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The New Normal in Business and Economy By Abraham David Onoja

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By Abraham John Onoja

As the COVID19 pandemic continues to ravage the world, leaving citizens of the world a new world order, businesses need to navigate their financial and operational obligations. They are also expected to meet the needs of their greatest assets- customers and supplier. whilst ingenuously trying to meet the needs of their greatest assets; customers and suppliers.

The crises may have paved way for uncertainties, but it has also created opportunities for sectors to emerge and grow, while some will fall and vanish if not properly managed and strategized as the companies who will stand firm in this era will be those that implemented risk management as part of their business strategy.

While this crisis is first and foremost a public health issue, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people worldwide and still counting, the economic would no doubt be overwhelming and is likely to create major economic meltdown in both the formal and informal sectors The train must be primed to chug along now! In the new normal, business owners are faced with overwhelming, competing challenges. They are surrounded by treacherous waters now darkly infested with covid-19 sharks.

Still, they must continue to dive into the deep end of the global pandemic. A business’s success depends in part on the economic systems of the countries where it is located and where its sells its products. A nation’s economic system is the combination of policies, laws, and choices made by its government to establish the systems that determine what goods and services are produced and how they are allocated. The resources of a person, a firm, or a nation are limited.

Hence, economics is the study of choices—what people, firms, or nations choose from among the available resources. Every economy is concerned with what types and amounts of goods and services should be produced, how they should be produced, and for whom. These decisions are made by the marketplace, the government, or both. In the United States, the government and the free-market system together guide the economy. Business owners therefore should have their priorities clearly mapped out; providing support and being a backbone to their people, customers and suppliers.

They must achieve all this, whilst simultaneously addressing supply chain disruptions, maintaining a stable profit margins, aligning their businesses with evolving demand and changes and identifying potential pitfalls and new growth trends.

Businesses in the new normal requires a new mindset to recover from the crises, thereby identifying, analyzing and addressing effective strategies that would help the business return to normality and grow. This is the time to build organizational relationships with strategic partners for proper execution of effective strategies.

Management personnel and stakeholders are quickly turning their attention to the ‘next’; that moment of unpredictable and probably muted economic recovery with newly identified threats and opportunities. This is a new era defined by fast changing initiatives to shift the cultural norms, societal beliefs and values, such as renewed brand purpose. Leaders, corporate and political, are faced with the urgency to reopen their businesses.

To bridge the gap of uncertainty, reopening would require a series of ‘reinventive’ thinking. The pandemic offers a big opportunity to have companies invest in areas they wish they’d paid more attention to before the crisis. Now, to be more digital, data-driven, and in the cloud; to adopt a variable cost structures rather than fixed, to find its root in e-commerce and security are no longer deferrable agendas.

Consequent to the pandemic, organizations globally are experiencing an unfamiliar change in their work flow processes and harnessing their workforces optimally. Companies are yet to fully understand and determine how working remote working will help achieve corporate objectives beyond the survival hump. Profitability and business models are being cautiously reviewed. Teams and workforces try to function and perform in line with expected deliverables whilst struggling to cope with even more sombre personal and existential challenges in the new normal. Organizations, teams and workforces need new and bespoke fitting plans today.

They need to formulate strategies and drive policies that can position them advantageously to work out and around the emerging challenges as the state of global health and economic unfolds. All stakeholders have critical roles to play in developing and establishing systematic approaches that promote shared workforce resilience, flexibility and intelligence.

Similarly, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed customers, employees, citizens and humans’ experiences, attitude and behavior forever. The norms of behavioral consumer psychology are deviating from the expected curves. Results, though displaying expected changes, are creating sweaty anxiety for boardroom decisions.

The crisis has caused a fundamental change in human-human interactions and behavior. In the new world order, companies would necessarily need to review and redesign operational flow and operating models. These changes would impact greatly on design, communication, running expenses, remunerations, investments etc. The definitions of that people need and want has been reshaped and businesses need to blend into the new, emerging ecosystem so they can properly reposition for sustainability and profitability.

The global pandemic has created uncertainties and forced companies to reevaluate and reinvent how business operations units are leveraged. It has redefined how digital platforms can be used in supporting and ensuring continuity in the business through and beyond the crisis. The state of the economy affects both people and businesses.

How you spend your money (or save it) is a personal economic decision. Whether you continue in school and whether you work part-time are also economic decisions. Every business also operates within the economy. Based on their economic expectations, businesses decide what products to produce, how to price them, how many people to employ, how much to pay these employees, how much to expand the business, and so on. The crisis has fundamentally changed supply chain management economics and dynamics; we are in uncharted waters. Routes to market are evolving which would inevitably kick some companies off the market and make some others tether on balance.

