Despite the uncertainties in the economy, Coronation Merchant Bank remains optimistic that there are yet investment opportunities in Nigeria’s economy. This was disclosed by a team of analysts at the Coronation Breakfast Session, tagged “Discovering the New Normal: Impact of COVID-19 and Collapse of Oil Prices” that held recently in Lagos.
The breakfast session which held via an online video conferencing platform had in attendance business executives from various sectors of the economy. While giving his opening remarks, the Managing Director of the Bank, Banjo Adegbohungbe stated that:
“There is a new reality that has enveloped the whole world and Nigeria is not immune to these changes. These are very uncertain times and our intention is to provide clarity. We believe this is the most critical thing organizations need to navigate their path forward in this unchartered terrain.”
Head, Research, Coronation Asset Management, Guy Czartoryski, analysed the shifts in economic power that the COVID-19 pandemic and the fall in oil prices are bringing to the world and outlined what Nigerian companies need to do about them. According to the research expert, China will grow by over 10% over the two years 2020 and 2021, gaining ground over the US and Europe while in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya will move ahead.
“In terms of the real sector, manufacturing is just about still growing, it had 0.4% Y-O-Y growth in the first quarter of the year. However, the impact of the shortage of raw materials on the supply side as well as reduced consumer expenditure on the demand side may ultimately result in a recession for the sector,” he said.
On the impact of the twin crises of COVID-19 and low oil prices on the Nigerian economy, COVID-19 looks like the lesser threat. Although there are many uncertainties around the spread of the disease, one asset Nigeria has is its youth, with 93% of its population under the age of 55 and 62% under 25. It appears that the disease strikes hardest those who are elderly and with pre-existing medical conditions.
Oil prices are rallying at the moment, with Brent crude up to $35.0/bbl from its lows of under $20.0/bbl in early April. However, there is no certainty about oil prices later this year, and we know that the nation’s finances work best when Brent crude is trading over $50.0/bbl. So, it is prudent to think about how to conduct business during a period of prolonged low oil prices, just in case oil prices do not reach $50.0/bbl soon.
Commenting on how businesses can hedge their exchange risk in the current business environment, Iyobosa Sorae, Treasurer of the Bank said:
“Businesses can go into a bi-lateral forward agreement with either a bank or an exporter to close forward transaction. This way, they can mitigate their exchange rate risk by agreeing on a forward rate and settling against that rate on a pre-determined date. In addition to this, the Central Bank of Nigeria has worked so hard, especially when you consider the NDF platform that has been put in place for the market. All of this was to take into consideration, ways by which we can mitigate exchange rate risk when FDIs and corporates inflow their funds into the country. So, what we have seen is that the window – in terms of the maturity bucket – for the NDF transactions has been extended further to about five years for loans and FDIs while import related transactions have been extended to about thirteen months.”
On interest rates, the research expert was of the view that one might expect a time of pressure on the currency to be one when interest rates rise. But this is not the case at the moment. The rates of Nigerian treasury bills (T-bills) are around 3.0%, well below the inflation rate of 12.3%. This means that businesses are being encouraged to borrow and expand. Until when the rates go up, there are opportunities for those businesses prepared to attempt to take market share off their rivals.
“This is unlikely to be straightforward, however. With inflation running in double-digits and the rate of economic growth slowing down, the consumer is under renewed pressure. So, sales of basic foodstuffs and goods are likely to do much better than discretionary items or even high-quality branded goods. Routes to market are likely to change in many areas” he added.
Speaking also at the event, Chief Risk Officer of the Bank, Magnus Nnoka stated that: “Historically, there has always been a new normal after every pandemic. To make it to this new normal, institutions will have to pass through two phases. First is the immediate phase – which is what most businesses have gone through – which speaks to the risk managers attitude and the actions they have put in place to cope with the pandemic thus far. For the next phase, institutions are expected to continuously reappraise their business continuity actions as well as the stress test carried out so as to ensure it is appropriate for the current mode in which the business is operating. More importantly, organizations need to begin to align their risk management practices to business objectives as well as identify new opportunities in the current situation. Therefore, it is only businesses that have gone through these two phases that will be prepared for the new normal.”
Demola Adekoya, Group Head, Corporate Banking stated that: “For us, the pandemic presents an opportunity for us to further enlighten our clients as to how they can navigate these uncertain times. The Coronation breakfast session is an ongoing event that provides a platform to create significant value for our customers around major issues that impact their businesses objectives.”
About the bank: Coronation Merchant Bank was established in 2015 to provide wholesale banking to a long-underserved market. The Bank offers: Corporate and Investment Banking, Private Banking/Wealth Management and, Global Markets/Treasury Services to its niche clientele. It presently has two branches located in Abuja and Port Harcourt with its Head Office in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Bank has been the recipient of numerous International and National awards for product innovation and sound corporate governance practices. Some of the international awards it received in 2019 include Best Investment Bank in Nigeria by Global Finance, Best Investment Bank in Nigeria by World Finance, Best Investment Bank in Nigeria by Global Banking & Finance Review, Best Investment Bank by Global Business Outlook and Best Investment Bank in Nigeria by International Finance.
