Despite the negative impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic witnessed by business owners, along with households across Nigeria, fresh indications have emerged that financial services across the nation witnessed positive growth.
According to the Principal Lead MasterCard Advisors for Sub-Saharan Africa, Bola Asiru, “POS transaction volume along with mobile transactions (Interscheme) value, reached four years high with N416 billion and N275 billion transactions in July respectively.
“The use of Digital & Mobile platforms has had a positive growth impact on the telecoms sector.”
Asiru also advised business leaders, stakeholders and entrepreneurs to pay more attention to shift in consumer behaviour and its implication for business.
Asiru who spoke during a webinar organized by the American Business Council, ABC in partnership with MasterCard, Asiru said that the COVID-19 global pandemic has led consumer to shift attention to digital payments stemming due to hygiene concerns around cash.
“Despite this appreciable development, global growth forecasts have taken a downward trend due to the COVID-19 effect as the majority of countries are not expected to reach pre-2020 growth estimates for another 3 to 4 years.
“Asian economies lead the return to growth with countries like China still showing positive growth in 2021. South Africa has been the most COVID-impacted region on the continent and expectations are for a slower than average return to growth in 2021.”
He regretted that agriculture which happened to be the leading contributor to Nigeria GDP in 2019 with 25 per cent witnessed a decline in growth in the second quarter of 2020, Q2’20, to 2.57 per cent.
“West Africa’s return to growth in 2021 may be dampened by commodity price, devaluation and rising debt risk. Negative GDP growth with other indications such as inflation, unemployment, FX rate under pressure.”
He urged business stakeholders to revalidate their strategy and budgets to ensure it relevant to changing customer behaviour.
“Business stakeholders should balance their long term strategy with tactical action plans that respond to an unpredictable market while you also invest in digital.
“Create multiple customer engagement channels for repositioning your products and services such as online forum, surveys among others. Understand every step of the customer journey and how your business can add value. You need to cultivate the habit of rewarding positive consumer behaviour.
“Policies and guidelines must be consistent and reflect the shift in consumer environment and there should be improved engagement from Policymakers to leverage on private sector insights on consumer behaviour to shaping policies that will enhance consumer experience,” Asiru added.
On her part, the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary of American Business Council, Margaret Olele, said: “Our advice to businesses is that data on consumer trends as well as technology to improve customer satisfaction should be critically considered.
“Policymakers should work with the private sector as partners in building or formulating policies. The private sector in itself is a data gold mine and will be of benefit to the Federal Government,” she noted.