The clear and present challenge of unemployment in Nigeria is already well known, and in many ways, Lagos is the ground zero for this challenge. The response to it was what led to the establishment of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) in 2016, with a broad mandate to address unemployment and support entrepreneurship in the state.
Our impact in the first three years has already been significant. We have over 10,000 beneficiaries of our loan programme who have accessed nearly N7 billion. As a result, they have created nearly 100,000 direct jobs. On the Employability side, over 5,000 young people have been provided with tangible skills they can leverage to provide themselves a better life and break the shackles of poverty, with over 2,000 of them placed in jobs. 47,000 new taxpayers have been added to the register.
We have just been scratching the surface, but these initiatives have played a role in taking unemployment in Lagos down to 14.6%, one of the lowest in the country, despite being the most populous state.
At the outset, there was a need to establish credibility with potential partners by distinguishing ourselves from other government lenders and initiatives. For example, loans gotten from the trust fund was not ‘money for the boys’, with strict guidelines for application as well as repayment. Efforts at recovering loans – from issuing demand notices, filing an action at the Small Claims Court and prosecuting unrepentant defaulters – are ongoing and will expand in the coming months.
Having demonstrated our capacity to fulfil our mandate, the next stage of the LSETF’s evolution is the sustainability of the Fund’s work. In order to bring in more private sector capital and deepen access to funding, our loan programmes will now attract an interest rate of 10%, as against the initial 5% interest rate. The recent announcement of the LSETF W-Initiative in partnership with Access Bank is a fruit of this revised interest rate, and we are working toward more partnerships with commercial banks and development finance institutions.
On the employability side, our partnership with the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and German International Development Agency (GIZ) will enable us to impact many more lives across the state by providing the skills so many young Lagosians need. We recently requested for proposals to evaluate potential partners for an expanded employability programme and got an overwhelming response. On Agriculture, we recognise the job creation potential and are designing a program that will be the best fit for the Lagos economy and available infrastructure.
We are also passionate about sharing what we have learned so far with other state governments in Nigeria. In a few months, the LSETF will organise an Employment Summit that will bring together our key learnings, we hope to enable other governments to act to stem the tide of unemployment in their respective states. We realise that the fight against unemployment is one that requires all hands on deck. The more, the merrier.
In all this, the support of the Lagos State government has been indispensable. On behalf of the fund, I must express gratitude to all arms of the state government for allowing us to carry out our duties without fear or favour. Without this institutional support, our efforts would not be as effective.
Personally, it is an honour for me to have the opportunity to lead this team. What the LSETF is trying to do is unprecedented. Other government initiatives have attempted to address one of these issues. However, the times we live in and the challenges we confront require ambition and audacity, courage and creativity. This is what my colleagues and I signed up for.
I recently came across a 1962 speech by John F. Kennedy, where he made a commitment to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. I drew inspiration from the following lines.
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.”
The challenge of unemployment in Lagos and across Nigeria is one we must accept, one we must refuse to postpone. It is one we must win.
Teju Abisoye is the Acting Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund
Top passive income strategies using Cryptocurrencies in Nigeria
Now is the time to enter the wagon of the Blockchain and Decentralize Finance wave.
The world of today is one where one needs multiple streams of income. Just saving some money in a bank account is no longer sufficient to guarantee financial safety. This is due to the low-interest rates across all countries of the world. Regular savings account with low-interest payments could ironically be losing money due to inflation.
This is where cryptocurrencies and the world of Blockchain at large can help. There are numerous opportunities in it to make some money on the side without having to risk income trading. These types of strategies give a return without active participation by the user.
This is the world of passive income, a stream of money that is accumulated over time regardless of the actions of the user. There are many protocols and services in the crypto space that offer possibilities to make money passively.
As the world is faced with the COVID-19 crisis and the Central Banks of the world print money, inflation is a big threat to developing nations. Nigeria is no exception. The latest figure of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is 12.5% for July. This, coupled with the average APY for a savings account being 4.2%, means any regular saver in the country is losing money with a savings account.
Before we continue, check out this analysis of Bitcoin’s performance during this COVID-19 pandemic posted on Remitano.
This is why every Nigerian needs to research and be involved in passive income strategies. The future of the old financial system is in question while the crypto economy is growing. We just saw a bull run while the global economy is in crisis. The strategies outlined here, plus others out there can be a critical tool to achieve financial independence.
The current trend in Blockchain protocols is to move away from Proof of Work (PoW) towards Proof of Stake (PoS). This has to do with the high costs of mining hardware, risks of centralization, and scalability limitations of the Proof of Work consensus algorithm. This made many old and new protocols move away from PoW and adopt PoS in their blockchains.