EduTech records First Class Nursing Graduates; Launches Education Loan Product
EduTech announces the successful induction of graduates of its Bachelor of Nursing Science programme with OAU CDL.
Nigeria’s leading provider of e-learning platforms, EduTech, has once more demonstrated the ability of its platforms to deliver a robust learning experience with the announcement of the successful induction of graduates of its Bachelor of Nursing Science programme with the Obafemi Awolowo University Center for Distance Learning (OAU CDL); with two of the graduates bagging first-class degrees.
According to Femi Shonubi, General Manger, EduTech, “We are delighted to help facilitate another batch of graduates in partnership with the OAU CDL. Coming at a time that there’s renewed focus on alternate means of studying following the Covid-19 pandemic, we are pleased to prove that e-learning platforms are not only viable in Africa but hardworking students can leverage our platforms to bag first-class degrees as demonstrated by the duo of Olumuyiwa Elizabeth Amoo and Dolapo Rukayat Adebisi who finished top of the class following four-rigorous years of studying including practical and written examinations.”
It will be recalled that EduTech recorded double milestones in December 2019 when the first set of students in the B.Sc Accounting programme in OAU graduated with three members of the class finishing with first-class degrees.
Relatedly, the company also announced the launch of its student financing solution. Named EduCollect, the education financing gateway aggregates funders to provide loans to students of various academic institutions. Created for both students and guardians, the product facilitates secure loans to allow students continue with their studies without the added pressure of bulk, upfront payments.
“As a pioneer in the education financing space in Nigeria, EduCollect will provide unparalleled access to short-term loans with a convenient repayment regime at some of the lowest interest rates in the market without any collateral. By following three simple steps, interested students can secure their education through EduCollect,” explained Shonubi.
Since its inception in 2012, EduTech has partnered with and deployed e-Learning solutions for a broad spectrum of entities ranging from universities to corporate institutions as it focuses on its goal of bridging the gap between demand for and access to quality education through the process of decentralizing the traditional method of learning. its current partners include Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Babcock University (BU), Ilishan-Remo, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Lagos amongst others.
Making business future-fit: The new marketing realities facing business after Covid-19
Andisa Ntsubane discusses the challenges businesses now face as they navigate through the COVID-19 era.
The year 2020 will be remembered as the ‘Year of the Great Pause’. It has been a period in which perceptions changed, boundaries moved, and businesses shifted on their traditional, comfortable foundations. Brands have been left battling with the reality that the unexpected had indeed happened and leading companies in Africa have lost an estimated US $ 60 billion off the value of their brand equity according to the recent Top 150 Most Valuable Brands in Africa report by Brand Finance
As normality slowly returns, marketers are left with the certainty that although a new dawn is breaking, they have a scant three months to begin recovering lost ground. They have to compensate for the time when business was paused, and marketing investments were pulled back.
While getting to grips with these hard-short-term facts, those at the heart of marketing will also be acknowledging that significant, permanent shifts have occurred in the ground below their feet.
There can be no denying that the COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the dire economic and social challenges that the continent faces. There has never been a more opportune moment than this to accelerate the Shared Value Agenda and engage on how there can be an increase in the introduction of business models that address social issues.
The path ahead will be challenging to navigate because it means that brands will have to move decisively to regain customers’ trust in the roles that they play within communities, countries, and the continent at large.
After all, our brands are our promises to the markets. To move forward, we will have to emphasise the positive influence that brands can have on people and societies. Those that lead and prosper will deliver tangible value and help to resolve cultural and social tensions in society. This means that brands need to be connected and responsive to the lived experiences of people. Brands must understand and be connected to the anxieties that people face. Above all, they need to be the agents helping to re-energise people and contribute towards creating a sense of optimism about the future.
These actions will become necessary because there has been a profound shift amongst our customers, our communities, and the continent at large as a consequence of this watershed moment
Traditional, disconnected, overt sales messages have been relegated to the past. People now expect their brands to have a purpose. More significantly, as we move towards a brighter future, people will support brands that were perceived to have done something positive when times were tough.
Pushed aside will be those brands that have not realised that relating to their customers is not about making promises; it is now about tangible actions that deliver on the business strategy and brand promise.
Ultimately, brand leaders have to learn the lesson that although times change, the things that matter, seldom do. This means connecting to the things that people care about, to what they value and hold dear. Families, relationships and wanting the best for your children as well as a brighter future will always remain fundamental concerns. The brands that understand these needs and cater to them will be brands that succeed. Brands have to be able to demonstrate that businesses do not just look at making profits or for economic opportunities.
