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Business News

Investors to access N300 billion as FG set to privatise power companies

The Federal Government has concluded plans to privatise the remaining 10 Nigerian National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) after signing an MoU with InfraCredit.

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NIPP, GenCos to halt supply if NBET insists on new service charge, Gencos want Discos’ job as it seeks to sell electricity directly to customers , Nigeria secures $210 million facility to boost power infrastructure,

The Federal Government has concluded plans to privatise the remaining 10 Nigerian National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an infrastructure credit enhancement firm (InfraCredit) to provide up to N300 billion for investors.

The Privatisation which will be carried out this year by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), has been described as part of the Government’s efforts to boost power supply for Nigeria’s industrial expansion vision.

The Director-General of the BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, disclosed the development in Abuja during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with InfraCredit, for the guarantee of a longer tenor credit of up to 15 years for prospective investors in the NIPPs.

[READ: Despite FG’s N900 billion investment, Nigeria’s power sector remains in failing state]

Back Story: The NIPP project was initiated in 2004 during the administration of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Its aim was to resolve power generation issues and excessive gas flaring resulting from oil exploration in Nigeria.

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The project included eleven power plants, four FGN Power Stations, and seven power plants in gas-producing states. Some of these include:

  • Alaoji Power Station, Abia State,
  • Omotosho II Power Station, Ondo State,
  • Olorunsogo II Power Station, Ogun State,
  • Geregu II Power Station, Kogi State.
  • Ihovbor Power Station Benin,
  • Calabar Power Station, Cross River State
  • Egbema Power Station, Imo State
  • Gbarain Power Station, Yenagoa
  • Sapele Power Station
  • Omoku Power Station, Rivers State, and
  • Ikot Abasi Power Station, Akwa Ibom.

Together, the project reportedly generated contracts worth $414 million for the supply of turbines and electricity generation equipment to General Electric (GE).

[READ: BPE institutes four committees to review privatised enterprises]

Still on the Privatisation Plan: It was also revealed that the state-owned Satelite Communications company, NigComSat, has been listed for privatisation.

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The signed MoU with InfraCredit is aimed at de-risking the investments within public corporations while attracting investments from competent investors for long term financing in some of the corporations scheduled for privatization. This is according to the bureau’s Director-General.

He reiterated that the firm’s mission is to fruitfully unlock the potential for long term local currency infrastructure finance in Nigeria through advanced credit improvement solutions on an evolving basis and creating value for stakeholders.

The Credit Facility: Meanwhile, the Bureau’s DG revealed that as part of the signing,  InfraCredit has committed as much as N300 billion worth of finance for the power divestment deals to investors.

InfraCredit intends to partner with the Bureau to de-risk the financial environment, especially with regards to power sector investments. They have a target of achieving N300 billion worth of investment deals within three years.”

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The development will, in turn, bolster the much needed all-encompassing corporate governance culture that would guarantee resources for investors and create sustainable value for the economy.

What this means is that the Integrated Power Projects currently managed by the Federal Government will now be ceded to private investors who are expected to bring fresh innovations on board. This is expected to ultimately help to resolve Nigeria’s electricity deficiency issues in no distant time.

[READ FURTHER: Nigeria needs N36 trillion investment to achieve stable power supply]

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Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

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Corporate deals

DEAL: Nigeria’s Cowrywise raises $3m pre-series A funding

Nigerian fintech startup, Cowrywise has raised $3m in pre-series A funding.

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Cowrywise to re-launch as Cowrywise Circles, , CowryWise raises $3m pre-series A funding

Nigerian fintech startup Cowrywise has raised $3m pre-series A funding.

This funding round was led by Washington DC-based Quona Capital, with participation from Sahil Lavingia, Tsadik Foundation, and a syndicate of local and diaspora based Nigerian angels.

Founded by Razaq Ahmed and Edward Popoola in 2017, Cowrywise gives Nigerian’s access to a range of goal-oriented savings and investment products.

The Quona led investment brings Cowrywise’s total funding amount to $3.3 million since its 2017 launch.

The company first introduced savings on its platform, followed by mutual funds and they currently have 19 different mutual funds and at least 20% of the total mutual funds in the country are listed on its platform.

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According to Ahmed, while Nigerian’s millennials may have high digital connection levels, they lack access to high-quality savings and investment products. Which is what Cowrywise is offering.

The startup has more than 220,000 users currently. According to the Techcrunch, there are only half a million Nigerians actively investing in mutual funds. When compared to the total number of active bank accounts in the country of more than 40 million, it is obvious Cowrywise still has room to grow in the $3 billion markets.

