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Making Most of Sachet Model: Changing Banking, Insurance, Real Estate, Investment and Telecoms Landscape

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Timi Olubiyi Sachet Model

By Timi Olubiyi, PhD

Sachets dominate the retail industry, particularly the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), in many parts of Africa but more significantly in Nigeria, where the population is high and there is a huge demand for consumer goods.

Therefore, sachet products or single-serve packs, as they are normally called in the FMCG industry, are dominating the retail landscape and they are products that can be consumed at once or ready for single usage.

In colloquial terms, the model is referred to “sachetisation” which is known to have kicked off in Nigeria in the ’90s with the making of smaller sachets of drinking water (pure water) and Cowbell powdered milk by Promasidor.

Then, the idea was necessitated by innovation to penetrate the larger low- or no-income populace, however, the idea was later followed by intense and stiff competition.

Today, literature suggests that over 60 million units of pure water is consumed per day with loads of other sachet pack products in Nigeria.

The sachet trend has continued to expand due to shrinking income levels, wide-spread hardship, and rising poverty amongst the populace and these no doubt have caused the growing adoption of sachet packs in the country in recent times.

More so, for companies, the tough operating environment, decrepit infrastructure, porous borders, waning bulk consumption has further heightened the need for the sachet model adoption.

Both individuals and businesses are feeling the weight of the economic challenges and over time, the disposable income of consumers continues to wane. Besides, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, economic recession and the high inflation rate in recent times in the country have also continued to worsen the situation, majorly eroding the purchasing power of many individuals, households, and even companies.

The current economic situation has also made products and services more expensive nationwide. In fact, many manufacturing companies are witnessing reduced patronage because not everyone can afford the bulk purchase or regular packs, and consumers continue to look for cheaper alternatives.

So, “sachetisation” is a business strategy and an alternative to engaging customers continually in this trying time. The idea is to make products affordable to consumers, in particular, the majority that are daily income earners and that constitute the large chunk of the country’s population.

Most companies have resolved to adopt the “sachetisation” model to give some of the poorest people in Nigeria access to everyday household essentials with ease and for continuous patronage.

In fact, companies continue to innovate and roll out sachet products to enable them to penetrate the larger low-income markets which are the worst-hit economically. Also, for the companies this time, it is a way to increase sales within the customers who cannot afford to buy in larger quantities.

History has it that “sachetisation” is not something that just began in Nigeria of Africa. The ‘sachetised’ products have long been part of the Indian culture, which is believed to have pioneered the bite-sizing of consumers’ products and commodities some 70 years ago, beginning with tea, of course, in small paper pouches tucking precious leaves just enough to make tea for two.

Even though the sachet model saves wastage with portion control, it requires minimum packaging materials, less storage, low shipping, and transportation cost, and most importantly, it is pocket friendly to the end-users.

However, the painful truth and disclosure are that this trend is an indication of income inequality, unaffordability, the wide gap between the haves and have nots, high unemployment rate, dwindling economy, and high level of poverty in the country.

Supportably, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in the “2019 Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria” report highlights that 40 per cent of the total population, or almost 83 million people, live below the country’s poverty line of N137,430 ($381.75) per year.

This figure even appears underestimated in my opinion due to lack of data on the extremely huge informal sector of the country.

However, these sachet products give the poor in the country the access to everyday household essentials even though their disposable income continues to shrink in real terms.

From observation, hardly is there any market leading FMCG company in Nigeria that has not manufactured a single-serve pack (sachet packed product) just to capture the poor consumers.

To buttress the adoption of this model, the various operators in the open markets in the country, unknowingly practice the sachet model on perishables, vegetables, and foodstuffs freely; all due to economic reasons and the waning purchasing power of the consumers.

The regular essential consumables that are noticeable in sachet are milk, detergent, cooking oil, cereal, margarine, liquor, pepper mix (pepper, tomatoes and onions), toothpaste, sugar, tomato sauce, shampoo, cornflakes, seasoning/spices, biscuits, dishwashing liquid, shaving sticks, cereals, bleach, Lipton sachet with just two tea bags, diaper sachet with just two units, disinfectant and energy drink amongst others.

