These days, it seems all anyone can talk about is the epidemic that has taken over the world — Coronavirus. Fortunately, there has not been an alarming number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, in comparison with the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, the two recorded cases from the past weeks are now confirmed to be cleared of the virus, which I think is great news.
The pandemic has resulted in economic fallouts globally, as many businesses are experiencing downturns. Apple, for example, one of the worlds’ biggest tech companies, warned its investors recently that it would miss its revenue targets for March because of supply chain disruption and fewer sales in China.
However, as businesses and stock markets struggle to stay afloat, some tech companies are seeing boosts in revenues. It has been said that in every crisis, there is an opportunity.
People in isolation around the world have turned to digital means to continue with their daily lives which means that now, more than ever, digital tools are proving to be vital, so tech companies are bound to benefit greatly from leveraging these opportunities:
Bandwidth and data consumption will definitely increase as, for many in isolation, the only means of communicating may wind up being solely digital. There will be an expected and urgent need for broadband internet access that is functioning and secure. Also, if this persists long-term, there will be a need for a better built out fiber-optic connectivity, especially to low-income citizens and rural areas.
Remote collaboration tools
People still need to get work done; businesses as well will begin to employ remote collaboration tools like Zoom, a video conferencing software, in order to eliminate the limitations that may arise due to the lockdown. With these tools, your team can still hold brainstorming sessions or even have simple check-ins. International tech companies like Microsoft and Google have taken the first leap by giving free access to live document collaboration to facilitate business activities.
A shift to homeschooling is becoming a reality for many around the world. To keep student learning afloat, educational apps will be maximized.
Streaming websites like YouTube and Netflix that monetize their content will no doubt see an increase in advert revenue, as more people use their platforms for entertainment. Businesses can also leverage visual content or video marketing to drive traffic via YouTube or any video streaming website to boost revenue.
The precept about social distancing has been encouraged; with that, many US consumers have been stocking groceries for long weeks to be spent at home. A significant number of these consumers have done their shopping online. This trend, due to the crisis, is expected to keep increasing with each day.
GEEP provides COVID-19 palliative microloans to 87,614 traders
The loans were in line with the government’s policies to reduce poverty and boost productivity.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), has provided a COVID-19 palliative relief loans to about 87,614 traders across twenty states. This was disclosed earlier today through a brief press statement that was made available via the government’s official Twitter handle.
According to the disclosure, the microloans have helped to reduce extreme poverty and encouraged productivity following the easing of the lockdown. Part of the statement said:
“In line with the vision of the Nigeria Government to curb poverty and boost productivity in different parts of Nigeria, GEEP has provided palliative microloans to 87,614 petty traders hit by COVID19 pandemic in 20 states of the country in the first phase of disbursement.
“These palliative microloans have helped petty traders revive their businesses, as the government eases lockdown measures nationwide. The second phase of the disbursement will target 412,386 petty traders across the country.”
In line with the vision of @NigeriaGov to curb poverty and boost productivity in different parts of Nigeria, @geep_ng has provided palliative microloans to 87,614 petty traders hit by #COVID19 pandemic in 20 states of the country in the first phase of disbursement.#GovtAtWorkNG
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) August 10, 2020
The Federal Government also announced that the second phase of the loans would be disbursed to a 412,368 trader across the country in a bid to restart economic productivity as the government eases the economic lockdowns that have heavily affected the informal and formal sectors.
The palliative schemes under the GEEP scheme include FarmerMoni, TraderMoni, and MarketMoni.
Nigeria to begin gold production in 2021 with the Segilola Gold Project
The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve.
Nigeria is set to commence gold production in 2021 after the launch of the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state. This was disclosed by the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, while taking stock of his first year in office as Minister.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, Adegbite said that the project is expected to create about direct 400 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs along the gold value chain.
He added that once the project takes off, Nigeria would become a major gold producing country, a move that would hasten the diversification of the economy and reduce unemployment among the youth populace.
He noted that the government was creating an enabling environment across the gold value chain. According to him, “the international roadshows we have had in the past have borne fruits. Today we have Thor exploration in Osun State through the Segilola Gold project, which is projected to start producing in the first half of next year.”
The minister also noted that the government has licenced two gold refineries to refine gold to the London Bullion Market Association, LBMA, standard.
About the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, Adegbite explained that the global travel restriction caused by the pandemic had prevented the technical experts from Russia from coming over to the plant to conduct an audit of the steel plant. He assured that this would be done as soon as the flight restriction was over, and there are hopes to revive the plant before the expiration of President Buhari’s tenure.
Why it matters
The take-off of gold production in Nigeria is expected to open up an industry centred around gold production, from equipment leasing and repairs, logistic and transport. Note that gold requires a specialized means of transport, security, insurance, aggregators among others. These, according to Adegbite, would ultimately create tens of thousands of jobs across the gold value chain.
The minister further stated that Nigeria has mined, processed, and refined gold under the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, PAGMI. The first batch of PAGMI gold was unveiled at a presentation ceremony to President Buhari on July 16, 2020.
The gold produced is expected to become a part of Nigeria’s external reserve after being purchased by the Central Bank.
“PAGMI will result in the creation of thousands of new mining and formalized jobs, leading to poverty alleviation for many households. Under the scheme, artisanal and small scale gold miners will earn more from higher productivity, better recovery rates through mechanization of operations, and better access to reliable geological information,” he said.
AGF launches Committee on Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal
This initiative will provide the public with financial information of all MDAs.
Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has launched a Committee on Federal Government Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal to enable Transparency on economic governance policy.
Speaking during the launch today in Abuja, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, FCNA, said the committee would provide the public with financial information of all MDAs to promote accountability and anti-corruption campaign.
The AGF said that the Honourable Minister of Finance and National Planning (HMFBNP) had in July 2018, presented a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the approval to establish the Financial Transparency Guidelines and Open Treasury Portal.
“The approved Transparency Policy provides for Transparency requirements, thresholds and responsibilities as part of Government Policy on accountability in line with Freedom of Information Act 2014.
“The HMFBNP, then constituted the composition of the Quality Assurance and Compliance Committee which membership were drawn from MDAs,” he said.
Idris said that the Committee would implement transparent governance and improve the FG’s whistleblowing programme, which would help Nigerians report financial crimes in the MDAs.
He disclosed that the operations of the committee would be accounted through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which will offer its secretariat services to the committee, and enable the committee request information and clarification.
Idris added that the Committee would report to the Accountant General and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed monthly, citing that the Committee would work transparently “without fear or favour”.