Achieving robust digital economy goes beyond policies – Alerzo CEO
The Chief Executive Officer, Alerzo Limited, Adewale Opaleye has urged government agencies saddled with the responsibility of deepening Nigeria’s e-commerce ecosystem to look beyond policy formation towards achieving a robust digital economy for the nation.
According to him, to spark digital activities and generate traffic needed for the desired growth of the digital economy, more businesses, especially in the retail sector, have to transit online, and at the forefront of this transaction is e-commerce.
He explained further to BusinessDay in a chart on the overall outlook of e-commerce for the year that activities of e-commerce platforms, especially the business-to-business (B2B) segment of the sector, consolidate the federal government effort in the drive towards a vibrant digital economy.
To propel the country towards attaining a vibrant digital economy, the federal government unveiled the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 to 2030 roadmap. Led by the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, government agencies such as National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) have been formulating policy directions towards a vibrant digital economy for Nigeria.
According to Opaleye, B2B e-commerce platforms allow local retailers to improve their businesses and become profitable, encouraging small businesses to hire more staff in support of production and/or distribution activities.
Beyond this, he explained that there are far-reaching impacts of the e-commerce platforms combined to drive the overall growth of the economy. He posits that e-commerce facilitates economic development in Nigeria by allowing entrepreneurs (retailers) to embark on new innovative projects.
“B2B digital platforms enable hundreds of SMEs across Nigeria to run profitable and sustainable businesses, benefiting from the economics of digitization to achieve a significant increase in their activity level,” said Opaleye.
Accordingly, he opined that B2B platforms like Alerzo are also shaping the Nigerian narrative by showcasing attractive investment opportunities to the world, while also reaching people in rural areas by providing access to an extensive catalog of products and logistics.
“For instance, Alerzo, through AlerzoPay, is contributing to the development of dematerialized payment solutions which are key to the success of e-commerce and an important asset for Nigeria when it comes to development prospects,” Opaleye stated.
According to him, Alerzo directly employs more than 1,700 people in its operational chain. With 58 online marketplaces in the Nigerian e-commerce space, activities in the business-to-consumer segment of the market have been remarkable. While the B2C segment gained acceptance, the informal retail sector which is an integral part of Nigeria’s economy was hitherto left behind.
The Federal government recently espoused the improving impact of e-commerce on the country’s economy, saying the current e-commerce spending in Nigeria has grown to $13billion per annum and is expected to hit $75billion in revenue per annum by 2025. It also said e-commerce grew in Nigeria from 14 percent in 2019 to 17 percent in 2020.
The government has also expressed passion about the growing investment opportunities in the e-commerce value chain, which are capable of contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to Opaleye, in the last three years, innovative e-commerce brands like Alerzo, TradeDepot, Omnibiz have taken up the challenge of bringing the $100 billion Nigerian informal retail market into the growing digital community.