Examining the Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic on Small and Medium Scale Business Enterprises in Ng’ombe, Lusaka, Zambia
Keywords:Examining, Effect, Covid-19, Small and Medium Enterprises, Ng’ombe, Lusaka
The study's main objective was to examine the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium scale businesses (SMEs) in Ng’ombe, Lusaka. The study's specific objectives were to highlight the effect of COVID-19 lockdown measures on the performance of SME businesses; to ascertain the effect of COVID-19 on the financial performance of SMEs business, to determine the level of relief provided by the government to the SMEs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The study collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Using the purposive sampling technique, 98 SMEs were sampled from Ng’ombe Township (out of the 4,500 list of registered SMEs in Lusaka for 2018). Ninety eight (98) questionnaires in all were distributed. Descriptive statistics were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Service Solutions (SPSS), while qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis. According to study results, 46.3% of participants said that significant decrease in the number of customers or orders was the biggest effect of lockdown measures on the performance of their businesses. Furthermore, the field survey data revealed that 42.1% of participants indicated that there was a 40% reduction in revenues as the biggest effect of covid-19 on financial performance of SME businesses. On the other hand, the survey data revealed that 90.5% of participants indicated they have not received any governmental assistance as business mitigative relief. This analysis clearly shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is doing more significant damage to businesses than good. Despite the "COVID-19 relief packages" offered by the Zambian government in the form of the K10 billion ($434 million) financial stimulus package as a temporary fix to aid SMEs, awareness and accessibility remained difficult because of the complicated accessibility requirements. The following recommendations were arrived at: Promoting SMEs access to digital market. In this environment, businesses may carry on with their operations and conduct business with customers without worrying about contracting an infection through direct contact. The Government needs to review monetary and fiscal policy measures, ensure effective and efficient palliative measures are established by the government, NGOs and organizations.