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New report casts doubt over future funding for small businesses in Nigeria

Over $1 billion has been lost to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises-related corruption in the last five years, a new report has shown. Some of the corruption-prone schemes include constituency projects and @cenbank development fund.

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Over $1 billion has been lost to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises-related corruption in the last five years, a new report has shown. Most of the corruption-prone schemes include constituency projects and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) development fund.

According to the report titled “Stolen Dreams: How Corruption Negates Governments Assistance to Nigeria’s Small Businesses”, it was disclosed that this discovery could negatively impact the government’s support for MSME development in Nigeria.

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The report was recently unveiled in Abuja, along with another report titled “State of Youth Unemployment” in Nigeria. The Stolen Dreams report covered MSME activities from 2014 to 2018.

Why this matter: According to the Lead Partner of Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Initiative (SEEDi), Mr. Celestine Okeke, the $1 billion that was lost to MSME-related corruption within a four-year period, exceeded Nigeria’s combined capital expenditure on health and education during the same period.

Also, the more capital the Federal Government losses to MSMEs-related corrupt, they more it is discouraged from making further disbursement and prompting conscious funding of the sector. As a result, many legitimate small business owners would be denied access to the fund they need to grow their businesses.

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Corruption-prone schemes: The report outlined some corruption-prone Nigerian Government MSME spending, including the N156 billion ($433.3 million) for constituency projects from 2016 to 2018, N39 billion ($236.4 million) CBN development fund for MSMEs, N10 billion ($27.8 million) cassava bread initiative and N153 billion ($4.3 million) NDE programme.

The report was supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)

What is OSIWA? The Group is a West African organisation which promotes democratic values. It works through a unique combination of grantmaking, advocacy, partnership building, and technical assistance. The group supports the production of publications and research studies; run advocacy campaigns.

How corrupt individuals succeed: The report stated that Nigerian officials use populist, private sector-friendly rhetoric to justify new MSME assistance programmes, even though such schemes nothing but a drain on public finances. Corruption and mismanagement typically negate the intended impacts of such schemes.

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There’s a problem: Okeke stated that the anti-corruption agencies have shown little interest in investigating the increasing rate of corruption. This means that the amount lost so far is likely to increase and individuals like the civil servants, unscrupulous business people, legislators, and some presidential appointees would go on preventing the realisation of dreams; no thanks to their corrupt activities.

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According to Okeke, there’s a need for more transparent implementation of these funds in order to actualise the intended objectives for small businesses.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: fakoyejo.olalekan@nairametrics.com.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anodebenze

    May 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    corruption,you have not told us how this corruption did happen.with the amount you mention.it will change some people.The money is very huge in spite of any corruption,it will affect the economy.my main reason for this.for years,business in Nigeria was strictly private.for the first time with a few exception in previous govt e.g Gen babangida’s govt,obasanjo govt even GEJ govt,the govt is intervening.
    I think it is about mis-managment and incompetency.you should sample the opinion of those recievers of this govt fund did they received adequate fund ?did this fund changed our lives ?

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Ecobank Transnational to hold AGM by proxies on June 30th

Due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, ETI said the AGM will be held by proxies.

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has announced the date and venue of its 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM). According to a disclosure that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company’s AGM and an Extraordinary Meeting are scheduled to hold on June 30th, 2020, at Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, ETI said the AGM will be held by proxies. The proxy AGM is expected to enable the Pan-African financial institution to abide by the directives issued by governments and agencies regarding COVID-19 and how to contain its spread.

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“As a responsible corporate citizen, ETI intends to strictly comply with this restriction in addition to other applicable health and safety measures. Accordingly, attendance at this year’s General Meetings shall be mainly by proxies in accordance with the Articles of Association of the Company and applicable law,” a statement by the company said.

To this end, shareholders have been advised to select any of the company’s top executives (including the Chairman, Emmanuel Ikazoboh, and the MD of Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan) to represent and vote on their behalf during the AGM. Proxy forms may be downloaded from the company’s website, filled, and submitted in advance.

READ ALSO: NSE commemorates FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s N5 billion Bond Listing with Digital Closing Gong Ceremony

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Meanwhile, the issues that are up for discussion during the AGM and the Extra Ordinary meeting are enumerated below.