From sampled opinion, this sachet trend is on the increase in a bid for companies to continue to increase market share, increase market penetration, and remain competitive.

The important thing is that the trend is now becoming increasingly popular and even choice brands are not left out of the growing wave.

An example is the revered creamy liquor brand, Baileys, which has always packaged its products in special bottles of different sizes, has adopted “sachetisation” as well. This is to encourage quick sell and increase competitiveness in the consumer goods space, where affordability continues to be a big issue.

It is a common argument that consumer goods are needed by humans irrespective of social class to reasonably live and survive. But the common trend in Nigeria is that the low-income earners, also known as Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP), most time ends up paying more for consumer products than the rich who buy the regular packs and sometimes in huge quantities.

Simply put, the poor pay more than the rich for the same basic products in real terms in Nigeria.

For instance, the retail price of a 50g sachet of cereal is N100, 10 sachets cost N1000 (50g X 10 = 500g). However, the retail price of a 500g pack is N750.

Conspicuously, purchasing 500g sachets of cereal cost approximately 33% more. Even imagine, in some cases, an additional 50g to 100g comes as an extra giveaway on a 500g pack when purchased during promotion time at no cost. The reality is that poor Nigerians are under-served and over-charged with consumer goods while the rich spend even less.

Importantly, companies need to note that the population of the poor in the country continues to grow, indicating that those unwilling to flow with the sachet trend will be at risk of running out of business.

Considering the economic grieves in the country, the trend is beneficial as regards patronage, sales, and business continuity. No doubt, the sachet model is on the increase in the country and it is currently a winning strategy to sell what a large percentage of the population can afford.

All said, the points raised above are not to completely justify “sachetisation” as a business strategy but to also implore the government to look at measures to tackle multidimensional poverty- which includes food security, housing, health, education, and security which directly impact the wellbeing of the populace.

Therefore, government poverty reduction aspirations need to be heightened to mitigate the chronic hardship in the country and socio-economic plans need to be in place to lift more people out of extreme poverty and this should be a priority now.

The environmental implications particularly waste disposal is another huge matter that seems to require great attention because sachets add to the compounding problem of pollution in the country.

Therefore, key policies and measures to encourage proper waste management, and recycling in the country should also be considered to avoid huge environmental pollution.

In conclusion, context observation indicates “sachetisation” is now more like a necessity than an option in the country due to increased deprivation in myriad aspects of life.

The telecommunication and some real estate companies in the country are currently exploring the sachet model with their various smart (sachet) pack products with daily payment options.

Above all, it is not even out of place to mention that just like these companies and the FMCG, the financial sector- banking, insurance, and investment management companies and even the Cable TV operators can ‘sachetised’ to make services more accessible and affordable for the masses.

However, leveraging innovation and technology will be of great significance to achieve this. Good luck!

How may you obtain advice or further information on the article?

Dr Timi Olubiyi, an Entrepreneurship & Business Management expert with a PhD in Business Administration from Babcock University Nigeria. A prolific investment coach, seasoned scholar, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) registered capital market operator. He can be reached on the Twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: drtimiolubiyi@gmail.com, for any questions, reactions, and comments.

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Islamic Estate Planning: Protect Your Family and Leave a Legacy

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Islamic Estate Planning

By FBNQuest

Islamic estate planning involves the distribution of your assets that serve to preserve, manage, and distribute them after death according to the principles of the Shari’ah.

According to the Islamic ordinance, those principles are significant in planning for dependents and represent an investment in the afterlife.

Islamic inheritance laws organise your wealth ownership and assets to ensure fairness and justice after your passing. Instead of leaving the tough decisions to grieving family members, you can arrange the gifting of your assets in advance. This creates a streamlined process for the distribution of the inheritance to all family members.