The Proof of Stake algorithm works, as the name suggests, by forcing those nodes looking to get rewards from validating transactions to lock some funds in the network to do so. This is known as staking, the nodes that meet the requirement enter a lottery to become the origin of the next block. Once the block has been propagated successfully, the node receives a reward in the native cryptocurrency of the network.
One way to do this is to set up a node by yourself and stake some crypto to become a validator. This, however, is not without risk. A node has a set of responsibilities in the network, such as staying online 24 hours a day. If a node fails in those responsibilities, it losses part or all of the locked funds. This is done to encourage nodes to play an optimal role in the Blockchain.
This means that running a full node alone is risky, and it could be a little expensive. Not as expensive as a mining farm, but above one thousand dollars. This is where stake pools become attractive. A stake pool is where a group of users delegates their cryptocurrency to a node in exchange for some of the rewards it gets when validating a block.
The pool operator gets a higher percentage of the rewards and the possibility of becoming a validator more often. The lottery is not purely random. The more a node stakes in the network, the higher the chances of validating the next block. So, pool operators have the incentive of attracting many stakeholders to make their chances better.
Some of the protocols offering stakeholding are Algorand, Vchain, Tezos, Tron, Cardano, and some others.
Cardano is the latest to offer stake pools with its after launching its mainnet on July 29th. Unlike Ethereum, there is no limit to how little a person can stake in the network. This makes it an invaluable tool for passive income strategies.
Second Crypto Saving
Crypto saving is a new example of the traditional savings account in the world of Blockchain. Cryptocurrency exchanges are in constant need of liquidity for coins and tokens on their platforms. This means that a user holding some coin or token lets us say Tether (USDT) can loan this token by depositing it in a liquidity pool for others to borrow. The people on the other side of the operation have to pay interest, and part of that interest is given back to the depositor.
The most popular services for this type of strategy are found in Ethereum. This is because most DeFi products are in that Blockchain. These pools include Compound, Aave, Uniswap, and dy/dx. Additionally, users of the Argent mobile wallet can directly connect to these protocols from the app on their phones.
The interests are standard annual returns. These range from 3% to 5%, except in Compound. In it, the interest rate varies daily and also changes per token. On some days, DAI may have a higher return than USDT, while on other days, the trend can reverse to favor the second. The interest earned is calculated daily, and the savings can be taken out at any time.
This makes it the easiest choice to earn passive income in the Blockchain right now. The limitation is that, for now, it mainly works in the Ethereum network. The variety of tokens that can be used to make deposits is restricted to those issued in Ethereum. Some examples are Tether, USDC, Basic Attention Token, DAI, Wrapped Bitcoin, and others.
There is no boundary to how much money a person can deposit in these protocols. It can be as little as one dollar of some stable coin such as Tether or DAI. This is great for people looking to save in the Nigerian market. Instead of using bank’s savings accounts, which lose to inflation, a savings pool like Compound can return a higher interest rate in a year than any commercial banks could under the present economic conditions.
Finally Affiliate Rewards
Many exchanges, protocols, and other blockchain projects rely on affiliate marketing. They need happy and engaged users to drive traffic towards them and boost organic growth. Of course, this demands that the user has some platform, Twitter account, YouTube Chanel, etc., to reach an audience. So, it is not entirely passive.
Of course, rewards accumulate over time. It is unnecessary for a promoter to constantly post on social networks to achieve a steady stream of income. One of the most advantageous affiliate programs is the one offered by Remitano. This affiliate program not only gives rewards on direct referrals but also on referrals of downliners. All commissions are on a recurring basis.
Click this link to learn more about the Remitano affiliate program, the best affiliate program in the crypto space.
The world of cryptocurrencies grows by the day. The opportunities to cultivate multiple streams of income are only increasing in Blockchain. Now is the time to enter the wagon of the Blockchain and Decentralize Finance wave.
This is an especially powerful tool for Nigerians and citizens of developing nations. Before, we were limited by those financial institutions running in our countries, but the crypto economy is global. Blockchain has eliminated all the limitations of trading, savings accounts, investing, and other services, which in the past were only available in developed countries. Blockchain has opened the doors to financial freedom, and it is up to each of us to go through them.
FCMB sustains new strengths in Q2
FCMB closed the half-year operations in June 2020 with an after-tax profit of N9.7 billion.
The addition of new strengths and retention of some key capabilities of the preceding year constitutes the operating advantage for the bank this year. It is maintaining the elevated revenue outlook seen in the first quarter, which is happening for the first time since 2017.
Both interest and non-interest incomes are contributing to revenue improvement but non-interest earnings keep leading the way. Against a drop of 11 percent in 2019, non-interest income grew by 13 percent year-on-year at half-year ended June 2020.
Interest income is still accelerating from 4 percent at the end of last year to 8 percent at half-year though slowing down from 15 percent growth in the first quarter. This remains the highest growth rate in interest income for the bank at any time since 2014.
