Amid Dwindling Economy, Stakeholders Raise Hope in Nigeria’s ICT Business

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Emma Okonji

Despite the tough times businesses are going through due to current challenges facing the Nigerian economy, stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, have said that there are huge growth potential for organisations that use ICT solutions to navigate the prevailing challenges.

The stakeholders, who stated this during the CEO’s Forum organised by Technology Distributions Limited in Lagos recently, called on business owners to begin proper diversification and investment in ICT, in order to survive any harsh business situation, occasioned by poor economic policies of government.

The forum, with the theme: ‘The Economy and You: A Multi-dimensional Appraisal’, had a panel of resource persons including the Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh; Chairman, Board of Technology Distributions, Prof. Anya O. Anya; Head of Sales, Global Markets (Nigeria), Stanbic IBTC, Yomi Balogun and Mr. Punfa Emelonye who represented the youthful population.

While delivering a paper titled: “The Economy and You: Tales of the Unexpected”, Anya noted that one of the challenges being faced at the moment is how to restore confidence in the system, noting that this requires a multi-pronged approach. Urging the participants to leverage on an understanding of the particular business environment they operate in, Anya harped on the importance of liquidity management as a vital tool for business sustenance in these trying times.

“What needs to be done has to be at two levels. There is the need at the social level to project a new message of inclusiveness in the effort to rebuild the economy and the nation. The projection will have to come from all levels but most importantly at the highest level of governance. The national symbol of power and authority must be seen engaging his people. At the economic level, there has to be a greater degree of projection of competence, expertise and empathy,” Anya said.

He added: “There is work to do and that must involve all of us even as we project the message that the rewards will be equitably distributed to all without discrimination of ethnicity, gender or creed. The real change that Nigeria needs presently is the change in our mind-set and attitudes in both the leadership and the led, such that the Nigerian narrative can change from the negative to the positive without boundaries.”

On his part, Ekeh noted that since 2014, businesses in the ICT sector had borne huge pains with the exemption of the sub-sector from the list provided for in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) foreign exchange issuance. He, nevertheless, counseled participants to be strong and remain hopeful in the rebound of the economy. According to him, business credibility and a good relationship with partners such as banks, Original Equipment Manufacturers and major distributors such as TD will serve the participants well in overcoming the harsh economic situation.

Charging business owners to understand the direction of the economy, Ekeh, who has successfully navigated the stormy and favourable cycles of business in growing the Zinox Group to sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest ICT conglomerate, disclosed that retaining a daily position of one’s business financials aligned to a firm belief in God, are indispensable requirements for success in the current dispensation.