As at early Wednesday morning, Brent Crude was trading at $54.75 barrels per litre. This is below the $57 per barrel benchmark on which Nigeria’s ambitious N10.6 trillion 2020 budget was based. The Coronavirus threat in China has been blamed for the dip in oil prices.
The situation portends serious negative economic implications for the most populous black nation, which depends majorly on oil exports for its revenue realisations. At the moment, the country is experiencing a revenue shortage and a budget deficit of 1.52% to the estimated GDP.
There is more to the problem: Not only is crude oil price low, but Nigeria is also being restricted from meeting the 2.18 million barrels of crude per day on which the 2020 budget was based. The restriction is due to OPEC’s December output cut of 1.7 million, which was taken in a bid to forestall crude inventory buildup, which is not favourable to prices.
There is probably more to worry about because the virus is yet to be contained. China is among Nigeria’s top ten foreign trade partners, buying crude oil which it uses to power its industries. But the Coronavirus threat has resulted in many Chinese companies being shut, meaning that there is less fusil fuel consumption in the country. This is not good for a country like Nigeria that needs to export crude to China in order to earn foreign exchange.
Another issue to worry about is the likelihood of further output cut for OPEC countries. A recent report by CNBC noted that the oil cartel (I.e., OPEC) is planning a large production cut in order to cushion the effect of the price collapse, which the Coronavirus has occasioned.
Nigeria is an OPEC member. As such, the country is required to abide by OPEC’s output, which in turn means that it could soon be exporting lesser barrels, far below its 2020 budget benchmark.
In the meantime, Nigeria is looking to raise money through various means, including exploring tax options that were hitherto unexplored. Nigeria is also borrowing money in a bid to finance the budget, with the Finance Minister insisting that the country does not have a debt problem despite the rising debt.
To check the current crude oil prices, click here.
DEAL: Nigeria’s Cowrywise raises $3m pre-series A funding
Nigerian fintech startup, Cowrywise has raised $3m in 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘’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.
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.
Public Announcement from the Project Delivery Office.
— MSME Survival Fund (@SurvivalFund_ng) January 27, 2021