Annual General Meeting

1. Approval of the accounts
2. Appropriation of the Profits
3. Election of Directors
4. Ratification of the co-option of directors
5. Renewal of the appointment of the joint auditors
6. Approval of the Final Board Fees for Retiring Directors

Extraordinary General Meeting

1. Withdrawal of resolution on consolidation of shares
2. Amendment of the Articles

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Note that in Q1 2020, ETI reported profited after-tax from continuing operation of N66.4 billion, marking a 19% decline when compared to N81.9 billion during the comparable period in 2019.

ETI’s share price on the Nigerian Stock Exchange closed Friday’s trading session at N5.55. The company has a market capitalisation of about N137.3 billion according to information obtained from Bloomberg.

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NNPC explains measures to cut cost of crude oil production

Ewubare stated that NNPC was looking very closely at such variables as logistics, security, and transportation with a view to reducing the cost of production to $10 per barrel or below. 

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that it is taking some measures to bring down the cost of crude oil production to $10 per barrel or below. 

According to a press statement that was signed by NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, this was disclosed by the Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ventures and Business Development, Mr. Roland Ewubare, on a Channels TV breakfast programme on Friday, June 5, 2020. 

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Ewubare pointed out that the peculiarity of the terrain was an important factor in determining cost, with such issues as pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, and some others being critical factors that are peculiar to the Nigerian terrain and would definitely drive up crude oil production cost in the country. 

READ ALSO: NNPC unveils COVID-19 contacts tracing app, marketers to buy petroleum products online

He, however, stated that NNPC was looking very closely at such variables as logistics, security, and transportation with a view to reducing cost of production to $10 per barrel or below. 

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He disclosed that much had been done over the years in the area of reducing contracting cycle which used to be a major factor responsible for high cost of production, stressing that the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) achieved a six-month contracting cycle under him as Group General Manager. 

Mr. Ewubare denied reports that Nigeria is part of OPEC+ member countries that did not comply with the output cut that was agreed by the alliance 

Mr. Ewubare explained that though Nigeria’s total production capacity was 2.3million barrels per day, it was currently producing only about 1.4million barrels per day in compliance with the OPEC+ production quota, stressing that what makes up the little extra over the 1.4mbpd figure being bandied around for Nigeria was condensate which is usually not computed as part of production in OPEC quota.  

READ MORE: NNPC seeks Russian firms’ partnership to revamp oil refineries  

While making some clarification, Ewubare said, There’s some confusion in the market around the parameters for the production cuts. Nigeria has a full production capacity of about 2.3mbpd. We are currently producing between 1.6 and 1.7mbpd. Our OPEC quota as a result of the cuts is about 1.4mbpd. You and I know that condensate is not included in the computation of the cut numbers. So what we have is 1.4mbpd of crude oil. The little you see above 1.4mbpd is made up of condensate which does not count as part of the basis for assessing our OPEC quota”. 

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NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, in a recent interview, advanced a similar position where he stressed that NNPC was working assiduously to bring down the cost of crude oil production to not more than $10 per barrel by 2021.  

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NNPC raises alarm over low grade, contaminated diesel in the market

This warning was contained in a report by the Managing Director, NNPC Retail Limited Managing Director, Dr. Billy Okoye, who also admonished motorists to be careful of the off-spec products. 

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has raised alarm over the circulation of low grade and contaminated AGO, popularly known as diesel, which is offered at discounted prices in some parts of the country. 

This was disclosed in a press release by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr Kennie Obateru, on Friday June 5, 2020. 

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This warning was contained in a report by the Managing Director, NNPC Retail Limited Managing Director, Dr. Billy Okoye, who also admonished motorists to be careful of the off-spec products. 

READ MORE: FG projects $2 billion annual revenue from Escravos Gas project

The state oil giant, in the press statement, said, “The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has raised an alarm over prevalent low grade and contaminated AGO, otherwise called diesel, offered at discounted prices in parts of the country.” 

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Dr. Okoye, stated that the warning became necessary because the low grade contaminated diesel is harmful to machines and the environment. He explained that NNPC Retail Ltd is a market leader and therefore considered it incumbent upon it to alert the general public on the circulation of these low grade products. 

While urging consumers of the product to patronize the oil firm’s service stations where the quality of their products was assured, Dr. Okoye gave assurances that NNPC Retail Limited dealt only in premium high-quality products in the interest of Nigerian motorists and users. 

READ MORE: Fitch revises national ratings of GTBank, Zenith bank

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Unlike the premium motor spirit otherwise known as petrol, which was operating a fixed price regime and had NNPC as the sole importer, the diesel products were deregulated and had other independent marketers apart from NNPC importing the products as well. 

The intense competition and unhealthy drive for profit, in addition to poor regulation, could have given rise to this.  

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