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Nigerian firms expect to start employing again in August – CBN survey

Wholesale/retail trade had the highest prospect for employment in August.

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After a trying five months of the Coronavirus pandemic and the consequent challenges for the economy, business enterprises in Nigeria expect to start employing again in the month of August 2020.

This is according to the CBN Business Expectation Survey which was published recently on the CBN website.

Findings from the survey show a generally optimistic outlook for August with a confidence index of 33.7 points, and hopes that the volume of business activities would increase in the next 2 to 6 months to justify the employment outlook.

READ MORE: Social clubs, recreational centres to reopen August 14

The business survey was conducted by the statistics department of the Central Bank of Nigeria in July 2020, and it involved a sample of 1050 businesses with a 96% response rate. Respondent firms include small, medium and large businesses cut across agriculture, services, manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, and construction sectors, both import and export-oriented, across the country.

Sector by sector breakdown showed that wholesale/retail trade had the highest prospect for employment in August with an index of 16.4 points, while manufacturing trailed closely behind with 14.6 points. Respondent firms in Agric/services put the employment prospect index at 3.1 points.

READ MORE: Okonjo-Iweala gets Organised private sector’s endorsement for WTO job

The wholesale/retail trade sector is also highly optimistic on expansion plans, showing an index of 46.3 points, while the construction sector had an index of 45.0 points. Agric/services sector had an index of 43.4 and manufacturing sector had 39.7 points all pointing towards a positive disposition to expand in the current month (August).

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With such expansion plans in view, borrowing rate is also expected to increase in August, September, and December 2020 with confidence indices of 10.5, 15.7 and 16.1 points respectively.

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

This is in spite of the obvious challenges which the firms face, which include insufficient power supply, competition, unfavourable economic climate, financial problems, and high-interest rates.

Unclear economic laws, unfavourable political climate, insufficient demand, difficulties in accessing credit and equipment also pose major constraints to business activities.

READ MORE: Again, NAICOM shifts insurance recapitalisation deadline

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More on the outlooks

On the exchange rate, firms are positive that the Naira will appreciate in August, September, and December, with 3.0, 16.5 and 49.4 confidence index points respectively. Meanwhile, inflation level is expected to rise in the next 6 to 12 months (December 2020 and June 2021), at 13.92 and 13.95 percent.

There is an anticipated increase in economic conditions in August at 22.8 points, much higher than the 9.5 points in July. The firms also expect things to improve more in September and December with confidence of 31.7 and 51.4 points.

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Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career.As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Business

How $20 million support programme for youth, women will be expended – Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor has highlighted how the $20 million support programme for youth, women will be utilised.

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The Lagos State Government has launched a $20 million Coronavirus (COVID-19) Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (Lagos CARES) Programme to support livelihood for poor and vulnerable households and to expand food security services in the State.

The programme, which will be implemented for 24 months, is being funded through a $750 million facility secured from the World Bank by the Federal Government for the Nigeria-CARES project with other states benefitting from the stimulus programme.

According to information on the Lagos State Government website, the social intervention programme was launched by the Lagos State Governor at the State House, Alausa, on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

The programme is focused on offering a safety net to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of COVID-19 and also on building the resilience of the State.

Lagos CARES will directly support 20,843 households and indirectly support 125,058 individuals within the State.

The programme has 3 key result areas which includes increasing cash transfers and livelihood support to poor and vulnerable households; increasing food security and safe functioning of food supply chains for poor households; and facilitating the recovery of Micro and Small Enterprises (MSMEs), while strengthening institutional support for coordination and delivery.

Sanwo-Olu said the programme was designed to be inclusive and packaged to specifically impact women and the youth adding that its implementation cuts across relevant ministries, including Sustainable Development Goals and Investment (SDG&I), Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Finance, Wealth Creation, and Agriculture.

He said: “Today marks another milestone in our effort to combat the negative impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on our households, livelihood, food security and businesses. The CARES project is an integral part of the national approach, adopted to alleviate the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance the wellbeing of our people.