Islamic estate planning is essential in the life of Muslim faithful. Indeed, if you pass away as a Muslim without a proper plan for your assets, you may be breaching the bequest guidance stated in the Holy Book, which serves as an instruction manual for a Muslim’s life.

However, many are not concerned with making an inheritance plan, even though a failure to make one could trigger intense family debate and hinder the transfer of some assets to specific beneficiaries.

According to the guiding principles of Islamic estate planning, after covering the funeral expenses and debts owed by the deceased, a person may designate up to one-third of their wealth.

This discretionary giving is known as the Wasiyyah. However, there are limitations to this discretionary giving.

For example, Wasiyyah cannot be given to someone already receiving a share under the Islamic inheritance laws. The Wasiyyah is most commonly given to charity or to care for distant relatives who cannot provide for themselves.

The residual two-thirds is the Mirath and is reserved for the Islamic heirs as ordained in the Holy Book. Primary beneficiaries are those who will inherit some of your wealth, provided that they are alive and Muslim. These are your spouse, children, and parents, and they receive a fixed share of the wealth.

Secondary beneficiaries are those whose share of the inheritance is contingent on whether other primary beneficiaries are still alive. These may include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. It is vital to appreciate the rights and obligations relating to an estate.

In preparing to bequeath an inheritance, it is crucial to organise your wealth in a manner that will make assets acceptable for consideration in an Islamic estate plan.

In this regard, investments should be screened for compliance with Islamic estate ethics, and investments in interest-bearing assets are disqualified.

Instead, it would help if you endeavoured to invest in increasingly popular Sukuk bonds. You should consider Mudarabah Investment accounts as substitutes to fixed deposit accounts and subscribe to a family takaful policy instead of a life insurance policy in your saving plans.

As for pension assets, you should opt for a multi-fund structure with an option to invest in Shari’ah-compliant instruments.

Zakat, the third pillar of Islam, is a compulsory giving required from every financially stable Muslim. Those who have acquired wealth are obligated to respond to people in need and give back to the community. This response could include sponsoring widows or the education students and organising in a charitable Trust as part of an Islamic estate plan.

Therefore, you must consult a professional estate planner to assist with setting up a Trust arrangement where 2.5% of your assets/wealth is set aside annually for Zakat.

Several other tools can be used to organise the transfer of assets to a specific beneficiary. They include Hiba (making gifts), Waqf (setting up an endowment or trust), Wasiyya (transfers by donation), and it is appointing a Wasi or guardian for living dependents. Getting it right requires a thorough understanding of the principles of Islamic estate planning and the various assets available to achieve compliance.

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Governor Okowa’s 2023 Presidency; an Objective Analysis

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Governor Okowa's 2023 Presidency

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

This piece stemmed from three recent developments in the country. First is the latest argument by development minded Nigerians that the nation’s perennial leadership haemorrhage/crisis is aggregated by a successive deficiency in leadership vision and in some cases made worse by public officials’ understanding and interpretation of problems with clarity but lacking in political will to see through or implement solutions. A development that has made the nation in dire need of a system that works, a government that caters for its citizens, especially the youths, secures lives and property while bolstering the economy.

The second and very germane is the Southern Governors Forum insistence that the presidency must shift to the southern part of the country come 2023, coupled with the recent decision by the main opposition party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to zone the position of the national chairman of the party to the north.

As we know, it is a political principle embraced by major political parties in Nigeria that each time the national chairman of a political party emerges from the north, the presidential candidate of the same party, usually, emerges from the south where the likes of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State hails from.

Thirdly and most essential has to do with the fresh call by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, on Mr Okowa to contest for the presidency of the country in 2023.

The Minority Leader, who spoke at the installation of Rotary Club’s 2nd President for 2021/2022 Rotary Club Year (Club of Asaba Downtown District 9141), pointed out that Governor Okowa should serve as the President of the nation so that he can replicate his achievements in massive infrastructural and human capital development in Delta State at the national level.

He stressed that Governor Okowa was endowed with the capacity and proficiency to rescue the nation from the misrule of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and reposition her to the path of peace, unity and economic prosperity.

