This Change and the pandemic has shaken the entire economy that no one who lives in this country is left unaffected. From the CEO of multibillion naira companies to the okada rider, everyone can testify that they have seen change. Even the unschooled know the economy is not business as usual.
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The average Nigerian now talks about the economy the same way Londoners talk about the weather. While the Londoners sometimes have good days when the sun is out and the temperature amiable, I am yet to meet anyone who says they are profiting immensely from the current state of the economy.
Interestingly, in many conversations I have with people about the economy, they all agree it is not all gloom. They are quick to point out that people, after all, are building houses and buying brand new cars, getting married and going on vacations. And the conversation ends in the typical Nigerian “God will do it”.
What I see happening is that the rules of the game of the Nigerian economy have changed and the idea behind this discussion is to bring some of the change issues to your attention and explore possibilities of profiting from the new economy we have found ourselves in.
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First of all, there is no free money anymore. Government has always been the biggest spender in the economy and before now, it would pat itself on the back for achieving a mere 60% budget performance. The rest – a whopping 40% – of the budget fails to achieve its intent.
Further, with the enforcement of TSA (Treasury Single Account) government agencies no longer have direct access to their revenue. This used to be a major source of cash ingestion into the economy by way of bogus and overpriced contracts. The enforcement of TSA also meant funds that were otherwise domiciled with commercial banks are no longer available for onward lending to businesses.
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The drop in the price of crude means the government has less dollar revenue and can no longer meet the dollar demand of our overly import-dependent economy. The exchange rate of the dollar to the naira has crippled some businesses and for those who still manage to import, prices are high and consumers have less money.
Recent moves have alienated several international businesses, with some pulling out of the country completely. This also scares would-be investors who perceive the government as not having a full grasp of the economy.
It is not all gloom and there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. The government seems to be laying foundations for institutionally sustained development. But in the meantime, how does one deal with the new realities?
It starts with a mindset or disposition that you will profit whichever direction the economy goes. This mindset is the critical differentiating factor among those who profit or don’t profit during downtimes. All the negative talk about the economy must stop.
Science has proven that words send triggers to our brain which then execute these signals. So if you start to say you are sick consistently, your brain gets that signal and executes it and in no time, you find that you will be seriously ill. Our perceptions frame our reality and the brain needs to constantly get signals that the economy is good and works to your advantage. Only then can the brain start helping you spot opportunities and relationships that can help you profit.
For employees, be grateful that you still have a job as there are many more qualified people than you who are out of jobs. Some layoffs may have happened possibly even in your company and your workload may have increased, embrace your new responsibilities, and never join those who take a swipe at management. Go beyond your job description and help your organisation generate additional revenue, reduce expenses, or fine-tune her processes.
Downtimes are the best times to get additional qualifications or acquire new skills. Chances are that when you are rounding off with your additional qualification, the economy would have picked and companies would be hiring again and you would be a more valuable employee.
For entrepreneurs, exporting your product or services is one of several ways to make the economy work for you. You could start by listing on several international sites that allow listings from Nigeria. Etsy.com, fiverr.com are some sites you could look at.
Other opportunities include starting an agric business. Nigeria’s food production is about 30% of its total consumption which makes it almost a no brainer. If you produce right, there is a ready market to sell to. If you go one step further and learn to store/preserve/process, you could make more money.
The entrepreneur could also create local substitutes for imported products and services that have become too pricey and out of reach of several. Forget selling luxury goods at these times as that market is shrinking even internationally.
Go back to the basics. If you sell shoes, you might want to incorporate repair services into your offerings as more people would repair shoes than to immediately opt to buy new pairs when old pairs go bad. If your retainership fees are monthly, you might want to structure a pay as you go, payment model, as this allows you to still sell your services as against getting a complete cancellation of your contract.
For those who just lost their jobs, you are better off starting a business than trying to find another job in the short run. Very few companies are employing and there are loads of qualified people currently in the job market. Your most viable options are trading fast moving items (avoid fashion items for starters), getting a distributorship, or starting a service business.
Things often get worse before they get better and the night is darkest just before day. Economic downtimes require new rules of engagement and only those who play by the new rules have any chance of winning.
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