the interest rates on the CBN intervention facilities from 9% to 5% per annum for one-year effective March 1, 2020, as part of measures to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Nigerian economy.”

Credit facilities, availed through participating banks and OFIs, were also granted a one-year moratorium on all principal payments with effect from March 1, 2020.

Following the expiration of the above timelines, the CBN hereby approves as follows:
1) The extension by another twelve (12) months to February 28, 2022 of the discounted interest rate for the CBN intervention facilities;

2) The roll-over of the moratorium on the above facilities shall be considered on a case by case basis.


Covid Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Nigeria

In line with the Global effort to exterminate the novel coronavirus disease which took the world by storm, the World Health organizations, have begun to send vaccines across the nations of the earth, to ensure that all are vaccinated from the deadly disease.

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Nigeria has received nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, shipped from the COVAX Facility, a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO.

COVAX shipped 3.94 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, arrived from Mumbai to Abuja around 11.30 am.“Nigeria has just received the first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID—19 vaccine,” presidential aide Bashir Ahmad tweeted.

According to a statement from the United Nations in Nigeria, the arrival marked a historic step towards the goal to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally and also the first wave of the distribution.

UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said, “The UN Country Team in Nigeria reiterates its commitment to support the vaccination campaign in Nigeria and help contain the spread of the virus.

“The arrival of these vaccines in Abuja today marks a milestone for the COVAX Facility in its
unprecedented effort to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally by the end of 2021.”

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency had said it would commence the vaccination of Nigerians in priority groups, starting with frontline healthcare workers.

“This is a landmark moment for the country and the COVAX Facility’s mission to help end the acute phase of the pandemic by enabling equitable access to these vaccines across the world. We are glad to see Nigeria is amongst the first to receive the doses from COVAX.

Thanks to the excellent level of preparedness put in place by the Government of Nigeria,” Managing Director for Country Programmes at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Thabani Maphosa, added.

“Gavi looks forward to these vaccines being made available to the people most at risk, as soon as possible, and to ensuring that routine immunization services for other life-threatening infections are also delivered to avoid other disease outbreaks.”

Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Representative in Nigeria, said, “It is heart-warming to witness this epoch-making event and WHO wishes to congratulate the government of Nigeria for its participation in the global vaccine collaboration (COVAX) efforts and its commitment to protecting Nigerians against this pandemic.