In response to the pandemic, leaders have been mandated to increase their adoption of value chain transformation to help outrun uncertainty. For those who are able to successfully navigate to the other side of this new normal, it becomes imperative to establish strategies for greater resilience and apply lessons learnt to create systems and models that would better prepare companies and stakeholders for further future disruptions.

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Opinions

A Governor and his love for probity

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By Rafiu Ajakaye
 
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq is an emerging phenomenon in the Nigerian political space, thanks to his style, his drive to make things easy for the poor within resources available to him, and the pace at which he is demystifying governance. He lives in his own house. He drives his own car. He carries his own files. He goes about town on official duties without the air that comes with governance in the country. And he recently made himself a subject of school quiz when he officially wrote to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the anti-graft body, to probe his own administration on claims that N300m of Local government funds was being diverted monthly. Who does that?
 
He went a step higher a few months ago when he became the country’s first chief executive to introduce social audits of public projects. While several Kwarans considered the step as the next phase of his efforts to sanitise governance in the state, particularly given his record of involving neutral parties in monitoring government programmes, a few others said he was only trying to kill the Freedom of Information Bill. They warned the civic group (ENETSUD) tapped to partner with the government that the social audit was a kiss of death for proponents of the FOI. But the Governor said he meant every word about the social audit and that it was not intended to kill the FOI. For him, the social audit is meant to strengthen transparency, ensure good governance, and strengthen public confidence in government for better service delivery. It is meant to break the ice. But his critics would have none of that. They said it was all talk! 
 
Today, social auditing has become a reality with at least six projects now being examined by the civic group to know whether works done by contractors are commensurate with public funds released for the projects. In the first phase, the College of Education Road (Ilorin); Government High School renovation Adeta Ilorin; Patigi Secondary School Patigi; Diamond Underpass Geri-Alimi; Ilesha Baruba-Gwanara Road; and Cargo Terminal Airport Road are to be audited.
 
The exercise is the first of its kind in Nigeria. What the Governor has done is to volunteer all relevant technical documents to the civic group to conduct independent critique of the projects to determine whether there is value for public funds sunk into them. It is fair to note that the social audit partly followed an outcry in some quarters about the quality of jobs done on some projects. 
 
This is beyond doubt a rare show of transparency, accountability, and oft-absent political will to make things work for the people. In doing this, the Governor is not expecting everything to be perfect. He instead intended the social audit to build confidence and open a new page in public accountability on the part of everybody involved in project conception, management, and execution. As he mentioned in the interface with ENETSUD and elsewhere, outcome of the social audit could lead to government directing contractors to return to site to correct observations made. And it may well lead to some contractors getting a pat on the back for job well done. Or a red card for erring ones. Similarly, it is a sign to government’s project monitors to always do the right thing as their own judgment may not always guarantee a pass mark for any contractors. Ultimately, no one would get away with poor job in Kwara. Not anymore. 
 
Some persons have suggested that any revelations of poor jobs would rub off badly on the Governor. That shows they do not know him. He seeks the best for his people. His focus is to gently and steadily move everyone to do their own bit as he is doing his. He appreciates the institutional gap that had long existed in project conception and execution and he wants to leave a legacy of being that leader who insisted that the public must get value for their money. Accepting to do social audit is an evidence that he is not one who gives contract and asks for some unlawful returns. All he desires is the best for the state. 
 
And there is no let up in this regard. For the first time in Kwara, the Governor has officially activated the Public Procurement Agency with the recent appointment of Mallam Raheem AbdulBaki as its pioneer General Manager. You know what? That law had long existed in Kwara but no one had the balls to implement it for reasons readers may guess. It is not every time a state is blessed with leaders who walk their talk. Kwara is currently having one in the Governor who tells anyone who cares to listen that he has nothing to hide. And every step he takes speaks just to that. 
 

Ajakaye is CPS to the Governor
 

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EDO 2020: Between SIMPLE Agenda and Moving Forward By Babatunde Qodri

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By Babatunde qodri

With some days to the September 19 Edo governorship election, there has been noise in the downtown of Benin city. The atmospheric condition is not friendly as everywhere is throbbing with campaigns, posters and many more. Markets are busy. Roads even in Edo state assembly have become National Theatre! Desperate moves are in motion, too.

Of the 35 registered political parties as confirmed by the INEC in the state, the dominant ones are APC and PDP. As a matter of fact, the deafening electoral noise in the state reflects the struggles between these two players.

