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Business News

Nigeria, others receive €1 billion from EU to make goods more attractive

Nigeria, others receive €1 billion from EU to make goods more attractive

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Nigeria, others receive €1 billion from EU to enhance goods visibility 

Nigeria and other West African Countries have just received a boost of €1 billion from the European Union (EU) to make their products more attractive to foreign markets like Europe and America. 

This arrangement was brought to the fore by Frank Okafor, EU Project Manager for the West Africa Quality Systems Programme (WAQSP) while the steering committee expected to pilot the project met in Abuja to evaluate the readiness of West African countries to exploit the opportunity.  

[READ MORE: EU provides N4bn solar energy funding to Adamawa] 

The Details: The project is being supervised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). It is in tandem with UNIDO’s mandate which is expected to promote and accelerate the inclusive and sustainable industrial development of developing countries and economies in transition. 

According to the Director-General of UNIDO, Li Yong, who was represented by the Project Officer in charge of the WAQSP, Bernard Bau, the implementation of the ECOWAS Quality-ECOQUAL adopted in 2013 would strengthen regional growth and quality assurance that will complement the existing national quality infrastructure. He also said that it would enable companies to increase their competitiveness and ensure conformity with international standards at a reasonable cost. 

“We have taken it from a very short perspective. But I think what counts here is the overall result. From last year, we have made big progress. We have held very critical regional training and workshops on different important topics such as consumer protection and public procurement guidelines to integrate quality requirements. We are also working on curricula for universities.”

The UNIDO boss hinted that a few countries were yet to adopt the quality certification process in their national policies. 

“Now, we are accrediting 19 conformity assessment bodies in the region, four of which are certification entities. We have also developed a quality certification mandate for ECOWAS. Some countries so far have also adopted their national quality policies.” 

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What you should know: The European Union’s support is expected to promote and unify trade between ECOWAS and world markets. Before getting to this level, this contribution had been on for 17 years, including EU’s coordinated efforts with development partners as Okafor noted.

[ALSO READ: African women set to benefit from $250 million European Union Empowerment Initiative] 

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Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

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Business News

Mobile & USSD transactions surge by 82.6% as Covid-19 spurs mobile adoption

Mobile transactions in Nigeria (mobile & USSD) surged by 82.6% in 2020 to stand at 1.69 billion, as covid-19 discourages physical banking.

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Mobile transactions in Nigeria (mobile & USSD) surged by 82.6% in 2020 to stand at 1.69 billion compared to 928.86 million recorded in the previous year. This is according to the 2020 instant payment annual statistics, recently released by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).

The report also revealed that 78% of total instant payments carried out in Nigeria in 2020 were done through the use of mobile devices.

The breakdown of the data showed that while mobile payment retained its position as the most preferred channel, accounting for 43% of the total transactions in 2020, USSD followed closely at 762.19 million transactions, accounting for 35% of the total recorded in the year.

The agency attributed the growth to the move by Nigerians away from physical channels, and the closure of most bank branches in the country during the heat of the covid-19 pandemic.

In terms of Year-on-Year performance, the volume of mobile transactions in the country grew from 506.16 million in 2019 to 933.66 million in 2020, indicating a surge of about 84.5% YoY. Also, the volume of USSD transactions grew from 422.7 million to 762.19 million, advancing by about 80.3% YoY.

Key highlights

  • The report stated that with approximately 49.5% smartphone ownership in the country and 97 million mobile internet users, there are strong indications that mobile and USSD payments will see significant growth in the short-medium term.
  • Customers between the ages of 25 – 34 years carried out 36% of all interbank instant payments in 2020. This indicates that the younger demographics boosted the adoption of instant payment in the review period.
  • Also, 79% of instant payment transactions in the review year were initiated by customers between the age of 15 – 44 years.
  • A cursory look at the report also shows that Lagos state maintained the hub for electronic payments, accounting for 30% of the total transactions initiated in the country. Others on the list of highest transaction volumes include; Abuja (7%), Ogun (6%), Rivers (6%), and Oyo state (5%).
  • According to the report, 1.37 billion transactions initiated in the year were carried by males, representing 72% of the total, while 520.04 million or 28% were females.

