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Economy & Politics

Nigerian tech companies are struggling, but they will be just fine

The survey by One Campaign and Centre for Global Development showed the three major problems facing the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

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Nigerian tech companies are struggling, but they will be just fine, Impact of COVID-19 on startups

About two months ago, the Nigerian government was in celebration mode after the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business report showed that the country’s ranking improved by 15 points to 131. While this is not bad at all, everybody knows that doing business in Nigeria is generally uneasy. This is corroborated by a recent survey by One Campaign and Centre for Global Development, which focused on how Nigeria’s problems are militating against the country’s tech startups.

The survey: According to the survey, there are three major problems facing the Nigerian tech ecosystem. Two of these are all about the regular problems which companies in Nigeria face daily. You probably already guessed what we are talking about – inadequate electricity supply and lack of access to funding.

Poor electricity supply: As much as 57% of the tech startups that were interviewed in the course of the research identified inadequate electricity as their biggest challenge. According to them, they incur extra costs trying to generate electricity for themselves. Unfortunately, this is money that could have been meaningfully invested in growing their businesses.

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Inadequate access to finance: In relation to funding, majority of the tech startups also complained about how difficult it is to access loans from banks. Note that Nigerian banks are generally reluctant to lend money to small businesses out of fear of bad loans. But the Central Bank of Nigeria has recently increased banks’ loan deposit ratio (LDR) to 65%. This will take effect in December 2019, thereby forcing banks to lend to the real sector of the economy.

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Moving on, the third problem facing the Nigerian tech ecosystem is the fact that female IT professionals find it a lot more difficult to survive, compared to their male counterparts. First, the survey found that fewer female tech professionals are employed in the first place. Even female tech entrepreneurs are discriminated against, especially when it comes to accessing financial facilities.

[READ MORE: Three tech startups offer solutions to nation’s health, property, auto problems]

A Vibrant Sector: Despite these challenges, the Nigerian tech ecosystem is doing just fine. The survey found that many of the companies operating within this space are relatively small with an average of ten employees. Services they render range from financial services to e-payment, e-commerce, e-health, education, retail, and more. Quite a lot of them are also owned and managed by young professionals.

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As far as putting an end to the problems these startups are facing, the survey found that the onus might, indeed, lie within the ecosystem. In other words, while off-grid energy companies are working hard to solve the problem of electricity in Nigeria, the country’s fintech firms that are equally working hard to ensure financial inclusion for all. This does not mean that the government does not have any more role to play.

To read the full report, click here.

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Economy & Politics

Nigerian government spends equivalent of 83% of revenue to service debt in 2020

The Federal Government of Nigeria achieved a debt service to revenue ratio of 83% in 2020.

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The Federal Government of Nigeria achieved a debt service to revenue ratio of 83% in 2020. This is according to the information contained in the budget implementation report of the government for the year ended December 2020.

According to the data seen by Nairametrics, total revenue earned in 2020 was N3.93 trillion representing a 27% drop from the target revenues of N5.365 trillion. However, debt service for the year was a sum of N3.26 trillion or 82.9% of revenue.

READ: FG posts 27% revenue shortfall in 2020 as budget deficit hit N6.1 trillion

Nigeria’s debt service cost of N3.26 trillion has now dwarfed the N1.7 trillion spent on capital expenditure of N1.7 trillion incurred in 2020. This is also the highest debt service paid by the Federal Government since we started tracking this data in 2009.

The total public debt (External and Domestic) balance carried by Nigeria as of September 2020 stood at N32.22 trillion ($84.57 billion). Included in the total debt is a domestic debt of about N15.8 trillion.

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READ: Nigeria’s high recurrent costs, low revenue and escalating debt numbers

READ: Customs revenue rises by N200 billion to hit N1.5 trillion in 2020

What this means: Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is estimated at about 22%, one of the lowest in the world and much below what is obtainable in most emerging markets.

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  • However, the challenge has always been the debt service to revenue ratio, a metric that reveals whether the government is generating enough revenues to pay down its debts as they mature.
  • Since the first recession experienced in 2016, Nigeria has struggled with a higher debt service to revenue ratio as revenues slid in direct correlation with the fall in oil prices.
  • Nigeria’s government spent about N2.45 trillion in debt service in 2019 out of total revenue of N4.1 trillion or 59.6% debt service to revenue ratio.
  • At 83%, 2020 ranks as the highest debt service to revenue ratio we have incurred. Before now it was 2017 with 61.6%.

