COVID-19 PANDEMIC CHALLENGES TO MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN NIGERIA: STRATEGIC OPTIONS FOR SURVIVAL
COVID-19 Pandemic posed a great threat and challenges to the business world, especially the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Many of these enterprises suffered a great downturn in business activities and reduction in profit volume. Many of them were forced to close down while others survived on the margin. The government and other stakeholders in the MSMEs have provided solutions to their problems but most of them have not really yielded the desired result. This paper investigates the challenges that MSMEs in Lagos State encountered as well as the strategic options for their survival during the Covid-19 Pandemic era. A survey research design was adopted and primary data were collected with the help of questionnaire. The population of study was 3,224,324 registered MSMEs in Lagos State, while the sample size of 400 was determined with Yamane (1967) formulae. A simple random sampling technique has been employed to administer 400 copies of questionnaire out of which 297 were properly filled and returned. The findings from the regression analysis and the descriptive statistics revealed that there is no significant effect of MSMEs Covid-19 challenges (such as: decline in productivity, business closure, supply chain breakdown, low customer demand, reduction in profit volume, self-isolation, reduced opportunities to meet new clients) on business survival. Also, it was revealed that most of the respondents adopted cutting expenses as a strategic option for the survival of their businesses. However, the study concluded that Covid-19 Pandemic is a major threat to MSMEs survival and growth. It was recommended that MSMEs should embark on cutting expenses in order to survive Covid-19 and further, they should embrace crisis management response, finance and liquidity, operation and supply chain, determine and activate the business continuity plan, monitor the implementation to enhance their survival and readjust their response approach towards environmental changes.