The Coronavirus crisis has affected most businesses and industries in Kano State with operators struggling for survival, a HumAngle investigation has revealed.
Operators in some markets within Kano municipality said businesses were suffering with poor patronage by individuals and the government.
Abdullahi Lawan Mai Goro, Chairman Mai Goro Textile Nigeria Investment, Kwari Market, said, “The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected the economy of Kano State and the world entirely.
“Currently, due to COVID-19, Kano State economy has lost business visitors, most especially our customers from China.
“COVID-19 has run our businesses into debts, most of our customers cannot pay us their debts and most businesses are failing.
“Currently, there are no customers. Before the coronavirus pandemic, around 7a.m. the market was full of activities. But now, the situation is different as businesses are market activities are gradually restarting.”
Ahmad Abdullahi Ibrahim, a businessman at Kofar Wamba Market, who sells plastics, said there was no more huge flow of business in Kano State because customers’ patronage was very low.
The most worrisome part of it is the lack of interstate customers coming to do business at the market, he said.
Ibrahim added that many businesses had collapsed as their owners lacked the capital to continue because of COVID-19, especially those who used loans to establish.
Alhaji Sa’idu Dattijo Adhama, Founder and Chairman, Adhama Textile Nigerian Limited, Kano, said businesses had been failing before the COVID-19 outbreak.
He said many did not understand their business environment and as such faced crises and the collapse of their businesses.
“ I was one of the revivers of operations in Abubakar Rimi Market known as Sabon Gari Market in Kano after the ethnic and religious crisis in Kano State,” Adhama said.
He explained that after the review, activities at the market were restricted to 6a.m. to 7p.m., adding that the exercise reduced attendance from one million to 250,000 people daily and also affected revenue generation for the state.
“However, before my tenure ended as the Chairman of Abubakar Rimi Market, I tried my best to revive the economic status of the market through increased patronage by customers.
“Closure of markets during the coronavirus pandemic has caused disasters for businessmen and we, the industrialists.
“My industry (Adhama Textile Nigerian Limited) has over 100 labourers, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, we reduced the level of production because the government only offers us the privilege of working with just 15 labourers daily which is very low compared to the large production expected daily.
“The novel coronavirus has taught us a lesson, realising that the Kano State government has no interest in the development of businesses and industries because the government does not patronise our products and electricity supply is very poor.
“We are pleading to the government to adopt a proper business policy in Kano because for over 21 years we have been agitating for the implementation of business in Kano state,” he said.
Mr Chinedu Afunanya, a petty businessman at Sabon Gari Market, Kano, said, “Before the outbreak of coronavirus, business activities were moving fine but now, as market activities are gradually coming back, things are not yet normal.
“Now we find it hard to get customers and it has affected our daily feeding as well. We all pray that things will be return to normal.”
Ruth Ejwueye also in Sabon Gari, said, “Coronavirus has affected my business badly, because there is low turnout of customers for patronage as there is no money.
“The high cost of transportation is one of the major problems affecting interstate products’ conveyance. For instance, I cannot buy goods from Lagos State again due to the spike in transportation cost. Even if I buy, customers won’t buy due to high cost. There is no more profit in business.”
Yahya Garba Shawai, a businessman from Kwari Market, said:
“The coronavirus crisis has made us spend most of our business capitals.
“COVID-19 has affected both small businesses and industries in because most of us doing petty business have no much capital in our business.
“ Even some industries that sometimes give us goods on credit have increased their prices thereby making it very difficult for us to sell.”
The Chairman of Sabon Gari Market Elders Committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Danyaro, said the most affected were small businesses, adding, “only God knows how they are running their day to day lives.
“Many of them are indebted and cannot pay their debts.
“Most companies have also increased prices and the price of commodities have skyrocketed , especially rice.”
Danyaro said rice was currently more expensive in the hands of farmers because the government did not do what was expected of it.
He said all categories of businessmen in Kano had suffered, including the aviation and marine transportation sectors through which goods were brought into the country.
Meanwhile, Dr Abdurrazaq Ibrahim, an economist and lecturer with Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, noted that
“Nigeria was in recession in the second quarter of the year before the coronavirus pandemic.
Reopening businesses is one way government can revive the economy, but the challenge for most traders and small scale businessmen the lack of capital, he said.
Ibrahim also said devaluing the naira was one of the option but pointed out that the measure would cause inflation because government was using more than 90 per cent of its earnings on debt servicing.