For every Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that want to survive the coronavirus pandemic, it is essential for them to source raw materials locally, Ugodre Obi-Chukwu, the founder of Nairametrics, has advised.
This is particularly essential as the foreign exchange will remain volatile for a long while after the pandemic, affecting businesses that depend on imported materials for their productions.
Ugodre suggested this while speaking during an Instagram live session with Ore Ajayi of United Capital Plc, themed “Hedging your business with the right investments post-COVID-19.”
According to Ugodre, the volatility of the foreign exchange could lead to increased costs of productions for businesses, making it even more difficult for them to retain their market share in an economy that is battling a COVID-19 induced depression.
“Before COVID-19, we were in a difficult position as a country. Government revenue was down. Oil prices had started falling from late 2019. We had an economy where the government could not fund the budget and had to resort to borrowing,” he explained.
Ugodre suggested that the purchase of foreign exchange could be explored, but investment in dollar assets, foreign stocks and bonds would be better options to help businesses cushion the impact of rising inflation and depreciation of the naira. Ugodre, however, placed a caveat:
“While keeping a healthy mix of dollar and naira assets, try not to buy foreign exchange above 20% premium of the official price. This gives you enough room to protect your funds and reduce risks.”
Renegotiate loans and stay liquid
As things get tougher in post-COVID-19, it will become expedient for businesses to stay liquid and set aside some funds for emergencies.
Ugodre advised SMEs to consider renegotiating loan repayment terms with bank partners so that the facilities are not repaid at the expense of staying afloat.
He also suggested that SMEs could approach commercial banks, or the Bank of Industry for loans to keep them afloat, at reduced interest rates.
Use tech-driven investment platforms
At a time when the world is gravitating towards technology, SMEs must consider tech-driven investment platforms to run and manage their investments.
Responding to the question of platforms to explore, Ore Ajayi, the session host, noted that SMEs and individual investors have to move from looking for walk-in investment platforms and explore digitally-driven platforms.
“You must leverage technology for your investment needs. Platforms such as Invest now, which is powered by United Capital, could be a great one to leverage on at this time,” he said.
Investments to look out for
Ugodre emphasized also that as the business owners try to hedge their businesses with investments, they must look out for risks, returns on investments, time-frame of investments, and background of the issuers.
“Tread carefully in your investments. Picture the world 10 years from now, and imagine what businesses would look like then. Let that guide your investments. Those who identify this are those who will win,” he stated.
Covid-19: UK to approve Pfizer, BioTNech vaccine, to start immunization December 7
The UK government is set to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc next week.
The global reception of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc in collaboration with BioNTech following the positive outcome of its phase 3 trial, seems to have intensified as it is set for approval by the UK medical regulator.
According to Reuters, a report from Financial Times on Saturday suggests that deliveries would commence within hours of the authorization with the first immunizations using the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine possibly taking place from December 7.
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had earlier in the day, named Nadhim Zahawi, who is the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.
The UK government has placed an order for 40 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which has been found to be 95% effective in the final analysis of the phase 3 trials in preventing the spread of a virus that has killed over 1.4 million people across the world with its devastating impact on the global economy.
The UK government had on November 20, formally asked its medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to conduct a study of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with a view to determining its suitability, the first step in making it available outside the United State
The government which had secured 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford had also asked the regulator on Friday to assess the vaccine for a possible rollout before Christmas.
What you should know: The US drugmaker, Pfizer Inc, on November 18, 2020, announced that a final analysis of clinical-trial data of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, which it is developing in collaboration with BioTNech, showed it was 95% effective, thereby paving the way for the company to apply for the first U.S. regulatory authorization for a coronavirus shot.
Pfizer said they had no serious safety concerns in a trial that involves almost 44,000 participants as their vaccine protected people of all ages and ethnicities.
It’s highly speculative to deny the coronavirus started in China – WHO
The WHO has stated that it can not categorically say that the coronavirus disease did not emanate from China, where reports first emerged.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it would be highly speculative for the UN health agency to say that the coronavirus disease did not emanate from China, where it was first identified in a food market in December 2019.
According to a report from Reuters, this statement was made by WHO’s Executive Director, Mike Ryan, at a virtual briefing in Geneva, on Friday, November 27, 2020, after he was asked if the coronavirus disease could have emerged outside China.
China, which has tried to dispel the idea that the virus first originated in the country, is pushing a narrative through state media that the virus existed abroad before it was discovered in the central city of Wuhan, citing the presence of coronavirus on imported frozen food packaging and scientific papers.
It claimed that it had been circulating in Europe last year before it was later discovered in China.
Mike Ryan, at the briefing, said, “I think it’s highly speculative for us to say that the disease did not emerge in China. It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigations where the human cases first emerged. Evidence might then lead to other places.”
He still emphasized that the WHO intended to send researchers to the Wuhan food market to probe the virus’s origins further.
What you should know
In the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization had constituted a team of experts to travel to China and work with their Chinese counterparts to identify the source of the virus.
The US government has been very critical of WHO as regards its handling of the health crisis, accusing them of being complicit and colluding with China in the mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 27th of November 2020, 246 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 67,220 confirmed cases.
On the 27th of November 2020, 246 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,101 samples across the country.
To date, 67,220 cases have been confirmed, 62,686 cases have been discharged and 1,171 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 756,237 tests have been carried out as of November 27th, 2020 compared to 749,136 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 27th November 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 67,220
- Total Number Discharged – 62,686
- Total Deaths – 1,171
- Total Tests Carried out – 756,237
According to the NCDC, the 246 new cases are reported from 10 states- Lagos (81), FCT (73), Plateau(39), Kaduna (25), Ogun (13), Bauchi (5), Rivers (4) Ekiti (2), Taraba (2) and Kano (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,164, followed by Abuja (6,744), Plateau (3,852), Oyo (3,721), Kaduna (3,044), Rivers (2,973), Edo (2,696), Ogun (2,215), Delta (1,824), Kano (1,791), Ondo (1,728), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,096), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,014), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (770), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (488), Bayelsa (445), Ekiti (359), Akwa Ibom (339), Jigawa (331), Niger (296), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (159), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.