By Ikenna Uwadileke
Abuja, Dec. 21, 2020 Dr Alim Abubakre, advisory board member, London Business School Africa Society says Nigeria has suffered dire economic consequences as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
Abubakre, a Nigerian born lecturer at Coventry University, observed this while speaking on the urgent need for the Nigerian government and business stakeholders to address the challenges of the country’s economic recession.
In a statement issued by Caroline Lucas of TEXEM UK (founded by Abubakre) in Abuja on Monday, the don noted that while the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a virulent recession in many countries globally, Nigeria’s case was a bit much direr.
“Even before COVID-19 struck, Nigeria was already suffering from the adverse consequences of collapsing oil prices.
“Hence, without effective and impactful strategic leadership, the virus could aggravate the pain of an already hard-biting recession.
“For organisations that are not dynamic, responsive and agile, the effects of the recession are likely to continue hurting their performance into the foreseeable future and threaten their existence,” Abubakre explained.
He said that in finding solutions, it was imperative for leaders to determine and clarify their strategic priorities by identifying those essential activities that they must do to survive and succeed.
Abubakre also advised government and business leaders to be fully informed about the happenings within and outside the industry by following trends and changes to identify opportunities for success.
“Recession hits both at a micro, intermediate and macro level, so understanding how the economy is affected as well as the impacts on your stakeholders and how you can effectively and efficiently unlock scarce value is critical.
“Manage your finances and cash flow meticulously as recession significantly affects sales, revenue and profits, and one way to manage its effects as a leader is to monitor your expenditure, earnings and cash flow carefully,” he said.
Abubakre advised business operators to offer incentives such as discounts for advanced payments and use of electronic remittance to receive sales revenue faster, adding that this could be a means of reducing default risks.
He said that most importantly, entrepreneurs should ensure that their spending was only limited to the most critical areas that they needed to focus on to keep their organisations going despite the harsh financial environment.
“It might be very imperative to downsize and lay off some staff to survive. As you tighten staffing levels, note that there are key people that you cannot afford to lose.
“It is not just enough to keep them. You also need to train those who remain with the organisation to keep their morale high and help you keep the organisation going despite the difficult situation.
“Also, through research and customer service, leaders need to ensure that their organisational products and services exceed the expectation of their customers in terms of functionality, delivery time and after-service support,” Abubakre said.
He noted that one way to expand business leaders’ scope across the borders was through seeking relevant areas where they could innovate and get new clients.
“The Africa Free Trade Agreement offers some opportunities to expand to other neighbouring countries which you are not presently operating. This may require a different business model in such contexts such as selling to the bottom of the pyramid,” Abubakre advised.
He asserted that providing exceptional leadership during a recession was not an easy task but an essential requirement for inclusive national growth.
Abubakre affirmed that such leadership demanded resilience, serious restructuring of operations, scaling down of some activities, making redundancies, empathy and most importantly, keeping customers and other stakeholders happy.
“If you can manage all these, you are no doubt going to sail through and emerge victoriously,” he said.
Abubakre is a British based entrepreneur with an unparalleled passion for Africa, academic, and Founder and Non-Executive Chair of TEXEM, UK which has trained over 4,000 executives in the UK and Africa in the past 10 years.
The Osun State indigene
was in 2010, selected as one of the top 100 Virgin Media emerging entrepreneurs in the UK.
Abubakre accompanied London’s Lord Mayor on his entourage to Nigeria in 2015.
He is a Fellow (FIOEE) of the UK’s Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.