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CBN lists major constraints affecting businesses, as borrowing rates projected to rise 

The CBN has released its ‘January 2020 Business Expectations Survey Report’ detailing the challenges affecting businesses in Nigeria.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released its ‘January 2020 Business Expectations Survey Report’ detailing the challenges affecting businesses in Nigeria.

The CBN, through its Statistics Department, listed high-interest rates of Nigerian banks as one of the many constraints preventing business growth within the country.

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According to the regulatory body of the banking industry, the business environment in Nigeria has been challenging for companies due to unfavourable economic climate, insufficient power supply, financial problems, competition and high-interest rates, which have been a discouraging factor for small and medium enterprises in need of credit facility.

In a statement issued by CBN, it was disclosed that, “Respondent firms identified insufficient power supply (66.2 points), high-interest rates (57.1 points), unfavourable economic climate (54.6 points), and financial problems (52.8 points).

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“Others are unclear economic laws (51.9 points), unfavourable political climate (46.3 points), competition (45.3 points) and insufficient demand (44.2 points) as major factors constraining business activity in the current month.”

The problem for ease of doing business: Basically, most companies in Nigeria power their electricity themselves through the use of generator. This is because the power supply has not been stable within the country, where about $12 billion is spent annually by businesses and individuals on generators. So, this affects their revenue and profit. Rather than investing their capital for the growth and expansion of the business, the firms are burdened with the power issue.

[READ MORE: CBN injects $218.41 million in SMIS)

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Also, policy uncertainty has been a constraint for businesses because it creates unfavourable economic climate. The latest example is the ban on bike-hailing businesses in Lagos, which was announced months after the governor reiterated its commitment to regulating the bike-hailing market for efficiency.

Also, the Finance Act by the administration of President Muhammadu has been hindsight for many businesses and individuals.

Meanwhile, the high-interest rates have been a problem for businesses in Nigeria, as banks begin to use it to stabilise their revenue at a time banks’ other sources of revenue, like e-transaction charges, were slashed by the CBN.

The banks have been offering loans at high-interest rates, rendering the value of the loan insignificant for the debtor. Despite this, borrowing rates are expected to rise in the current month, next month and the next twelve months because businesses will always need capital to operate.

There’s still hope in the business environment: Despite the major constraints listed, companies are optimistic of expansion and employment in the coming month. According to the survey report, the employment outlook index by sector showed that the industrial sector had the highest prospect for employment in the next month, followed closely by the services sector, wholesale/retail trade sector and construction sectors.

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While for expansion, the services sector indicates the highest disposition to expand, the wholesale/retail trade sector, the construction sector and the industrial sector also show the prospect of expansion in the next months. The optimism is faced by NECA’s projection that unemployment would increase to 33.5% in 2020, from 23.1% in 2019.

The CBN survey report also stated that the business environment expects improvements in economic conditions in the current month, next six months and next twelve months.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tunde Soyemi

    February 10, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    We simply cannot just run this economy by ourselves, let’s contract this job out. We are only good at identifying the problems

  2. Bashir

    February 12, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Hello,
    I am suggesting the cbn and fg. To remove interest for smes. You should buy and sell the materials to them and add your profits in. to be non-interest loan.

  3. Bliss

    February 13, 2020 at 3:44 am

    They only sing praises to companies and also make funds available for them to manufacture product, are the companies going to sell directly to consumers themselves the answer is no.
    So why is CBN not talking about making loan available for distributor and dealer companies and at low interest rates so that they can easily pay back and also make the product available,affordable and also contribute to the economy by creating job and wealth for the our country.

  4. Bliss

    February 13, 2020 at 3:59 am

    (When they Say SMEs they are not talking about traders, distributors and dealers ,they are talking about manufacturing Companies alone.)
    They only sing praises to companies and also make funds available for them to manufacture product, are the companies going to sell directly to consumers themselves the answer is no.
    So why is CBN not talking about making loan available for trader ,distributor and dealer of companies and at low interest rates so that they can easily pay back the loan and also make the product available,affordable and also contribute to the economy by creating job and wealth for the our country Nigeria.

    Reply

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 29th of September 2020, 187 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 58,647 confirmed cases.

On the 29th of September 2020, 187 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,549 samples across the country.

To date, 58,647 cases have been confirmed, 49,937 cases have been discharged and 1,111 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 509,555  tests have been carried out as of September 29th, 2020 compared to 507,006 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 29th September 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 58,647
  • Total Number Discharged – 49,937
  • Total Deaths – 1,111
  • Total Tests Carried out – 509,555

According to the NCDC, the 187 new cases were reported from 13 states- Lagos (74), Plateau (25), Rivers (25), Gombe (19), FCT (19), Osun (10), Kaduna (5), Borno (3), Ogun (2), Katsina (2), Nasarawa (1), Bayelsa (1), Edo (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,384, followed by Abuja (5,696), Plateau (3,425), Oyo (3,260), Edo (2,626), Kaduna (2,407), Rivers (2,395), Ogun (1,838), Delta (1,802), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,631), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,040), Kwara (1,034), Abia (894), Gombe (883). Katsina (861), Osun (837),  Borno (745), and Bauchi (699).

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Imo State has recorded 568 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (450), Bayelsa (399),  Jigawa (325), Ekiti (321), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (240), Anambra (237), Sokoto (162), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (76), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

 

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Business

HealthPlus: More facts emerge as Bukky George reveals she owns 48.9%

HealthPlus insists its founder, Bukky George owns a majority share of HealthPlus Africa Holdings.

