Bidvest Financial Services CFO Tendani Sikhwivhilu shares his priorities for 2023.
Over the last three years, South Africa has been hit with what has felt like an endless barrage of challenges. However, come Covid-19 or stage six loadshedding, South Africans have always managed to change bad news into good opportunities. This is what Bidvest Financial Services CFO Tendani Sikhwivhilu hopes to do in 2023.
Tendani shared the rest of his priorities for this year:
1. What would you like to achieve this year?
There is enough bad news around, especially when you listen to the media. I would like to look for opportunities in the bad. I know it is easier said than done, but you know what they say: “Never waste a good crisis.”
2. How have you seen higher stages of loadshedding affect your business?
We have seen some of our clients unable to trade due to loadshedding. Some of those clients don’t have energy back-ups available.
For Bidvest Financial Services specifically, one of our key strategic objectives is to reduce our emissions. We have key targets that are set as part of ESG. Loadshedding, however, has meant that we’ve had to rely more on diesel generators. This has negatively impacted our progress on carbon emissions.
3. How do you foresee tariff hikes impacting business further?
An 18 percent increase in electricity tariff will have a major impact across the economy. The cost of doing business will increase and some of these will be hard to pass onto the consumers.
Household disposable income will drop, given that salaries won’t increase at the same pace.
Some businesses won’t be able to absorb this increase, which means that there may be retrenchments in some sectors. This will also increase the unemployment rate, which is already too high.
Inflation is likely to increase, which means SARB will raise interest rates again. Debt will, as a result, become even more expensive. And it circles back to more businesses going into business rescue and liquidation, or ultimately closing.
The long and short of this is that the ripple effect is significant to the economy and everyone in it.
4. What are you doing to try and improve the company’s ESG targets?
ESG is an integral part of how we do business, so much so, that it is in every executive committee member’s KPIs. Some of our ESG goals for the new year include financing renewable energy, using recycling bins, having flowers that don’t absorb lots of water, and many more.
5. Do you have any words of encouragement for other CFOs taking on a new year of opportunities?
It is a privilege to be CFO. Our influence on the direction of business is massive. Let’s use this opportunity to have a meaningful, positive impact for all our stakeholders.