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Nigerian Ports Authority moves to recover ₦40 billion debt

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Port operators owing the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) are in for a tough time, as the parastatal’s management has given them a deadline of two weeks to pay up their debts. The operators are reportedly owing the agency over ₦40 billion.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had last month given Intels a two-week deadline to pay the sum of $48 million into its Treasury Single Account. Failure to do this, according to its Managing Director Hadiza Bala Usman, will lead to the termination of the agency’s agreement with the company.

Why did it take so long?

For a body desperately in need of money, why did it take so long to take steps to recover the money? Government agencies tend to take a shoddy approach towards collecting revenue, but that appears to have changed with the current management.

Operators at the ports have often complained of their poor state and a lack of equipment. From time to time so-called port rats pilfer contents in containers. Many importers prefer to ship their goods to neighboring ports and bring them through land borders.

A haircut may be needed

Payment of all debts may be difficult, as many of the operators are currently struggling. The economic recession of the last two years, lead to a downturn in activities at the port. The NPA may have to take a haircut on some of these debts.

The Nigerian Ports Authority was established by the Ports Act of 1954. Its mandate includes Ownership and administration of land and water within port limits, Planning, and development of port operational infrastructure., as well as leasing and concession of port infrastructure and set a  benchmark for tariff structure.

Other duties include maintenance of safety and security in the common user areas, and enacting port regulations and bye-laws as well as monitor and enforce them.

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Onome Ohwovoriole has a degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin and prior to joining Nairametrics in December 2016 as Lead Analyst had stints in Publishing, Automobile Services, Entertainment and Leadership Training.He covers companies in the Nigerian corporate space, especially those listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).He also has a keen interest in new frontiers like Cryptocurrencies and Fintech. In his spare time, he loves to read books on finance, fiction as well as keep up with happenings in the world of international diplomacy.You can contact him via [email protected]

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Corporate deals

DEAL: Nigerian fintech software provider, Appzone raises $10m to scale its products and services

Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa.

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Appzone a fintech software provider that builds proprietary solutions for financial institutions and their banking and payments services announced that it has closed $10 million in Series A investment.

The Series A round was led by CardinalStone Capital Advisers, a Lagos-based investment firm. Other investors include V8 Capital, Constant Capital, and Itanna Capital Ventures. New York-based but Africa-focused firm Lateral Investment Partners also participated.

Founded in 2008 by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, Appzone functions as an enabler (at payment rails and the core infrastructure) within banking and payments.

READ: Shola Akinlade: The inspiration behind Paystack’s success

Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa. Together, they amass a yearly transaction value and yearly loan disbursement of $2 billion and $300million.

Before now, Appzone closed a $2 million deal from South African Business Connexion (BCX) in 2014. Four years later, it raised $2.5 million in convertible debt and bought back shares from BCX in the process. But overall, the company says it has raised $15 million in equity funding.

This new funding will be used to scale its products and services and expand across more African countries. The startup also plans to achieve scale by growing its engineering team.

READ: From Chemist to Bank CEO – The Story of Uzoma Dozie

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What they are saying

Yomi Jemibewon, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cardinal Stone Capital Advisers, said the firm’s investment in Appzone is further proof of Africa’s potential as the future hub of world-class technology.

READ: Bill Gates holds far more cash than Nigeria’s foreign reserve

Appzone is building a disruptive fintech ecosystem that will be the backbone of Africa’s finance industry with products across payments, infrastructure, and software as a service. The impact of Appzone’s work is multifold — the company’s products deepen financial inclusion across the continent whilst providing best-fit and low-cost solutions to financial institutions. Its emphasis on premium talent also helps stem brain drain, rewarding Africa’s best brains with best-in-class employment opportunities.”

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Business News

Industries to watch for technology innovation in 2021

Agric, health, insurance, and food delivery sectors are taking the center stage in tech innovations.

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How five Nigerian tech-startups are tackling COVID-19 outbreak

Every year, the innovations unlocked by technology grows at a rapid rate. Major disruptions like a pandemic, always reveal opportunities for technology to advance a society. In Nigeria, the pandemic forced many industries to adopt technology in nearly every facet of their operations.

Taking a closer look at the technology trends that are likely to bring significant innovation and growth this year, we see companies in the Agric, health, insurance, and food delivery sectors taking the center stage. These industries appear to have a promising future in 2021 and beyond.

Agriculture

Agric-tech platforms have become the new face of modern-day Agriculture. These platforms offer promising benefits ranging from good dividends to high return on investments to promising investors. The funds are then invested in agricultural projects that will yield the required returns to pay all the stakeholders (farmers, investors, and Agric-tech platform owners) at the end of a production cycle.

According to statistics, Agriculture accounts for over 20 percent of Nigeria’s GDP with an arable land area of 34 million hectares: 6.5 million hectares for permanent crops, and 30.3 million hectares on meadows and pastures. Farmers need a productivity boost and technology is providing that with the rise of Agric tech companies like Thrive Agric, Farm crowdy, etc.

Insurance

The insurance industry started experiencing a revolution with the adoption of InsurTech.

InsurTech became the major growth driver for industrial innovation throughout the insurance industry. With the diverse range of wealth management products, everyone can live without the worries of the future. There are innovative insurance products for protection, savings, and reward systems. Insurtechs like Casava, Curacel, Tangerinelife are rising to build products that cater and provide insurance to individuals and corporate entities.

Health

Nigeria’s health care system has gone from being comparable to the rest of the world in the 70s and early 80s, to one of the world’s most underfunded sectors. As the sector struggles to cater to the health needs of nearly 200 million people, an innovative technology scene has created a new wave of startups focused on combating challenges in Nigeria’s health sector. An example is helium health which helps medical institutions document and record their patients’ medical history. Medplus has a platform in which a patient can upload his prescription and also have it delivered to his location. Healthplus runs one of West Africa’s largest integrated pharmacy chains and also provides a platform where loyal customers are rewarded via a scoring system.

Food Delivery

The demand for food delivery was at an all-time high during the pandemic. This gave rise to FoodTech. FoodTech startups combine food science and technology to enhance the service delivery of the industry by using Internet-based technologies for the preparation and distribution of food. Foodtech like Jumia food, Chopnownow, ourEdenlife, and boltfood have made food delivery easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone.

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What this means

Many innovative technologies will continue to be introduced as the world evolves, although some industries may take longer to adapt and integrate new technologies into their products and services. This year we expect massive results and innovations across different sectors and industries.

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