READ: PayVIS: New Lagos State platform to use traffic cameras to fine traffic offenders

Breakdown of what debts were serviced

The following amount was spent on debt service during the year

  • To service domestic debt, the government spent N1.755 trillion in 2020 as against a budget of N1.87 trillion.
  • For foreign debts, a sum of N553 billion was spent against a target budget of N805.47 billion. The drop here is likely a result of lower interest rates on foreign borrowing as well as very limited borrowing from the foreign debt market during the year.
  • The government only contributed N4.58 billion into its sinking fund instead of the budgeted N272.9 billion.
  • The sinking fund is required to set aside funds that will be used to pay down on other loans such as bonds when they mature in the future.
  • Finally, a sum of N912.57 trillion was spent on servicing CBN’s loans, granted via its Ways and Means provisions.
  • Nairametrics reported last week that a total sum of N2.8 trillion was extended by the CBN to the FG as Ways and Means.

READ: World Bank hopes to cut down debts of poor countries rather than delay payments

What happens next: In 2021, the government projects a debt service of N3.1 trillion against revenue of N6.6 trillion or debt service to revenue ratio of 46.9%.

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  • The government plans to spend N4.3 trillion on capital expenditure during the year.

 

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Economy & Politics

FG receives N144 billion in dividends from NLNG in 2020

NLNG, paid the Federal Government a dividend of N188 billion in the fiscal year ended December 2020.

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LNG

Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Company, NLNG, paid the Federal Government a dividend of N144 billion in the fiscal year ended December 2020.

This is according to the information contained in the Ministry of Finance Budget implementation report for the period of January 2020 to December 2020 and presented by the Minister for Finance Dr. Zainab Ahmed.

During the year, the Federal Government budgeted a sum of N80.3 billion as its share of dividends from NLNG, however, the actual sum received as its share was N144 billion, N63.2 billion more or 79% higher than projected.

The year 2020 was a difficult year for the government as the fall in crude oil prices and the economic shutdown that was triggered by the Covid-19 Pandemic dented projections and ravaged revenues.

READ:  NLNG says Train 7 project will surge production capacity to 30 million MPTA 

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NLNG Dividend Bliss

The dividend received from NLNG was a major bright spot in the government’s revenue performance for the year.

  • During the year, the government projected revenue of N5.36 trillion but only received N3.9 trillion in revenues representing a shortfall of N1.4 trillion or 27% for the year.
  • The huge dividend windfall received in 2020 is a stark contrast from 2017 when Nigeria just exited a recession triggered by falling oil prices and a sharp exchange rate devaluation.
  • In that year, the Federal Government’s share of dividends from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dropped by as much as $687 million, from $1.04 billion in 2015 to $365 million in 2016, a 65% drop.
  • The N144 billion received in 2020 topped the amount received from signature bonuses only N78.2 billion and complimented the N192 billion received by VAT.
  • It is the most effective form of revenue generation for the government.

READ: NLNG signs 10 year sales deal with Eni

NLNG Controversies

Back in July Nairametrics reported that the House of Representatives planned to investigate the alleged illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the NLNG account by NNPC without its knowledge and appropriation.

  • They had accused the NNPC of illegally tampering with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of 1.05 billion dollars thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.
  • NLNG is a company jointly owned by Nigerian owned NNPC(49%), Shell (25.6%), Total (15%), and ENI (10.4%).
  • The company is located in Bonny Island and has six trains with a total capacity to process 22 million tonnes of LNG a year and as much as 5 million tonnes of natural gas liquids.
  • NLNG currently accounts for about 7% of the total LNG supply in the world. Nigeria is ranked as the 4th exporter of Natural Gas in the world.

READ: NLNG signs supply agreement with Galp Trading SA

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Upshots: The FG is targeting a revenue of N208 billion from NLNG as dividends in 2021. If this materializes, it will be a significant payout in dividend (in naira terms) competing with the N238.4 billion expected from VAT.

  • Important to note that the recent devaluation of the naira will increase the naira value of dividends and other government revenue, as it did in 2020.
  • The government also targets N6.6 trillion in revenue for the period under review.

Updated: An earlier version of this article captured the dividend as N188 billion instead of N144 billion. It has now been corrected. 

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Economy & Politics

Uganda Elections: Museveni re-elected for 6th term with 58.6% of the votes

Uganda’s President Museveni has won a 6th term in office as the opposition alleges wide-scale rigging.

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The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has been re-elected as President, gathering 5.85 million votes compared to 3.48 million votes by main opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a Bobi Wine.

According to Reuters, this victory represents 58.6% of the vote cast while Bobi Wine got 34.8%

Bobi Wine announced that the election results show this is the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda and urged his followers to reject the result.

What you should know

  • Yoweri Museveni, aged 76, has been President of the East African nation since 1986.
  • Bobi Wine claimed via his official Twitter handle that military men jumped over his fence and took control of his home yesterday.

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