This new funding will be used to increase its customer base and also expand its product offerings, support more fund managers in Nigeria, and build its investment management structure.

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What you should know

  • Cowrywise, an app that helps you easily plan, save, and invest online with the strongest interest rates and investment returns is the first Nigerian startup to be backed by Quona Capital.
  • In June 2018, Cowrywise closed an Angel round of $50,000 led by Microtraction. In August 2018, it raised a $120,000 seed round from Y Combinator and another seed round from Kairos by December of the same year.
  • It received undisclosed funding from K-50 Ventures in April 2019, before receiving an $80,000 grant from UK-DFID backed accelerator, Catalyst Fund. A first for a Nigerian startup.
  • In February 2020, Quona Capital led the $14 million series A round for Kenyan eCommerce Startup, Sokowatch.
  • The company has also significantly invested in South African startups like Lulalend, Yoco, ZOONA, and ALLLIFE.

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Tech News

Whatsapp to require biometric authentication for PC and web access

WhatsApp is adding a new biometric feature to confirm users’ identity when linking accounts to PC or the web.

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WhatsApp is adding a new biometric feature to confirm your identity when you want to link your WhatsApp account to a PC or the web.

The social media app is rolling out this new feature for its web and desktop apps, which will let people create an additional authentication layer using biometrics when they want to use WhatsApp on desktop or web.

Users will now have the option (not a requirement) to add in a biometric login, which uses either a fingerprint, face ID, or iris ID — depending on the device — on Android or iPhone, to add in the second layer of authentication.

When implemented, it will appear for users before a desktop or web version can be linked up with a mobile app account.

WhatsApp told TechCrunch that it is going to be adding in more features this year to bring the functionality of the two closer together. There are still big gaps: for example, you can’t make calls on the WhatsApp web version.

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To be clear, the biometric service, which is being turned on globally, will be opt-in: users will need to go to their settings to turn on the feature, in the same way, that today they need to go into their settings to turn on biometric authentication for their mobile apps.

WhatsApp has added that it will not be able to access the biometric information that you will store in your device and that it is using the same standard biometric authentication APIs that other secure apps, like banking apps, use.

This new feature will work alongside another, which sends your phone notifications whenever somebody logs into your account on the web or a computer.

What you should know

  • The company has been getting a lot of backlashes since it announced it will now share its users’ personal information, including phone numbers, IP addresses, contacts, and more with Facebook from February 8, 2021.
  • WhatsApp’s new privacy policy forced many users to quit the app and to seek alternatives in Signal and Telegram

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Business News

FG to reopen MSME survival fund payroll support portal in 30 states

The FG has announced that the MSME Survival Fund Payroll Support Portal will be exceptionally reopened for 30 states.

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The Federal Government has announced that the MSME Survival Fund Payroll Support Portal will be exceptionally reopened for 30 states that have been unable to meet their quota.

The government in its announcement said that the scheme, which is aimed at supporting vulnerable MSMEs in the payroll obligations of over 500,000 employees for a period of 3 months, will be opened from January 27 to February 2, 2021.

This disclosure was contained in a statement that was issued by the project delivery office of the scheme on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.

According to the statement, the Steering Committee of the MSMS Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme which is chaired by the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, noted that Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna and Rivers States, in addition to the Federal Capital Territory, have all met their quota and as such are not eligible to participate in the reopening exercise.

The statement from the Project Delivery Office of the scheme partly reads, ‘’The Steering Committee of the MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme Chaired by the Hon. Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum wishes to inform the public that the MSME Survival Fund Payroll Support Portal will be exceptionally reopened for states that have not met their quota.

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‘’The portal will be opened from 27th January to 2nd February 2021.’’

‘’To date, the following states have met their quota and are consequently NOT ELIGIBLE to participate in the reopening exercise. The states are; Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna and Rivers and the FCT.’’

In the statement, the Federal Government reminded the public of the following qualification requirements for participation;

  • Businesses must have CAC registration
  • Businesses must have a minimum of 10 and maximum of 50 staff
  • Business must be owned by Nigerians
  • Must have verifiable BVN
  • The Scheme provides for 45% female participation and 5% Special Needs participation.

While noting that registration for the scheme is free, the government advised the public to beware of fraudsters and should visit www.survivalfund.gov.ng for further details.

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What you should know

  • The N60 billion MSME Survival Fund and the N15 billion Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, which is the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, was flagged off on September 21, 2021.
  • The 2 MSMEs initiatives were introduced by the Federal Government as part of its efforts to support businesses overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector.
  • The scheme is expected to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.

 

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