The Lagos CARES Programme will be implemented between 2021 and 2023 and will provide economic relief and recovery support to identified vulnerable persons. During the 24 months, the programme will directly support vulnerable households and indirectly support 125,058 individuals. There will also be interventions in 69 markets, while a minimum of 2,512 MSMEs will be supported.

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Sanwo-Olu set up the State’s CARES Steering Committee (SCSC), co-headed by the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Sam Egube, and Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals and Investment, Mrs Solape Hammond, in order to effectively implement the programme.

What you should know

  • The Lagos State Government, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which negatively impacted businesses and households, introduced several intervention programmes to help cushion its effect.
  • Some of these programmes include the N5 billion post-Covid-19 economic recovery support for MSMEs, the N5 billion support fund for 2,000 low-cost private schools, the N1 billion support fund for businesses in the hospitality sector and so on.

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Interview

Okra is building the tools to enable the fintech industry thrive – Co-Founder

In an interview with David Peterside, Co-Founder and COO at Okra, he talks about everything the Nigerian fintech API startup does.

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The rise of API fintech companies has made it easy for businesses to access real-time banking data. The adoption of API shifted into top gear in the United States when tech API company, Plaid, launched and made access to data easy. Many finance apps like Venmo, Coinbase, and Robinhood currently use Plaid’s API infrastructure.

For fintechs, the ability to easily verify and leverage consumer data makes it possible for them to offer a myriad of financial services to their customers. For instance, if you are a digital lender, having instant and verified access to users’ financial information, account balances, and history will allow you to make better, more informed and data-driven lending decisions.

In Nigeria, we have also witnessed the rise of API startups like Okra, which has created a secure portal and process to exchange real-time financial information between customers, applications, and banks. Okra has dug its heels in, connecting to all banks in Nigeria with a 99.9% guaranteed uptime.

Since its launch in 2020, the startup has recorded an average month-on-month API call growth of 281% and has also analyzed more than 20 million transactions. Tech companies like uLesson, Carbon, Interswitch, Indica, Opay, Credpal, etc. leverage Okra’s technology to power their businesses.

In an interview with David Peterside, Co-Founder and COO at Okra, he explained what Okra does.

What was the inspiration for founding your startup?

Consumers are demanding full digital experiences of products/services. The businesses and startups trying to build out these solutions simply didn’t have the right tools to build an end-to-end personalized digital experience for customers — so we decided to start a company focused on building out the necessary tools to enable the fintech industry to thrive.

What does Okra do and what sets you apart from other fintech startups?

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We enable developers and businesses, especially in financial services build personalized digital products. The difference between Okra and other fintech startups is simple; Okra is the tool that other fintech startups use to build out personalized financial products/services like lending, savings, investments, etc.

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Is your API only restricted to the fintech space?

The companies currently building with our API include startups, banks, and government agencies.

Do you believe Nigeria is truly ready to adopt an open banking system?

The data from other markets clearly show that Open Banking as a service is a net positive for the economy, businesses, and most importantly, consumers. We’ve also learned that the US approach to Open Banking as a service is by far more efficient than the UK/EU — when you compare the time (to build), adoption, and growth of fintech in both markets. The Open banking principle is great but narrow. It’s not only about digitizing banking but wealth management, insurance, and investing. Okra is in the business of Open Finance. The global standards are clear. NDPR, GDPR (EU), and the Dodd-Frank (US) clearly establish that consumers should have control over their information and have the ability to permission their information to any third-party service of their choice.

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What would be the role of API companies such as yourself in encouraging open banking in Nigeria?

It’s very important for the developers, banks, and businesses building digital products/services to have access to standardized data. This is available today with the Okra API.

How do you address concerns on data privacy and web security?

As an infrastructure company, we invest a lot of capital and resources in privacy & security. We are also NDPR and GDPR compliant. We also give consumers the ability to stop sharing information at any time.

What are your plans for expanding into other African markets and how soon do you propose to implement such plans?

The focus is currently Nigeria, we see the African continent as our total addressable market but I can’t give specifics on the timeline.

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In case you missed it

Nairametrics earlier reported that Okra closed $3.5 million in a seed round led by U.S.-based Susa Ventures.

So far, the API company has raised a total of $4.5 million in two funding rounds.

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