Without any doubt Coronavirus has impacted a combination of health, economic, financial, supply/logistics, human resource and operational challenges on virtually all aspects of our life most especially businesses.
Businesses in Nigeria, however, must begin to rise and tap into the new opportunities and potentials that COVID-19 presents especially amidst the resolve by the government to allow more sectors to return to business.
As the world settles down into the new normal that the Coronavirus pandemic has foisted on all of us, implementing a recovery and business continuity plan/strategy is the most paramount thing for businesses now.
The need to encourage personal responsibility and enforce compliance of the citizens with physical and social distancing protocol that has become part of the new world order, is therefore, an imperative for businesses to begin to think and act smart.
It is now time for businesses to see beyond COVID-19 crisis to tapping the enormous opportunities and potentials that are within, and ahead the current situation as we gradually move into a more relaxed phase of the ease of lockdown that will see many more businesses open, and more people on the streets and in public places.
In China and elsewhere, businesses have started adjusting to the new reality by rethinking and repositioning their operations and catering to the new needs of consumers. By taking time to understand the new market realities, smart businesses are now making COVID-19 the main propeller for new growth and activating dormant potentials especially by moving from the traditional brick and mortal ecosystem to the online space, with the e-Commerce system powering things.
Nigeria cannot be an exception as COVID-19 has come with lots of opportunities and potentials for businesses – micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and large corporations – to rebound into profitability. Much more, for those that can transition from brick and mortar businesses to online and leveraging the e-Commerce backbone provided by a viable platform like Jumia, the sky would be the starting point of rebound and returning to profitability.
Examples of the sectors that businesses can tap into include agriculture of which food is a major segment, healthcare, education and services such as hygiene and sanitation, fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs), sports and gaming, entertainment, IT/technology and electronics/electrical appliances. For government business continuity, e-governance is a new opportunity to leverage.
Food is man’s number one existential need and agriculture is the domain of food production and food security. During lockdowns, Jumia logistics bridged the supply and logistics challenges that hampered people from accessing agricultural produce especially groceries due to the poor enforcement of inter-state and inter-boundary movement bans.
In spite of the fact that coronavirus has disrupted farming activities this year, surge in demand for food such as fresh groceries, meat and poultry products remains a major trend. In order for consumers to get constant supply of these essentials, it means more storage facilities are needed.
Due to poor electric power supply in a country like Nigeria, however, many families, for example, will be unable to stock perishable groceries for a longer period. MSMEs can take advantage of this need and invest with e-Commerce operator like Jumia marketplace and logistics serving as the pivot for them.
As more people work remotely from home, demand for essentials including food, water, cooking ingredients, toiletries and appliances will continue to increase. Hence, there is opportunity for FMCGs manufacturers on Jumia marketplace to push their inventories and put their products in the hands of millions of consumers. Demand for healthcare and technology-driven products and services will continue to rise, and this also opens a new vista for businesses. Pharmaceuticals, supplements, medical devices, personal protective equipment (PPE), telemedicine, smart hospitals, online consultations, digital medical assistants, apps and mini-apps and self-diagnosing medical devices are all opportunities to extend business frontiers.
Virtual classrooms and tutorials, e-books, e-lesson notes and workbooks, online training and virtual cooking classes are also opportunities in the education sector that businesses can leverage while they are also helping to reduce physical contact and the spread of Coronavirus.
Online sports betting, development of online fitness classes, apps and mini-apps for indoor sports and games will also boost business sustainability as well as breaking the cycle of COVID-19 transmission.
Virtual entertainment services such as dancing tutorial, singing via Zoom, gaming and virtual visits to landmarks are also some of the new ways of disseminating content and promoting small businesses as well as boosting social distancing.
With suggestions that Coronavirus can survive on cash money, remote or digital banking service such as payment and transfer of money as opposed to handling cash is another smart business model in this present situation. The good news is that JumiaPay has been at the forefront of promoting a cashless system thereby ensuring reduction of person-to-person/person-to-cash contact that can aggravate the rate of virus infection.
Small businesses can also key-in to Jumia Contactless Delivery to provide contact-less systems and enhance delivery of services to their customers. For non-essential goods, as more people are encouraged to work from home, and likely to do more home chores such as washing of dishes and laundry, they can make orders and pay online on JumiaPay for electrical appliances such as dishwashers, washing and sterilisation machines. Jumia agents in protective kits can deliver the appliances to them at home under strict no-physical contact protocol.
As businesses reduce the number of employees that can converge in line with social distancing rules, there are cost reduction opportunities that organisations can benefit from. They can cut down on office rent or redesign office space and let out a part, build remote work systems, leverage software platforms like Zoom and cloud-based solutions for internal and client meetings.
Businesses can also reduce cost of operations with apps for accounting and HR as well as digital solutions that can minimise paperwork, physical contact and promote the growth of an infinite number of contactless environments.
Certainly, transitioning to online businesses will increase demand for mobile devices such as handsets, tabs, laptop computers and data while adoption of e-Commerce will provide the needed impetus for the growth of the digital economy, which the Nigerian government is promoting as one of the major drivers of economic diversification.
By Seyi John Salau
Inclusive Foundation Mourns Veteran Actress, Rachael Oniga
Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has expressed its heartfelt sympathy to family, friends and the entire movie industry over the loss of the veteran actress, Rachael Oniga who died at age 64.
The CEO of the foundation, Chief (Mrs.) Pat Eleto, in a condolence visit to the family, on Saturday, July 31st, said the news came as a rude shock to many, but she believes that the late actress has created a great impact with her career, and her legacy should never be forgotten.
