By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,
Small and medium scale businesses are the foundation of Nigeria’s economy. Thanks to digital technology, it is worth noting that e-commerce platforms like Jumia have so far played a key role in boosting and accelerating MSMEs in the last 7 years. A significant number of MSMEs are riding on these platforms to reach millions of customers in Nigeria and across Africa. Today, these MSMEs are raking in more revenue compared to the past.
The fact is, there is a link between technology adoption and the MSME sector growth, with some stating that MSMEs who were early adopters of eCommerce platforms doubled their annual revenue much faster than their counterparts who were reluctant to join the rising tide of e-commerce. This article explores the five leading ways in which technology will encourage growth in the MSME sector.
Creating a digital business
Thinking through and executing a digital business model requires a fundamental shift in strategy because it is completely different from offline business. In this case, you either bring out a new offering or take the existing offering to market in newer ways. This means being able to explore technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to make the customer experience seamless. The opportunities for digital technology in MSMEs are numerous. It only requires very strong business understanding to be able to analyze what the ecosystem looks like, have a very strong understanding of the customer and their insatiable expectations to being able to devise an appropriate strategy to create the digital business that meets their needs.
You can’t afford to operate your business as if it exists in a vacuum any longer. The rise of social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram means your customers are simply a click away, and users can now connect without regard to geographical obstacle, financial background, or even social status. Indeed, in the past, there were very limited avenues for customers to raise their queries but now as a business, you are likely to incur an unfavourable rant or a bad review on Facebook. This is why as a business, you should not compromise on standards because what goes on on the Internet stays on the Internet. This means that if you earn a bad reputation, it’s going to stick with you. It is for this reason that businesses large and small worry about their digital footprint, and a good number of organisations have experts who are on the lookout for potential “bad press” and are out making the rounds trying to be proactive.
Increased interest in and need for security
Businesses of all sizes need to be increasingly aware of the need for enhanced security. The rise in cyber-crime has also led to an increased interest in protecting data, training employees and incorporating IT into every aspect of the business. At the very least, an organization needs to be committed to protecting data with backups, integrating patches and updates regularly and training all employees to spot the signs of trouble.
Digital technology has also increased the ease with which we can all stay in touch, interact and engage. Whether it’s having your co-workers and employees available via text/video chat at a moment’s notice, or being able to send targeted promotional email blasts to pre-qualified customers when they’re shopping at nearby businesses, the rise of mobile technology has blended almost seamlessly with communication software to create a web of real-time information.
Improved access to information and data
Digital Technology has made it easier than ever to research and find data without leaving the office. Enhanced access to data gives your business the ability to offer your customer service team not only a way to connect with customers but also a way to instantly access complete customer history. In addition to this, you can provide a better user experience for anyone who interacts with your brand.
Irrespective of how big or small a business enterprise is, application of digital technology offers numerous benefits including those that facilitate the smooth running of business operations. These benefits are sometimes tangible while other times, they are intangible. The bottom line is that business applications play a significant role in increasing profitability for businesses while generating the results that customers need.
CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns
By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,
In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.
The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.
Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.
Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.
On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.
NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System
Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.
Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.
“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.
“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.
He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.
Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.
“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.
Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
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