[Africa Business Communities Forum] How are the 2023 elections affecting businesses in Nigeria?
With the end of the first quarter here, Africa Business Communities asks business owners and CEOs in Nigeria one pertinent question:
How are the 2023 federal and state elections in Nigeria impacting local businesses and the economy?
Chris Okoro, CEO, Eunisell Interlinked, Nigeria: The 2023 elections, like every election round in Nigeria, will have (and is already having) far reaching impacts on local businesses and the economy.
Government devotes a lot of attention and resources to the election at the expense of economic and developmental issues. It is normal for the government to ignore burning economic concerns to focus of prosecuting and winning elections.
Foreign investment inflow will reduce while huge outflows are anticipated as foreign portfolio and direct investors repatriate funds back home due to uncertainties that accompany elections in Nigeria. This will result in scarcity of funds, driving up interest rates. Consequently, local businesses will face funding challenges in terms of availability and cost of funds.
Gbolahan Tobi Ayediran, MD, Suit-U Travels, Nigeria: Elections in our country always affect local businesses. Nigeria needs good leaders, and if these are elected this year then we can expect to see a positive change in our economic situation. Any country run by a good leader has the potential for excellence and Nigeria is no exception; the populace will find themselves benefiting from good infrastructure, employment opportunities, sound education, better healthcare and so much more. Under such circumstances local businesses will not need to strive too much.
Fedir Ted Martynov, CEO, CARMACHAIN, Nigeria: The ongoing elections in Nigeria can have a significant impact on the economy and local businesses, influencing investor confidence, government policies, and overall economic stability. The ultimate impact will depend on the election results and resulting government policies and economic priorities.The election outcome may lead to changes in government policies, regulations, and economic priorities, which can have positive or negative effects on local businesses and the economy. If the election results in a stable government with clear economic policies and priorities, it could boost investor confidence and encourage foreign investment, leading to positive impacts on local businesses and the economy. However, political instability or unclear economic policies could lead to negative impacts on the economy, reducing investor confidence and economic growth.
Jesse Onomiwo, Co-founder, Autosparkle, Nigeria: The frenzy surrounding the 2023 elections has and will continue to place the economy on the back burner as all focus will now be on making preparations for new leadership. Only those businesses directly connected to making the elections happen, like the printing and advertising business, digital marketing (particularly influencers), and transportation, will continue to boom. Other sectors will remain in the backseat growth-wise.
Also, for local businesses, key decision-making activities will be stalled. For example, a lot of businesses will not be able to take decisions to expand their operations into new territories or markets due to the uncertainty surrounding the manner of conduct and eventual outcome of the elections. This will put business activities and revenue generation in slow motion.
This will also apply to the federal government which will begin to slow down spending on general infrastructure and project development, and also abandon plans.
Joel Daniel, Founder, Solutions Platforms, Nigeria: One major concern on the minds of business owners is how the business landscape will be affected. We are looking forward to the policies of the new president. According to Naira metrics Nigeria’s exchange rate has depreciated by 76.5% between 1999 to-date against the US dollar, witnessing multiple devaluations at the official market, with even higher devaluations recorded in the unregulated markets.
We are yet to know the fate of local businesses after this general election but following the campaigns of the presidential candidates, they are all clamoring for the same thing - issue of exchange rate alignment and the removal of fuel subsidy, which is a hindrance to more foreign investment and also a huge bill for the FG (subsidy).
We cannot categorically say local businesses benefited during the soon to be past administration, but we are certain the new administration will be different.
Ayodeji Ayorinde, Co-founder, Artisankonect, Nigeria: This year's elections will affect local businesses due to lockdowns; and the fluctuation of the Naira caused by the introduction of new notes aimed at curbing vote buying could also hurt SMEs.
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