However, the incumbent governor Obaseki is doing all his best to be re-elected as the governor of the state while his counterpart Osagie Ize–Iyamu remains his greatest rival with his embattled godfather Adam Oshiomole. Each of the political actors are into several political tactics on who to control the government House for the next four years. Interesting.

Amid these moves for power, politicians are decamping to different political parties, enemies become friends, trust is betrayed and those who are holding the levers of power are not ready to take it easy. Obaseki who was once a godson to Oshiomole is now seen to have betrayed his godfather. He’s been alleged of misappropriation of fund, misgovernace and sheer failure to swear in 14 elected lawmakers in the state. His sin not limited to this, he appears to betray and bite the fingers that feed him. The 14 lawmakers that Obaseki refuses to inaugurate are now the ones fighting him.

Few weeks back, the State Assembly was shut down by the opposition party where the supporters of both APCand PDP are fighting over speakership seat. The roof of the secretariat was scattered and everywhere seemed controlled by tensions. For many, the coming election may likely to come with troubles in the state the state. INEC warns!

In the face of the fierce atmosphere that grips the state currently, both candidates Ize-Iyamu and Obaseki are campaigning throughout the state as to either Edo will choose simple agenda or consider moving forward. The APC candidate pastor Ize – Iyamu in his statement said, “When Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1978 formed the Unity Party of Nigeria. Even though I was quite young, I was fascinated by the manifesto of his party. The four cardinal programs of the UPN include free education, free health services, integrated rural development and employment for all”. This has become the mantra of the APC candidate.

Obaseki, in what looks like a reaction to the above, relies his cardinal agenda on moving Edo forward. He aims to capitalise his work on his previous achievement. In the main, the Edo BEST(Basic Education Sector Transformation), expansion of infrastructure in terms of road, Obaseki’s administration has taken the state from where it was and the governor promises to consolidate on them in his second term. “Edo is not Lagos” is his mantra.

And this reminds me of Gov. Ambode, the one-time Governor, who was disqualified for failure to respect the law of the game and was thrown out in a bid to seek re-election. In the case of Obaseki instead of him to respect elders, rather chose to leave his party for another decamp to seek elections, not only that he renovated the State Assembly to save himself from impeachment. Obaseki’s refusal to bow is only known to him and he can face the battle and win it. The dice is cast and September 19 is near to know who owns the state!

I urge the Edo electorate to come out massively in order to vote their preferred choice of as the future of the state remains depends solely on them. They shouldn’t be induced by money or anything that can compromise their wish for the state.

Based on this, I wish to remind the Edo electorate of Joachim Macebong’s admonition in a piece entitled, “The Importance of One Vote” on April 1, 2011. He said: “The most often heard excuse for not voting in an election is ‘my one little vote won’t make a difference.’ Yet, history is full of instances proving the enormous power of one single vote. In many cases, the course of nations has been changed because one individual ballot was cast or not cast”.

End.

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Hon. Adenike Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin; An exemplary woman of virtue By Saleeman Muslim

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By Muslim Saleeman

The occasion of your birthday is indeed remarkable to reflect on your wonderful personality and retrospect on your specialities. As you display through your actions, I shall briefly justify your essentiality through Pen.

It has been a wonderful and impressive journey of grace and gratitude so far. You’ve really made us proud and happy with your excellent performance as the Honorable Commissioner of our great State. The leadership traits in you is inherent as you’ve truly differentiated between progress and stagnation.

Words are not enough to appreciate God for your life which is a beacon of hope for the hopeless and an inspiration to numerous. Your patriotism, selflessness and bridge-building capacity have manifested in unprecedented administrative and socio-political excellence, undisputable social investment on the development of our dear state.

The exploits of your predominant tenacity with resilience in every facet of humanity are testimonies to your exceptional leadership and uncommon vision for coming generations. Even if all seems to be a familiar appraisal, I will still emphatically say you’re always on adventures of commitment to ensuring ability where there’s disability and stability where there’s instability.

There have been so many practical experiences with you which make me a witness to justify the above accolades that you deserve. The platform you’ve been given to serve even acknowledges the intelligence and wisdom you’re blessed with to pilot the affairs of the Ministry. A versatile bold woman you are!

As a model to me, you are a great epitome of integrity and discipline; these among others I so much cherish as you’re so worthy of emulation in all ramifications. May Allah continue to be your strength.

Hearty felicitation on your new glorious age Ma. May you continue to be enriched with the necessary qualities that shall best make you greater than who you are as I wish you many graceful and prosperous returns with more accomplished fulfilments. Amin!

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