Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on micro, small, and medium-sized Enterprises operating in Pakistan

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has severely affected the global and Pakistani economy. Major victims of the COVID-19 outbreak are micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). This article aims to assess the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on these businesses and provide policy recommendations to help MSMEs in reducing business losses and survive through the crisis. We adopted an exploratory methodology with comprehensively reviewing the available literature, including policy documents, research papers, and reports in the relevant field. Further, to add empirical evidence, we collected data from 184 Pakistani MSMEs by administering an online questionnaire. The data were analyzed through descriptive statistics. The results indicate that most of the participating enterprises have been severely affected and they are facing several issues such as financial, supply chain disruption, decrease in demand, reduction in sales and profit, among others. Besides, over 83% of enterprises were neither prepared nor have any plan to handle such a situation. Further, more than two-thirds of participating enterprises reported that they could not survive if the lockdown lasts more than two months. The findings of our study are consistent with previous studies. Based on the results of the research, different policy recommendations were proposed to ease the adverse effects of the outbreak on MSMEs. Although our suggested policy recommendations may not be sufficient to help MSMEs go through the ongoing crisis, these measures will help them weather the storm.

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