From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
As businesses in Nigeria and across the globe continue to grapple with economic challenges and setbacks caused by coronavirus pandemic, a public finance expert, Dr. Greg Ugochukwu Ezeilo, has proffered solutions on how organisations can revitalize their operations and bounce back to profitability quickly.
According to him, some of the survival strategies include digitization of business operations, right-sizing of staff and outsourcing of certain functions, adding renegotiating wages of staff, adaptation to the dictates of the new normal and close collaboration with key stakeholders as other solutions.
Ezeilo, a consultant to thr House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN) spoke in a webinar organised recently by Team Bronze, a think-tank group from Igbo-Ukwu, a historical town in Anambra State.
The webinar which had the topic ”Business Recovery and Survival Strategies in Post Pandemic,” is the second in series organised by the group driven by the overarching goal of championing the wholesome development of their community and the Nigerian state in general.
Ezeilo emphasised that the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow on the world economy, with the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracting by 7.7 per cent, while Nigeria’s GDP shrunk by 5.3 per cent.
He posited that COVID-19 pushed many Nigerians into abject poverty and misery, warning that the devastating effect on local and world economies might remain for a long while.
He regretted that key industries in Nigeria have remained shut since March 2020 when the pandemic broke out, noting that it resulted in the closure of several small businesses and loss of jobs for thousands of persons.
Dwelling on business revival, Ezeilo advised promoters of organizations to consider profitable new ventures, mentioning some of them to include the agricultural value chain, transportation, food stuff and groceries, bakery and confectionary as well as commodity brokerage.
Other tips include deciding if the company’s workforce should operate remotely or in physical offices, exploring new sources of finance and ensuring optimal customer service and care.
He further disclosed that the federal government had floated the Survival Fund, a funding scheme that will support micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to overcome the challenges of COVID-19. He advised businesses to examine the criteria for accessing the fund and take advantage of the opportunity.
He listed a few other sources of low cost funding for MSMEs to include Renmoney, Green Stallion, NIRSAL MFB and Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Speaking further, Ezeilo identified innovation and technology as a smart technique for reviving businesses, stressing the need to move from brick and mortar business to online business.
He said: “Whatever business or trade you are engaged in, you need to embrace technology.”
According to him, other benefits of taking business online include increased sales, brand promotion, being in touch with customers across round the clock, world-wide delivery of goods and services, cost reduction and convenience.
Team Bronze is coordinated by Emeka Igwilo, while other members include Barr. Chigbo Okafor, Obinna Ezeobi, Ms. Tina Ifedigbonma, Barr. Tochukwu Ejeziem, Humphrey Obikwelu and Barr. Arinze Okamelu.
The group held its first webinar on July 23, 2020, which featured a United States based medical doctor, Dr. Azubike Ezeife, on the theme, “Face to face with COVID-19: A personal Experience.”