The good behavior of interest expenses seen in the first quarter improved to better in the second quarter. From a moderated growth of 4 percent in the first quarter, interest expenses proceeded to a 3 percent decline year-on-year at half-year. Accelerating interest income and a decline in interest expenses enabled an increase of 17 percent in net interest income from less than 5 percent improvement at the end of 2019.
This marks the first reasonable improvement in revenue the bank is seeing since 2017. Last year ended with only a 2 percent increase in gross income to a little over N181 billion. Revenue growth at half-year represents the highest in four years.
The retained strength in revenue is keeping the bottom line on the upbeat at which the bank began the year in the first quarter. Profit improvement remains quite good at 29 percent year-on-year for FCMB at half-year – still one of the best growth records in the banking sector. This is an accelerating growth from the 16 percent profit improvement at the end of 2019.
The ability to convert revenue into profit improved both on a year-on-year basis and from the 2019 closing mark. At the end of half-year, the net profit margin stretched out from 8.4 percent in the same period last year and from 9.5 percent at the end of 2019 to 10 percent. This is a step back however from 11 percent in the first quarter but yet remains the highest net profit margin for the bank since 2015.
The bank’s operating strength for the 2020 financial year is anchored on growing revenue and improving profit margin. The strength to grow profit more than two and a half times as fast as revenue at half-year points to a reasonable cost saving achieved by management. This came from a decline in interest expenses and a moderated operating cost during the period.
The loss in the first quarter of a key strength of last year – which is a drop in net loan impairment expenses for the third straight year, remained in place at half-year. Loan loss expenses rose by close to 41 percent to N7.8 billion at the end of June 2020. The increase follows an increase of 13 percent in the loan portfolio last year and by another 10 percent over the first half of the current financial year to N795 billion.
Half-year operations ended with gross earnings of slightly over N98 billion for FCMB, an accelerated growth from 2.3 percent at the end of 2019 to 9 percent year-on-year. This marks the first reasonable improvement in revenue since 2017.
An improvement of 8 percent in interest income to over N76 billion is one of the new strengths for FCMB in 2020. This reflects the expansion of earning assets with loans and advances growing by N80 billion over the 2019 closing figure of N715 billion and investments rising by N60 billion to N300 billion over the same period. The second is a rebound in non-interest earnings that were a drag for the bank last year to N22 billion at the end of half-year.
At slightly N30.8 billion, interest expenses improved further its disciplined behavior – declining by 3 percent against an increase of 4 percent in the first quarter. The share of interest income devoted to interest expenses went down from 45 percent to 40 percent over the review period. The result is an increase of 17 percent in net interest income to over N45 billion at half-year.
FCMB closed the half-year operations in June 2020 with an after-tax profit of N9.7 billion, an increase of 29 percent year-on-year. The bank is maintaining the path of growing profit for the third consecutive year since it lost 40 percent of profit in 2017.
Earnings per share amounted to 49 kobo at the end of half-year operations, improving from 38 kobo per share in the same period last year.
The ability to maintain an elevated performance in earnings through the economic lockdown in the second quarter is a bullish point for FCMB going forward to the second half. The bank is expected to retain the key strengths of growing revenue, moderating interest expenses, and improving profit margin to stay the course of rebuilding profit for the third straight year in 2020.
CCI Traders launches MT5 with ECN
MT5 is a modern and advanced trading platform with more trading tools for traders.
MT5 is one of the most popular trading platforms and CCI believes that it is important to make such technology available.
According to Finance Magnates website, CCI Trading LLC has just launched an Electronic Communication Network (ECN) with MT5 trading platform. The move was made to help provide the group’s growing client base with a platform that is more flexible, ultra-modern, and innovative.
The Most Diverse Audience to Date at FMLS 2020 – Where Finance Meets Innovation.
ECN is by far most traders’ choice of trading systems in the industry for many reasons. This includes transparency, flexibility, automatic matching, and execution of orders, direct market liquidity with banks, and other big institutions and so many more benefits.
Moreover, ECN solutions also ensure traders’ access to Tier-1 liquidity providers while connecting them with other traders and big institutions across the globe. This eliminates the presence of a middleman, but promotes transparency, real market prices, visible bid and ask, and much more.
Speaking on the launch, the company’s Media and Communications Manager, Precious Sammy noted that MT5 is a modern and advanced trading platform with more trading tools for traders. She said the company understands the importance of giving its esteemed clients access to more flexibility and impeccable trading experience, pointing out that traders with CCI can now take advantage of this cutting-edge technology for better trading experience.
MT5 is no doubt one of the most popular trading platforms and CCI believes that it is important to make such technology available to its traders to enhance their trading experience.