Umar Farook Ibrahim, an engineer, is the National President of Universal Multipurpose Chickens Corporative Society and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Universal Chicken Farms Limited. In this interview, he speaks on how PaywithSpecta has impacted on him and his businesses in a few months.
As a business owner, what are the new processes or approaches adopted by you to survive the challenging business environment of 2020?
A lot of businesses are currently passing through the challenges posed by a struggling economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses are suffering. The businesses that are really surviving are not too many and these are mainly service delivery and consumer based businesses.
So, businesses are really facing serious challenges. Their survival is in the hands of God. But Sterling Bank’s PaywithSpecta solution has helped my business a lot and we sincerely hope that the bank will keep up the good work. To me, the PaywithSpecta is second to none.
Is PaywithSpecta one of those innovations that made a difference in your business in 2020?
Yes, of course. Governments across the world have come up with initiatives to alleviate the suffering of the people and to support businesses to survive but surprisingly Sterling Bank’s PaywithSpecta came up with a product that is so supportive to business and to individuals. As a businessman of more than a decade, I have never seen anything like it. It is so good.
How did you know about the PaywithSpecta and what has been your experience with the solution?
I got to know about PaywithSpecta through a friend, but I am also an account holder with Sterling Bank.
How is the solution impacting on your business?
PaywithSpecta has a multi-dimensional way of affecting and impacting people. It starts from the customer who wants to purchase a product but does not have the money at hand. The bank simply profiles the customer and pays the business owner for the purchase. The customer is being supported by the bank without asking for collateral. If there is no customer, certainly there won’t be any business.
As poultry farmers, we have products like eggs, live chicken, frozen chicken and feeds, which our members are in dire need of. Although some of our members have the capacity to rear between 1,000 and 2,000 birds, they have no access to financial support to improve their businesses.
The palliatives that the government is giving to citizens do not trickle down to the masses, not to talk of impacting on their businesses. But PaywithSpecta helps to fulfil customers’ demands by giving them the purchasing power to buy goods and services with convenience. It imparts positively and directly on citizens’ wellbeing. PaywithSpecta provides the financial muscle for businesses to thrive.
The product gives customers the much-needed confidence to improve on their business pursuits. So, when we signed on as a merchant on Sterling Bank’s PaywithSpecta, our businesses improved within a short period because the business that we do demands high volume of money.
For instance, a farmer who has 500 chickens needs about 50 to 60 bags of feed and each bag costs about N5,000. So, if you calculate that, it is a huge amount of money. This is where PaywithSpecta comes in to play a part.
With the PaywithSpecta, we can readily acquire whatever materials we need to push our businesses. Our members are getting the right support from Sterling Bank’s PaywithSpecta. This product even trickles down to people roasting chicken by the roadside and those that sell chickens, including the eggs.
Will you recommend PaywithSpecta to other merchants?
I want to believe that a merchant who has not been profiled under PaywithSpecta needs to do so as fast as possible. I will readily recommend PaywithSpecta to merchants and advise that the bank carry out a lot of promo to let businessmen and women know how flexible the PaywithSpecta product is. With this, the bank will surely be ahead of competitors in the market. I can also boast that there is no bank that has done so much good to the economy of this country than Sterling Bank, especially in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
How are you creating awareness about PaywithSpecta to your customers?
I am sure that you saw a lot of our members gathering outside as you made your way into the office. That is how we have created awareness about this PaywithSpecta to our members and other customers. They are more than 120 in number and they are here for training on modern poultry farming and how they can improve their poultry farming businesses. So, we tell them that their turnover remains the determining factor to access the facility.
Right now, we are directing our members to Sterling Bank to open accounts whether they want to enjoy the facility or not. We also talk to our registered customers to ensure that they have good accounts with adequate turnover in order to access the facility. We expect that the bank would have a forum with their clients too to see how the product can be improved.
What exciting opportunities are you looking at for 2021?
The way we are going, I see a brighter future even though the economy is unpredictable. With the PaywithSpecta facility, I think the sky is our limit. I can see a brighter future in 2021. However, governments at all levels should provide the enabling environment to ensure that the banking industry is able to create wealth for their invaluable customers.