In her statement, Chief (Mrs.)Eleto said:
“It is with a heavy heart that I grief with the family of a sister, friend and adviser of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
“Mrs. Oniga, is one of our great ambassadors, and we were actually working on a project that is meant for the later part of this year when the sad news of her demise came.
“Death is inevitable, we pray for the repose of her soul, and may God comfort all the people she left behind. We also hope and pray that all her good legacies, be sustained because, she was indeed a pillar of support to our foundation, and also one of veterans that contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood,” the statement reads.
A native of Delta State, Oniga was one of the ambassadors of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
Alaafin Shuns Ooni-Backed Group Over Alleged Anti-Buhari Posture
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Friday, at the last minute, allegedly cancelled an appointment he gave to a Yoruba group, Ooni’s Caucus, on the alleged complaint that members of the group are “notorious critics” of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Ooni’s Caucus, which was inaugurated at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on July 20, 2021, is made of many influential Yoruba persons and is being coordinated by a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun.
PUNCH learnt that Osuntokun led about 14 members of the group to Alaafin’s palace for the alleged 11am appointment on Friday, but after waiting for about two and a half hours, the influential monarch sent words to them that he would not be seeing them.
According to a source, who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, some of the group’s members who went to Alaafin’s palace with Osuntokun were a monarch, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao; a former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe; a former commissioner in Osun State, Muyiwa Ige; a former Minister of Defence, Mrs Dupe Adelaja; a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, Oye Oyewumi, Sola Lawal, among others.
A former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is also said to be a member of Ooni’s Caucus, but he was not on the delegation to Alaafin’s palace on Friday.
The source, who is a member of the group, claimed that the group had through the Olugbon secured an appointment with Alaafin since Monday, and the same appointment was confirmed on Thursday, only for them to get to the palace and the Alaafin refused to see them on the claim that they were anti-Buhari and were also loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The source explained that the main purpose of the meeting was for the newly-inaugurated group to get Alaafin’s blessings and to possibly discuss the issue of the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, who is currently being held and tried in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The source said, “The Olugbon, a member of the caucus, was the one who booked the appointment, but he said the Alaafin said he didn’t want to see us because we’re notorious critics of the Buhari government.
“He (Alaafin) confirmed the appointment yesterday (Thursday). But when we got there today, he kept us waiting; after a while, he asked to see the Olugbon. He (Alaafin) didn’t come to see us; we were told he said he wouldn’t see us because we are notorious critics of Buhari’s government and that some of us are close to Obasanjo, who is also critical of the government.
“We were made to wait for about two and a half hours; he gave us an appointment for 11am; we got there at 11am and at about 1.30pm, that was when it was obvious to us that he wasn’t coming (to see us). But he initially asked to see the Olugbon, who went to see him for about an hour. When the Olugbon eventually came back, he said Alaafin would not see us, saying we are a group that is critical of the Buhari government and some of us are loyalists of Obasanjo.”
On whether the group’s mission to Alaafin’s palace was to discuss Sunday Igboho’s matter, the source said, “Of course, the issue (of Igboho) would come up but that was not the purpose of the visit. The issue of Igboho concerns all the Yoruba people but that was not our reason for going to him.”
On whether the group would try and book another appointment, the source said, “I don’t know; we were all surprised that a Yoruba oba can refuse to see his children on account of not wanting to be on the bad side of Buhari’s government. I would have thought that an oba is supposed to take everybody as his children, whether they are supporters of Buhari the All progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or whatever party.”
But when contacted by PUNCH, the Media Director to the Alaafin, Bode Durojaye, said the reason his principal did not see the group was because they did not have any prior appointment with him.
Durojaye said the Alaafin would be willing to entertain the group if they booked an appointment.
He said, “Those who came are men of honour and kabiyesi did not say he did not want to see them. He did not say he would not see them because they are critical of President Buhari or they are former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s men. Obasanjo himself is a friend of Kabiyesi, so you can see that what you were told was not what happened.
“Kabiyesi said he could not see them because they did not give him prior notice that they were coming. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see them again. They can notify him and he will give them an appointment. You cannot just come and say you want to see him, there are protocols to follow and due process is always adhered to at Alaafin’s Palace.
“There was no rancour, no ill-feeling even when they were going; I was there and I saw them off to their vehicles. If anybody told you that kabiyesi said he didn’t want to see them because they are critical of government or they are Obasanjo’s men, that is a lie.”
NMA Reacts As Bandits Break Into, Pick Nurse At Zamfara General Hospital
Suspected bandits invaded General Hospital, Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday, resulting in the abduction of a nurse and caregiver.
Residents said that immediately the men stormed the medical facility, the armed men headed to the outpatient ward in search of a doctor or nurse.
“When they couldn’t find anybody there, they started going from one ward to another. A nurse and a caregiver were abducted. They then moved to staff quarters looking for doctors and nurses but could not find any.”
“The armed criminals had earlier attempted to attack Maigoge, a community located six kilometres north of Dansadau town.
“But when they laid siege to the community, the vigilantes otherwise known as Yan Sakai firmly defended the village. The vigilante killed some of the bandits and injured several others.
“They then invaded the hospital to kidnap nurse and doctors that will treat their injured brothers in the forest.”
Maigoge is one of the few communities in Dansadau Emirate known to be firmly defending themselves against bandits.
“The staff of the facility are not carrying out night duties now. They only attend to patients at day time. They then move inside the town to spend night usually at undisclosed locations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in Zamfara state, Dr Mannir Bature, who confirmed the attack said the association is worried by the unfortunate incident.
He said they would hold an emergency state officers council meeting on Saturday.
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