By Peter Uzoho
As businesses in Nigeria and across the world continue to grapple with economic challenges and setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a public finance expert, Dr. Greg Ugochukwu Ezeilo, has proffered suggestions on how organisations can revitalize their operations and bounce back to profitability quickly.
Ezeilo, a consultant to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), spoke during a webinar organised recently by Team Bronze, a Think-Tank Group from Igbo-Ukwu, a historical town in Anambra State.
Some of the survival strategies as proffered by him, included digitisation of business operations, right-sizing of staff and outsourcing of certain functions.
Others included renegotiating wages of staff, adaptation to the dictates of the new normal and close collaboration with key stakeholders.
The webinar which had the topic ”Business Recovery and Survival Strategies in Post Pandemic,” was the second in series organised by Team Bronze.
Ezeilo stated that the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow on the world economy, with the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracting by 7.7 percent, while Nigeria’s GDP shrunk by 5.3 percent.
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, resulting in the closure of several small businesses and loss of jobs for thousands of persons.
Dwelling on business revival, Ezeilo advised promoters of organisations 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 included 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 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.
Ezeilo listed a few other sources of low cost funding for MSMEs to include Renmoney, Green Stallion, NIRSAL MFB and Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Speaking further, he identified innovation and technology as a smart technique for reviving businesses, stressing the need to move from brick and mortar business to online business.
“Whatever business or trade you are engaged in, you need to embrace technology,” he added.
According to him, other benefits of taking business online include increased sales, brand promotion, being in touch with customers round the clock, world-wide delivery of goods and services, cost reduction and convenience.