“I must commend Governor Okowa for his selfless service and sacrifices that have led to unprecedented massive infrastructural development in our dear state as well as a better living standard for our people.

“Governor Okowa is a rare gift not only to Delta State but also to our nation Nigeria, at large. I firmly hold that he is endowed with the capacity and proficiency to serve our nation at the topmost level so that he can replicate the successes recorded in our state at the national level.

“I sincerely call on him to make him available to serve the nation again. He deserves to be the president of this country, come 2023,” Elumelu stated.

However, despite the popularity of this opinion, it will be antithetical to support a movement based on sentiment or allow sentiment to determine our actions. Therefore, in line with the Christian Holy Book, the Bible, admonished in 1 John 4; 1 that we do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

It will, for reasons, be of considerable significance to place this call under objective analysis to fundamentally help electorates make informed decisions ‘as the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all’.

To perform this function well, it will necessitate the following posers; Is Governor Okowa capped with vital leadership capacity needed to tame the nation’s perennial ‘leadership haemorrhage/crisis aggregated by a successive deficiency in leadership vision and made worse by public official’s understanding and interpretation of problems with clarity but lacking in political will to see through or implement solutions? Has Governor Okowa truly achieved massive infrastructural and human capital development in Delta State? Has he indeed and in truth demonstrated selfless service and sacrifices as claimed by Mr Elumelu?

Again, going by Elumelu’s claim, another question would be at the federal level, are there signs of misrules on the part of the APC led federal government that calls for Okowa’s attention to reposition the nation to the path of peace, unity and economic prosperity?

Again, on May 29, 2015, amidst cheers and jubilation from the marmot crowd that attended his swearing-in ceremony at the Cenotaph in Asaba, Okowa, going by media reports, told his audience that, “As a government, we are committed to the building and consolidation of a state in which there shall be more employment opportunities, a flourishing agriculture and agribusiness sector, effective health and educational systems, renewed urban infrastructure and enhanced security and peace to bolster economic growth and development.”

Now, looking at the past six years of his administration, it will elicit the question as to how well has the Governor brought these promises to fruition? Also, at the national level, how relevant is Governor Okowa when it comes to issues of national urgent importance? As the current Governor of Delta State, what particulars can Okowa led government point at to convince Nigerians that he can effectively administer the federation?

In providing answers to these nagging questions beginning with the last question, it must be fundamentally underlined that separate from the fact that Delta State, to use the words of Governor Okowa, is a microcosm of Nigeria because she is populated by different ethnic nationalities and has had inter-ethnic conflicts/clashes, fatal boundary disputes, especially over oil-bearing land, and political tensions, a case that in my views qualifies a governor of such state to effectively lead the federation, Governor Okowa, as subsequent paragraph will show, since assumption of office on May 29, 2015, demonstrated that for the leader to distinguish himself, he has to be a shining light and as such, he should be in a position to break the retrogressive tendencies that subsist in doing what one does not wish to do.

To capture this claim well, this piece will further x-ray/classify the achievements of Governor Okowa’s administration into two.

First, achievements at the state levels which has to do with policy objectives/programmes implementation aimed at creating jobs and wealth (wealth creation and employment generation), economic diversification, the democratization of the education sector, infrastructural development, re-jigging/provision of the state’s security architecture in the state, engagement of the youths in productive enterprise, nurture of entrepreneurs and leaders, promotion of communal peace and development of a database of employment and unemployed youths for planning purposes. The second focuses on his unrelenting nation-building efforts at the federal level.

Evidence abounds that the Governor in pursuance of these objectives compressed his programmes into a five-point agenda which is encapsulated in the acronym SMART.

The SMART agenda means Strategic wealth creation projects and provision of jobs for all Deltans; Meaningful peacebuilding platforms aimed at political and social harmony; Agricultural reforms and accelerated industrialization; Relevant health and educational policies and; Transformed environment through urban renewal.