This new approach will also involve understanding societal issues and then building business models that help address these issues. The key is to simultaneously achieve economic and societal value and help move the business and customers forward.
Creativity will play a central role in the transition from frivolous or hard-sell messaging to a more concerned, empathetic and understanding brand persona.
There has never been a better time for brands to deliver on their purpose. Now is the time to deliver on what we say. Covid-19 has been the perfect opportunity for brands to practice what they preach.
Disruption is becoming increasingly important. In these times if you are not disrupting your industry and yourself, you will be left behind. Strategies must not be built on the principle of being developed to last, but rather to accommodate transformation. The world is changing around us, and we have to construct models that help our brands respond to the ever-changing demands of the external environment.
Medium-term five-year business plans and strategies will inevitably become a feature of the past as timelines shorten. We will increasingly find ourselves living in a world where agility and responsiveness will become the watchwords.
Brands and businesses being responsive will require moving beyond just hearing consumers. There is a plethora of databases and social media listening tools available, but we must ask whether we are really listening, engaging and responding to our customers.
Consumers today recognise authenticity and true purpose, and both are going to be critical ingredients for building brands in the post-pandemic world. Meaning brands will now have to act more like people. A few ways we can activate the change are:
- Play our part: Show up and use all resources and creativity to build a better world.
- Act together: As the wise African saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together”. Recognise the strength in collaboration, to truly help people requires working in solidarity with likeminded entities.
- Solve instead of selling: Be more comforting and less promotional. It is about finding meaningful solutions to problems people are facing.
- Be human: Show empathy for the contemporary situation while retaining brand relevance. People are reassured by positive actions and communications.
As purpose is put to the test in the midst of the global pandemic, marketers who have not been able to translate their brand promise into actions and drive meaningful connections with consumers through presence and differentiated positioning might have missed the biggest opportunity.
By Andisa Ntsubane Interim Chief Marketing Officer, Old Mutual Limited
ICIT Solutions Nigeria builds 9Business Cloud Market in partnership with Microsoft, 9Mobile
ICIT Solutions Nigeria has announced a partnership with 9Mobile to launch 9Business Cloud.
ICIT Solutions Nigeria, a business technology solutions provider and tier-one Microsoft partner, has announced a partnership with 9Mobile to launch 9Business Cloud, a top-notch e-commerce platform where all cloud-based software packages can be purchased. The cloud storage business platform is designed to enhance enterprise productivity in the fast-growing Nigerian market.
ICIT (Internet, Communications & IT Solutions) headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, is an experienced information technology solutions service provider with commitment to efficiently empower businesses to achieve more with less using automation. ICIT, provides both SMEs and Enterprise level businesses with affordable and trusted managed IT services and business process automation solutions to help them operate effectively. The company’s primary goal is to help clients build systems where business productivity is optimized, profitability is increased, and peace of mind is guaranteed.
Mr. Kamar Oyenuga, Managing Director, ICIT Solutions Limited noted that, “We are excited to announce our partnership with 9Mobilie Nigeria to launch this first-in-class cloud solutions e-commerce platform 9Business Cloud for organizations of all sizes. Whether you are an organization of 1 or 10,000 employees, we have something for you to enable you manage and run your business from anywhere.”
Kamar in his statement mentioned that, “the 9business platform https://cloudbusiness.9mobile.com.ng/, caters to anyone, whether a 9Mobile subscriber or not, looking to purchase cloud-based products and solutions. The 9Business Cloud market place has affordable software products like Microsoft 365 which helps you to run your business from everywhere in a cost-effective manner, Microsoft teams for improved productivity and employee collaboration, One Note, One Drive for data and file storage online with up to 1TB worth space. Also available are SharePoint, Dynamics 365 for customer engagement and personalized service on any channel, recruitment, employee development, financial management, improved customer experiences, and improved marketing, and many more.”
He further stressed that, “This is an innovative way for modern businesses to cut-away unnecessary cost while also achieving optimal results for a more sustainable business operation. It’s simple, quick, secure, stress-free and affordable. Having identified that the core need of any organization is to ensure that every stakeholder has peace of mind which emanates from the profitability of the company, ICIT Solutions has positioned its offerings to support such businesses that aim to attain profitability that will in turn, increase their value.”
For over a decade, ICIT Solution has been creating sustainable and highly secured automated business solutions for companies, by engaging the businesses to understand their processes and help them break processes to measurable workflows that are automatable with the necessary support. It’s services include delivering End to End intelligent Managed IT services, fully-fledged business automation process support like software license sales and renewals, design and customization of process flows that will efficiently empower businesses to achieve more, data migration and protection, staff training and support and much more. It has also brought great value to the cloud solution offerings of 9mobile Telecommunication in Nigeria.
For more information, visit icit.ng today.