Experts urge business owners, ‘coprenuers’ to double effort as economy looks to grow by 2.5%

GODDIE OFOSE, Lagos

The Chief Executive Officer, RTC Advisory Services. Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje, has urged business owners in the country to re-strategize for new and emerging opportunities in the country as the Nigerian economy is forecasted to grow by 2.5per cent.

Agbaje issued this advise at the 2018 Double Impact Platform tagged planning forward 2018.

Double Impact Platform is an innovative training programme targeted at business owners and entrepreneurs who are married and are jointly in business as “Coprenuers.

Agbaje said “It is important for businesses to understand the emerging opportunities in other to maximize growth”.

He touched on all the economic indices through an in-depth analysis of the 2018 economic and financial outlook, expatiating on the issues, challenges and opportunities for people in business.

The financial analyst stated that the oil prices have surged to $70pb beyond the 2017 expectations, offering Nigeria some respite and suggesting a better economic outlook in 2018. “The increase in oil prices, the resumption of economic growth and other macroeconomics fundamentals which are also improving, suggests better prospects for businesses, especially as the oil sector growth diffuse into all other sectors,” Agbaje said.

Recently, there has been a steady rise in Nigeria’s external reserve. This rise is as a result of improved foreign exchange inflow occasioned by the increase in crude oil price, dollar inflow from foreign portfolio investors facilitated by the investors and exporters’ window introduced in April 2017 as well as reduction in dollar sale through Central Bank of Nigeria’s Forex intervention.

In his analysis “there is renewed interest of foreign investors in the equity segment of the Nigerian capital market which recorded an appreciable improvement in the preceding year. This performance is a proof that foreign investors, who retreated from Nigeria during the time of recession, are beginning to have confidence again in doing business in Nigeria”, he said.

Concerning the monetary policy, Agbaje mentioned that throughout last year the CBN maintained its monetary policy rate at 14% and as the economy recovers to full-throttle it is expected that the MPR would be eased downwards.

According to him, “the reduction in the MPR will be of great benefit to businesses including SMEs who need affordable credit to build their businesses and generate jobs.”

In highlighting the issues and challenges, Agbaje stated that ‘there is little or no growth rate in the non-oil sector.

In Q3 of 2017, the growth rate in the oil sector was 25.89per cent while that of the non-oil sector such as agriculture at 3.06per cent, utilities at 7.84per cent and all other sectors below 1per cent.

He said that in Q3 of 2017, the oil sector only contributed 11.0percent to the GDP while the non-oil sector contributed 89.0per cent. Major contributions to the GDP from the non-oil sector were Agriculture at 24.44per cent, Trade at 17.96per cent, Information and Communication at 8.69per cent, Manufacturing at 8.55per cent and Real Estate at 7.52per cent.

According to Agbaje, strong national economic growth would happen when these other sectors also begin to record growth.

Talking on diversification, Agbaje explained that there is a need for diversification from total dependence on oil as the country’s major source of revenue given that other sectors contribute more to the GDP than the oil sector.

He stated that the agriculture, trade (SMEs) and manufacturing sectors are key sectors that require growth because they contribute more to the nation’s GDP. The major challenges these sectors have are inadequate infrastructure, access to finance, inflation, political instability, and foreign currency regulations.

He summarized that the positive macroeconomic elements such as stable foreign exchange rate, receding inflation rate and an increase in the general reserve all suggest a better economic outlook in 2018.

Speaking on the programme, the convener of Double Impact Platform and Executive Director of Falcon Corporation, Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, said the Plan Forward programme for couples in business is designed to equip business owners with skills and knowledge required to stay competitive in their various industries.

“It offers rich content which help “Copreneurs” would become more proactive, improve performance, assess risk and opportunities and most importantly supports their vision for building legacies that foster generational and overall national prosperity. It is intended to address key elements that make businesses strong and stable such as innovations, finance, building competitive edge, all of which are critical to effective planning and execution,” Joe-Ezigbo informed.

According to Joe-Ezigbo, a key focus of the Planning Forward 2018 programme was to equip coprenuers to understand the new emerging economic growth opportunities to optimize as they build their business.

Speaking at the programme, Mrs Godrey Ogbechie, Group Executive Director, Rainoil Limited, said “it is good that the oil and gas sector is gaining traction again and we are happy about the Nigerian economic outlook for 2018. The country’s economy would be significantly better this year going by the positive trend recorded in 2017 across most key performance indicators since the country emerged from recession in the second quarter of last year”.  The growth, she pointed out, would create opportunities for investment in various sectors of the economy. To continue on this positive trajectory, she emphasized the importance of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan, ERGP.  Part of the plan includes tackling constraints to growth, leveraging the power of the private sector, promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, allowing markets to function and uphold the country’s core values.

Also speaking at the programme, EnifeAtuyebi, a human resource and leadership expert said “the growth across sectors as seen will most likely translate into increase in employment opportunities therefore delivering a more buoyant economy. She mentioned that the recent increase in the unemployment rate is due in part because of the cyclical factors most firms fell into due to the recession. To reduce their marginal compression, most companies had to shed off a significant part of their workforce. However, as the economy begins to open, employers would be much more confident to increase their workforce and that would further add to business and individual growth.

In evaluating the programme and the insight drawn from the 2018  economic forecasts , Akingbola Lawson, the Managing Director/CEO of Fastizers Food and Confectioners Limited stated, “the forecasts are very cheering and we are happy about the positive economic outlook of the nation. Certainly, it will be of great benefit to both the nation and SMEs if there is a reduction in the interest rate. The SMEs will have access to affordable loans to build their businesses and create more employment opportunities which will bring great development to the nation’s economy as the SMEs are economic growth engines of the nation” he enthused.

In her paper onRelationship Building in Business, Audrey-Joe Ezigbo reiterated the need intentionality in building strong and positive relationships for “Copreneurs”. Participants were charged to self audit truthfully and objectively their previous year together as they go into effective planning forward.

The need for living a well-balanced life was emphasized. Quoting Philip James Bailey, she reiterated,“It matters not how long we live but how well”. Through a workshop format participants were led through several self evaluation exercises.  She enjoined couples to be deliberate and intentional about building strong and positive family relationship to foster growth and stability within the business. She echoed that intentionality is very important as it gets woven into part of the plan for achieving success and balance in both the family and work life. “on the journey in pursuit of success couples must be equally and jointly intentional about the success of their relationship with one another” she echoed

In her closing, Mrs Audrey Joe-Ezigbo emphasized, “The Double Impact Platform was created to stir and stimulate knowledge among Copreneurs who are seeking to remain ahead of their markets particularly within the highly competitive landscape faced by every sector of the economy while managing their relationships perfectly. It provides couples jointly in business a forum for easy access to knowledge and information that empowers them maneuver successfully the unique challenges of building successful businesses in an increasingly competitive environment”. She urged all participants to strategically plan and move forward with Intentionality.

Participants at the Programme were full of commendation for the knowledge filled session and the interactive and networking platform the workshop offered. “There was so much learning, networking and engagement all packed in one programme that has equipped copreneurs to become competitive in this ever-evolving economy” said BunmiOke

The Double Impact Platform develops knowledge filled contents across diverse subject matter such as Business Accounting,  Finance management, Human capital management, Corporate strategy and planning, Brand Management, Retail Distribution etc. Top industry and subject matter experts are usually drawn from diverse background to share knowledge and expertise in the various areas thereby equipping the “Coprenuers with adequate toolsfor navigating successfully through the unique challenges of growing businessesin a stormy environment while building lasting businesses and high performing organizations of the future.