Nigerians have been advised to move from the realm of denial, anger and accept the reality of the ‘new normal’ occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic by properly articulating their goals and developing a financial plan based on available resources. This was the submission of investment and financial experts at the Ecobank Webinar on the topic: ‘Personal financial stability in a changing environment: achieving balance in the new normal’, held in Lagos last week.
In his presentation, Olufela Popoola, Managing Director, EDC Fund Management Limited, a subsidiary of Ecobank Group, pointed out that though commodity prices are stabilizing and stock markets are recovering globally, Nigeria is in recession mode with increasing inflation, pressure on exchange rate and increased government borrowings. He posited that individuals and businesses should worry less about the current realities, but start to think differently as they positively forge ahead. Specifically for individuals, it was time to carefully review their life’s goal and objectives and thereby; – review/develop a financial plan, align this plan to the current financial realities and their expected future resources and ensure that these plans become a reality by having structured investment programmes to achieve same.
“To adapt and stabilise, rethink your business culture. Focus more on goals, not (necessarily) processes, listen more to customers & respond quicker, change working style –flexibility, Study what competition is doing –be more professional, Improve internal communication & information sharing and Change working conditions to be more employee oriented. This is not the time to procrastinate. Don’t think you have too little or too much funds to start a plan, but rushing to start an investment may not be the best for now. You need to consider risk, returns and time horizons. As a matter of fact, this is the time to speak to experts like us at the EDC Fund management. Investment options and plans include corporate bonds, government securities, private equity, Eurobonds, life insurance, real estate, commercial papers, and managed portfolio, among others’’.
Also speaking, Okey Okere, Country Manager, Hofstede Insights Nigeria, made a case for people to rethink their lifestyle and business culture to adapt and stabilise under the ‘new normal’. According to him, “there are countless speculations about changes to the whole-world as we know it, but we can’t really tell how COVID-19 will change the world forever, what the “new normal” will eventually be, how long it will last and the impact on the world, Nigeria, businesses and our personal finances. But one thing is sure, we need to make changes.”
Okere listed the businesses that that are making gains despite COVID-19 pandemic as ICT services, e-commerce companies, personal care products, agriculture, food retailers and local delivery companies, adding that sectors such as aviation and shipping, consulting and professional services, education, financial services, manufacturing (non-essentials), real estate, automobile, and others are negatively impacted. He counselled businesses to focus more on goals and not necessarily processes, listen more to customers and respond quicker, change working style, study what competition is doing, improve internal communication and information sharing and change working conditions, stressing that if the effects of the pandemic hurts too badly, there might be need to wind down business entirely.
This edition of the Ecobank Webinar series is an initiative of Ecobank Consumer Banking Segment, aimed at deepening conversation on the new normal for businesses and how individual can harness new opportunities in the face of COVID-19. The virtual engagement attracted participation from amongst Ecobank Personal Banking customers comprising, individuals and business owners from different sectors of the economy and financial experts who joined across virtual platforms and social media handles. Ecobank’s unique and largest pan-African platform is designed to help unlock the opportunities of the continent and for the continent, through standardization, fueling regional integration, trade and investment across borders. Due to its sterling performance, the bank has been severally recognized; As ‘Best Retail Bank in Africa 2019’ at African Banker Awards and also as Most Admired Financial Services Brand in Africa 2019 by Brand Africa 100”.