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HealthPlus: More facts emerge as Bukky George reveals she owns 48.9%

HealthPlus says that its founder and former CEO, Mrs. Bukky George, owns 48.9% of HealthPlus Africa Holdings and that she is the only Nigerian registered Pharmacist shareholder and director in the company.

This was revealed in a statement by HealthPlus on Tuesday, in a bid to educate the public on the squabbles going on between it and Alta Semper Capital over the removal of George as CEO, and the appointment of Chidi Okoro as Chief Transformation Officer.

Nairametrics had reported last week that HealthPlus Limited appointed Okoro as Chief Transformation Officer. According to the statement earlier released by the company, Okoro’s mission is to optimize day-to-day management and elevate the business to novel scale and profitability, while the founder of the Company, George continues to be a director and a shareholder.

READ: Sterling Bank gets CBN approval for restructuring

George however, issued a counter press release, denying that she had been removed as MD/CEO. According to her, the press release was not authorized by the company and was therefore false.

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Alta Semper, in a follow-up press release, alleged that the decision to remove Mrs. Bukky George “was made in full compliance with Nigerian laws, and follows a long and drawn-out process of engagement,” through which the Board sought to address multiple issues concerning the way the company was being managed.

Health Plus also reported Alta Semper directors to the police last week, as observed in a document seen by Nairametrics.

In today’s statement, HealthPlus said that it had partnered with Alta Semper Capital LLC UK in 2018 to inject fresh capital to grow the business.

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READ: Fairfax Africa Holdings enters purchase agreement with Helios Holdings Ltd 

“The investment in HealthPlus was to enable the company to capture the pent up demand for high quality yet affordable medicines … expand the company’s footprint across Nigeria, establish a distribution centre, develop B2B channels and e-commerce.

“Alta Semper undertook to commit $18 million into HealthPlus whilst retaining Mrs. Bukky Geroge as CEO,” the statement partly read.

READ: Deal: AIICO receives N5.3 billion investment from Leap Frog

HealthPlus says that Mrs. George, at the time of the investment, transferred 95% ownership of the business to a new entity called HealthPlus Africa Holdings Limited, incorporated in Mauritius, whilst retaining 5% equity to her name.

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“HealthPlus Africa Holdings is owned by Mrs. Bukky George (46.2%) and Idi Holdings ( 53.8%), Idi Holdings is Alta Semper’s investment vehicle”

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“In essence, Mrs. Bukky George owns (directly and indirectly) 48.9% of HealthPlus and is the only Nigerian registered Pharmacist shareholder and director in the company.”

READ: Naspers has finalised its mode of exit from Multichoice

HealthPlus also said that Alta Semper’s initial $10 million investment achieved several initiatives in its business plan.

“However, it soon appeared that they (Alta Semper) were unable to come up with the balance of the equity investment.”

It argued that in May 2020, after 15 months of delayed funding, unmet expectations and dwindling inventory, “Mrs Bukky George instituted legal action at the Lagos Division of the Federal high Court [in suit No: FHC/L/CS/609/2020] seeking relief aimed at stopping Alta Semper from running and managing the company.”

HealthPlus says after Alta Semper was served the court process, they did not file any defense but appealed for dispute mediation.

It was added in the statement that the mediation was truncated after 3 meetings within a period of 3 months, “Their intransigence frustrated Mrs. George’s other nominee for director and Chairman into resigning from the board”

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HealthPlus’ statement cited that the board, now with just 3 directors, had not met in six months and that the last time Mrs. George heard from Alta Semper was when they wrote last week stating her termination as CEO, “which in fact they had no authority or power to do so.”

HealthPlus says Mrs. Bukky George remains the founder and CEO, and continues to run the company.

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CBN launches framework for advancing women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria

The CBN in collaboration with EFInA has launched a framework to advance women’s financial inclusion.

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CBN, Aishah Ahmad,

The Central Bank of Nigeria on September 29, 2020, virtually launched the framework of advancing women’s financial inclusion. This was disclosed in an online event tagged “Access to Finance Framework for Women” and anchored by Dr Paul Olukpe.

The framework was conceptualized by the Financial Inclusion Special Intervention Working group and developed by the CBN in collaboration with EFInA and Women’s World Banking with input from over 50 stakeholder institutions.

The overarching vision of the framework is for Nigeria to be globally recognized, with an inclusive financial sector that has closed the gender gap by 2024. The framework further itemizes 8 strategic imperatives for driving improved access to finance for women in Nigeria.

In the online event monitored by Nairametrics, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad justified the new initiative by citing EFInA’s last report on financial inclusion in 2018 as a yardstick.

(READ MORE: Banks’ loans to private sector increase by N3.50 trillion in one year – CBN)

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Recall that EFInA 2018 Financial Inclusion report indicated gender imbalance and a clear need to attend to the issue of growing female financial exclusion. For example, the report stated that 40.9% of females were financially excluded as against 32.5% of males. Mrs. Ahmad remarked that perhaps, the figures might even be wider if unattended to especially in this period of crisis.

Mrs. Ahmad urged financial institutions to address structural issues limiting women’s access to finance by understanding and developing products that are specifically tailored to address such issues.

Why this matters

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Empirical studies have shown that supporting a stronger role or empowering women is a key enabler in reducing poverty, stimulating economic growth and ensuring sustainable development. Citing ‘’The Power Parity Report by McKinsey’’, the Director of development finance department of CBN, Mr Yusuf Philip Yila, stated that the economic consequences of pursuing gender equality include a potential addition of $28trillion to global annual GDP by 2025.

This framework is a big boost to achieving SDG’s goal of gender equality and Nigeria’s financial inclusion targets simultaneously.

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