Take the wealth creation and employment generation, as an illustration, the Governor himself recently but succulently captured his achievements in this way; “we have a deliberate policy to tackle youth unemployment through skills training and entrepreneurship development programmes. I believe that the way out of the unemployment quagmire is to equip the youth with the technical know-how, vocational skills, values and resources to become self-employed, as distinct from one-off empowerment. This is what my administration has done by instituting various skills training and entrepreneurship development programmes, which include: Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP); Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP); Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP); Rural Youth Skills Acquisition Programme (RYSA); Girls Entrepreneurship Skills Training (GEST); and Women Entrepreneurship Skills Acquisition Programme (WESAP).”

These programmes he said are trainee-centred and service-oriented. The sectors and activities covered include agriculture, agricultural value chain services, vocational skills-based microenterprises and cottage enterprises.

Furthermore, the training and mentoring processes aim beyond raising entrepreneurs to produce leaders and managers that have high levels of personal responsibility and effectiveness. I am pleased to let you know that after six years of faithful implementation of these programmes, we have trained and given business support packages to several thousands of youths.

Following the success of these interventions and other efforts in promoting technical education, Delta State was ranked the Best State in Human Capital Development in the 2017 States Peer Review by the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria.

Also in 2020, Delta was adjudged to be the Second Least Poor State, coming only after Lagos, Nigeria’s business hub, according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

From the above observations, it is obvious that he (Okowa) in my view is a Presidential material the nation needs to exit the unemployment crisis and economic retardation. However, in order not to be accused of indulging in hasty conclusions, this piece will go beyond the Governor’s wealth creation and employment generation prowess, to x-ray his efforts in other sectors.

To Be Continued.

Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374.

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The Effects of Home Loans on the Cost of Living Post-COVID

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Home Loans on the Cost of Living

COVID-19 has been a disaster for many people globally, one reason being the effect of the pandemic on the cost of living.

As the cost of living is rising while wages remain stagnant, it’s becoming apparent that many people are struggling to pay off their existing commitments. As a result of such obligations, more and more people seek refinancing options to lower their mortgage rates and reduce monthly expenses.

This post will cover how COVID-19 has affected home loan rates and the part it plays in the rising cost of living.

How Has COVID-19 Stressed Out The World Economies?

While it’s inevitable that no country can escape the effects of a global pandemic, some countries have weathered the storm better than others. For example, as you can see in the image above by Compare The Market Refinance Quotes, the US, Australia, and Denmark seem to be the least financially stressed of world economies, with manageable home loan rates being a significant factor. This has allowed these countries to cope with the negative effects that COVID-19 has had on the cost of living.

Other countries may be able to copy the decisions made by these governments to help restore their economies. Nevertheless, many individuals of these countries and others still find it challenging to pay their bank loans and mortgages.

How Are Home Loans Affecting The Cost Of Living Post-COVID-19?

In March 2020, many countries worldwide implemented a debt moratorium to alleviate household debt burdens due to the coronavirus pandemic. These moratoriums have already expired in many places, which raises some tough questions regarding what additional policies should be adopted to address the pandemic’s lingering effects.

With people facing the challenge of prioritizing their payments, especially when considering the rapid increase in inflation that many countries are experiencing, many have turned to various financial tools such as refinancing to get them through these difficult times.

What Is Loan Refinancing?

Loan refinancing is when you take out a new loan to replace the old one. There are many reasons why you might want to refinance your loans; you may not be happy with how much money you are spending each month on your monthly payments, or maybe you have another loan with a higher interest rate that will save you money in the long run. In these uncertain times, refinancing is becoming more popular.

However, it’s important to note that refinancing only works if you have good credit and still owe some of the original balance of your original loan. Not all types of loans can be refinanced, but here are five loan types can:

  • Student loans
  • Credit card balances
  • Auto loans
  • Mortgage
  • Various bank loans

In conclusion, the effects of home loans on the cost of living are pretty significant for many people, not just in the US but also worldwide. This has caused many to use refinancing as the cost of inflation rises.

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