Nairametrics had reported that twelve Nigerian banks listed on the NSE, raked a sum of N216.52 billion from their e-business earnings in 2020. A list that is clearly topped by the tier-1 banks in the country. This shows how banks are leveraging the growing internet adoption in the country.

A look at bank financials

  • Union Bank in its FY 2020 Investors’ presentation stated that the pandemic played a vital role in its 38% YoY growth in Union Mobile active users. It stated that 94% of its transactions are now done online.
  • In the same vein, Access Bank remarked that its USSD users at the end of FY 2020 increased to 7.8 million, while the mobile app and internet banking users were 9.8 million at the end of 2020.
  • GT Bank on the other hand noted that its USSD users grew by 13.1% YoY, from 6.1 million as of December 2019 to 6.9 million in 2020. Of this figure, 5.7 million users were categorized into the active segment.

Bottom line

As witnessed from the increase in the volume of transactions, the covid-19 pandemic has changed the electronic payment landscape in Nigeria and the world as people try to cut the excesses of physically visiting banks to carry out their financial transactions. This was due to the lockdown implemented by the federal government in response to the covid-19 spread.

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Macro-Economic News

Nigeria’s inflation rate surges to 18.17% in March 2021

Nigeria’s inflation rate for the month of March 2020, rose to 18.17% from 17.33% recorded in February 2021.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate for the month of March 2020, rose to 18.17% from 17.33% recorded in February 2021. This represents 0.82% points higher than the February figures.

This is according to the Consumer Price Index report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

On a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.56% in March 2021, this is 0.02% points higher than the rate recorded in February 2021 (1.54 percent).

Food inflation

Food inflation, a closely watched index spiked to 22.95% from 21.79% recorded in the previous month.

  • On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.9% in March 2021, up by 0.01% points from 1.89% recorded in February 2021.
  • The rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, yam, and other tubers, Meat, Vegetables, Fish, Oils and fats, and fruits.
  • Also, the average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending March 2021 over the previous twelve-month average was 17.93%, representing 0.68% points from the average annual rate of change recorded in February 2021 (17.25%).

Core inflation

The ”All items less farm produce” or Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce rose to 12.67% in March 2021, up by 0.29% when compared with 12.38% recorded in February 2021.

  • On a month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.06% in March 2021. This was down by 0.15% when compared with 1.21% recorded in February 2021.
  • The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 10.01% for the twelve-month period ending March 2021; this is 0.76 percent points lower than 10.77% recorded in February 2021.
  • The highest increases were recorded in prices of Passenger transport by air, Medical services,
    Miscellaneous services relating to the dwelling, Passenger transport by road, Hospital services, Passenger transport by road.
  • Others include; Pharmaceutical products, Paramedical services, Vehicle spare parts, Dental services, Motor cars, Maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, and Hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishment.

Meanwhile, the urban inflation rate rose to 18.76% (year-on-year) in March 2021 from 17.92%
recorded in February 2021, while the rural inflation rate jumped to 17.6% in March 2021 from 16.77% in February 2021.

State inflation rate

  • In March 2021, all items inflation on year on year basis was highest in Kogi (24.51%), Bauchi (22.24%), and Sokoto (20.70%), while Imo (16.08%), Kwara (15.34%), and Cross River (14.45%) recorded the slowest rise in headline Year on Year inflation.
  • In terms of food inflation, on a year on year basis was highest in Kogi (29.71%), Sokoto (27.02%), and Ebonyi (26.59%), while Abuja (20.10%), Kebbi (19.98%), and Bauchi (18.61%) recorded the slowest rise .in year on year inflation.

What this means

  • The galloping nature of Nigeria’s inflation is an indication of the dwindling purchasing power of Nigerians.
  • This implies that Nigerians spent more on purchasing goods and services in the month of March, compared to February.
  • The last time Nigeria recorded an inflation rate higher than 18.17%, was in January 2017 when headline inflation stood at 18.72%.

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