The Federal Government has warned unsuspecting members of the public, who wish to apply for the MSME Survival Fund, to beware of fraudulent websites demanding account details, before giving applicants N50,000.
According to Punch, the disclosure is contained in a press statement that was issued in Calabar by the Project Delivery Office (the Coordinating office of the scheme) under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and titled ‘Portal requesting for beneficiaries account details to get N50, 000 not known to us.’
The PDO is coordinated by the SA to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President, Tola Johnson.
What the Trade, Industry and Investment Ministry is saying
The Ministry, in its statement said, “Our attention has been drawn to the activities of fraudsters parading themselves as operators of the Federal Government’s Survival Fund Scheme.
“The syndicate operating a fraudulent portal with the link https://survivalfund-gov-ng.freefunds.xyz/#1609249530133(https://bit.ly/FG-survival-fund) are asking unsuspecting members of the public to check their eligibility for the scheme by providing their account details on the portal in order to be paid N50, 000 grant under the Survival Fund Scheme.
“It is pertinent to note that the Project Delivery Office (the coordinating office of the scheme) does not operate any such portal and beneficiaries do not require to go to the website to verify their eligibility for the federal government’s Survival Fund as indicated on the fraudulent portal.
“The website requesting beneficiaries account details is, therefore, a scam. The PDO does not operate any such portal and wishes to advise all Nigerians and beneficiaries of the different tracks of the survival fund to be wary and desist from having dealings with the operators of the site.”
The Ministry pointed out that the authentic survival fund portal remained www.survivalfund.gov.ng and the PDO would always inform members of the public on updates about the scheme whenever it was necessary.
What you should know
The MSME Survival Fund, which is part of the N2.3tn stimulus package of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, was introduced by the Federal Government as part of efforts to help 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.
How SMEs can access capital in Nigeria
Despite the global consensus that SMEs are crucial to economic development, access to funds remains a militating factor against the sector’s growth.
The significance of SMEs for any country, especially Nigeria, cannot be overemphasized. It is, therefore, not surprising that SMEs constitute one of the bedrocks of economic development in the country. This makes it a sector that should be given utmost priority by the government.
To get started, the government needs to make funding more accessible to small and medium enterprises at low interest rate. Reason being that they need capital to thrive and nurture their businesses. Despite the global consensus that SMEs are crucial to economic development, access to funds remains a militating factor against the growth of SMEs in both developed and developing nations of the world.
The federal government of Nigeria with the support of the World Bank and the African Development Bank have tried in the past to assist SMEs through various credit schemes and loans structured to fund Small and Medium Enterprises, some of which are World Bank SME loan scheme, African Development Bank Export Stimulation Loan scheme; CBN Rediscounting and Re-financing Facility, National Economic Reconstruction Fund, Bank of Industry and the Graduate Employment Loan Scheme initiated by the National Directorate of Employment. Moreso, there are other ways that SMEs can be funded which are through Bootstrapping, loans from banks, moneylenders and grants from government institutions and non-governmental institutions.
Source: Nigerian Institute for Social & Economic Research
According to NISER findings, about 73% of SMEs raised their funds through Boostrapping (personal savings), about 2% obtained their funds from financial institutions, while 0.21% obtained their funds from other sources.
Here are some ways that SMEs are can access funds in Nigeria.
Accessing loans from banks
Banks (Commercial, Merchant & Development banks) offer credits to Small & Medium Enterprise in Nigeria. Before giving you a loan, they need to ascertain that you are creditworthy, and your business would have gotten to a particular stage. Also, you need to know that before applying for a loan, your small-scale business must conform with the goals and interest of the financial institution you want to apply to. Other things banks put into consideration before disbursing a loan are a well-written business plan, a financial record, collateral, and a guarantor. Nevertheless, many financial institutions are sceptical about giving SMEs loans because of the associated risks. Some prefer to pay the fine imposed for not meeting the target of giving SMEs loans than run the risk of being exposed to them.
Funding from Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS)
Another source of funding for SMEs in Nigeria is the Small and Medium Industries Equity Investment Scheme (SMIEIS) Fund. This type of funding is designed to finance SMEs through venture capital. This initiative is from the government and its aim is to advance SMEs to drive industrialisation, poverty mitigation, sustainable economic development, and creation of employment. Venture Capital financing provides funds as a loan to SMEs with the idea of converting the debt capital into equity in future. Venture capital may be regarded as an equity investment where investors expect significant capital gains in return for accepting the risk that they may lose all their equity. To be eligible for equity funding under the scheme, a prospective beneficiary shall have the following:
- Be registered as a limited liability company with the Corporate Affairs Commission and comply with all relevant regulations of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (2020) such as filing of annual returns, including audited financial statements.
- Be in compliance with all applicable tax laws and regulations and render regular returns to the appropriate authorities.
Grants from non-governmental organisations/foundations
Business grants are another source of funding and they are mostly given by NGOs and foundations. These grants can be accessed by individuals, firms/company, business, or corporations to develop their businesses or scale up operations. One of the best ways to get finance for business or ideas is getting a grant. While a loan is a good alternative, a grant is far better than a loan. It gives you the peace of mind to build and grow your business or idea. It is like getting “free money.” There are many organizations that offer grants in Nigeria, Africa and worldwide. Some of these organizations are the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Bank of Industry, YouWIN, AYEEN financial grant, etc.
This is a situation where business owners resort to funding their businesses with their savings and revenue without the support of venture capitalists or bank loans. Apart from personal savings, financial support for businesses, especially at the startup stage, can also be sourced from relatives and friends.
Getting loans from microfinance schemes/moneylenders
Due to the rigorous processes and high interest rates demanded by commercial banks, Microfinance banks were established to assist small businesses in securing loans. SMEs are eligible for Microfinance loans if they meet the requirements stipulated by the bank.
In conclusion, SMEs constitute the driving force of industrial growth and development in the country. The government should focus on and nurture the sector by making funds at low-interest rates more accessible to players in it to help them thrive.
How to invest for retirement
Planning for retirement means planning to reduce obligation in the future by investing today.
“If you plan to retire in five years what should you be doing today?” That’s a question I got last week, and talking with the client, a lot came up which I have decided to share.
First off, What is retirement?
Nigeria’s public service has an official retirement age of 60 or thirty-five years of unbroken active working service, but in financial planning, retirement is a financial, not a chronological event. Retirement can occur when your passive income can meet your non-discretionary expenses.
You start to plan for retirement the day you start to earn an income. Your retirement plan will centre on how to generate passive income and reduce expenses. In Financial Planning, Four distinct stages are usually described in a so-called Lifecycle Chart. These are the Accumulation, Consolidation, Spending, and Gifting stages. Chart 1. Financial LifeCycle seeks to segment investing priorities, recommended asset allocation, and risk profile in a chronological timeline as the person gets older. I will take each of these stages and explain how they are linked to your retirement plan.
Chart: Financial Life Cycle
Early years: Use Your Time and Make Money, (Accumulate)
The first stage is called the Accumulation stage. Imagine a 22-year-old who has just graduated and is a management trainee. He typically has a low credit score and assets and income are also substantially lower. What he has in abundance is time. So it’s important to deploy his time in the best way to make money. Hence in the accumulate stage, the goal is to generate cash flow either from a job, multiple jobs, working longer hours, saving, cutting unnecessary expenses, etc.
The key measure in the accumulation stage is the Savings Rate which is essentially how much of income earned or generated has not been spent. On average, the participants in the accumulation stage have fewer dependents and maintenance needs which should theoretically make it easier to save.
Mid Years Use Your Money To Buy Assets (Consolidation)
In the consolidation stage the focus shifts from saving to investing. At this stage, the income earned and credit scores have improved. This is when the talk of buying a home or starting a business takes concrete shape because, at this stage, those dreams can be funded. Hence capacity to take on debt is improved, and debt is used to invest in assets like a home. Remember debt is simply front-loaded consumption, which means we are taking our future income to invest today, intending to repay with future income generated from today investment.
The key measure in the consolidation stage is the Rate of Return which is essentially how much has been generated from the investments made.
Spending & Gifting Phase; Use Your Assets To Generate Cash Flow and Time (Spending and Gifting)
Why is it called the spending phase? Because that’s what the individual is doing, spending down accumulated investments. The spending will include buying annuities or perhaps relocating to another city, your dependant’s college needs, etc. At this stage, typically very few are still earning “new” income but are rather spending from the return of prior investments.
The key measure in the spending stage is the Withdrawal Rate which is essentially how much of investment can be withdrawn as cash annually to ensure we do not outlive our investments.
Retirement is All About Passive Income
Passive income, which is the income we are making from investing from the accumulation and consolidation stage is now sufficient to generate income and reduce expenses to meet our expenses in the spending/gifting stage.
To give an example, assume we took a mortgage to buy a house in the Consolidation Stage, in the Spending stage, we pay no rent, thus we save cash, which reduces our Non-Discretionary Expenses. In essence, retirement is planning to eliminate your future expenses to the point where you need less income when you retire.
What Should You Invest In Before Retirement Or In Retirement?
Our objective is simple, Income. In retirement, we invest solely to make income to meet our spending needs, Risk profile is also very low because there are fewer recovery options if your investments sink.
The retirement portfolio is an income-generating portfolio that will be overweight in fixed income products. First, determine what the risk-free rate is. In Nigeria, we can take the yield on a ten-year FGN bond as a guide, this means we can have a target of 10% as our huddle rate for the long term. Thus I will recommend an 80/20 portfolio with 80% going to Fixed Income consisting of long term bonds, REITs, and other top-grade commercial paper.
However what happens if we lock in our funds for 10 years at 10% and rates jump to 20%, meaning a loss to our portfolio. To avoid this risk we can create a bond ladder, where we break down the bulk sum and duration of our total bond investment outlay. Let us assume we have N10m in cash to invest, instead of one single lot investment of N10m, we split into 5 equal investments of N2m and place for 6, 7, 8, 9, and ten-year maturities. This means by the 5th year the first N2m will mature, if rates are higher, reinvest, if rates have fallen then reevaluate.
What about Equities
Yes, equities also pay a dividend. In buying equities, we must ensure we are only buying stocks that pay a dividend above our huddle rate of 10% which is the 10-year FGN bond rate. Which Nigerian stock meet that huddle rate?
- GT bank
- United cap
In closing, let us summarize. Retirement is not chronological age. The event occurs when our passive income pays our bills. Planning for retirement means planning to reduce obligation in the future by investing today. Investing in retirement is income-based with a huddle.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Nigerian Breweries publishes names of over 100,000 shareholders who are yet to claim their dividends.
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- Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc records a 60% increase in profit after tax in Q1 2021.