The Federal Government has said that the Bank of Industry (BoI), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has secured a $1 billion syndicated loan to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The loan is expected to improve the capacity of the bank to effectively support MSMEs across key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
This disclosure was made by the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, at the Quantum Mechanics Limited MSMEs Survival Fund capacity building programme in Abuja on Monday, March 22, 2021.
Adebayo said the loan facility, which has some benefits that include long-term tenor and moratorium, is being implemented in collaboration with international partners and is part of the government’s efforts toward economic recovery and sustainable growth.
What the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment is saying
Adebayo in his statement said, “There is an ongoing discussion with Dunn and Bradstreet to establish an SMEs Ratings Agency of Nigeria (SMERAN) to provide an empirical basis toward analysing the eligibility of SMEs to access credit.’’
The Minister noted that the ministry launched the MSMEs Survival Fund Initiative, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the Federal Government’s support to MSMEs development in the country.
He said the initiative, which is part of the Federal Government’s Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), is aimed at protecting MSMEs businesses from the shocks of the pandemic.
The Minister said, “The fund comprises the Payroll Support Scheme which aims at supporting MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs by paying up to N50,000 to a maximum of 10 employees for three months.
“The Artisan and Transport Grant supports self-employed artisans with a one-off payment of N30,000 targeting 333,000 individuals. The General MSMEs Grant will provide 100,000 MSMEs with one-off grants of N50,000 each.
“And the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme aims at engaging approximately, 100,000 businesses nationwide to produce items typically manufactured in their locality, targeting 300,000 beneficiaries. The scheme supports free registration of companies for 250,000 beneficiaries,” he said.
He explained that the fund was also estimated to save at least, 1.3 million jobs across the country while strengthening the growth potential of beneficiary businesses.
The minister said the National MSMEs Clinics also supported the growth of small businesses across the country through the provision of critical infrastructure, with 26 of such clinics showing impressive results.
He further disclosed that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), had launched the Export Expansion Facility (EEF) under the NESP, to support the resilience of new and existing MSMEs to respond to Covid-19 pandemic shocks.
In case you missed it
- The Federal Government and the CBN have initiated various schemes targeted at MSMEs that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- These schemes include some intervention funds at special interest rates or cash grants as support to mitigate the effect of the pandemic.
- The Federal Government has pledged to increase its support for Micro Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to fight unemployment and aid economic growth.
- The CBN just recently, announced that it had doubled the intervention fund set out for MSMEs as it increased it from N150 billion to N300 billion.
Lagos agricultural sector to generate $10 billion in the next 5 years
The agricultural sector in Lagos state is projected to generate as much as $10 billion within the next 5 years.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has projected that the agricultural sector in the state could generate as much as $10 billion within the next 5 years.
This is as the governor noted that Lagos could no longer afford to rely exclusively on other states for its food, adding that it was time to unlock its immeasurable agricultural potential through the implementation of the 5-year roadmap.
This disclosure was made by the Governor at the formal launch of the state’s 5-year Agricultural and Food Systems Roadmap, on Thursday, adding that most of the investments would be private sector-driven while the government acts as the catalyst and enabler.
Governor Sanwo-Olu opined that the Roadmap would also lead to wealth generation, value creation, food security, the industrialisation of the agricultural sector and the entrenchment of inclusive socio-economic development of the state.
He said that the roadmap essentially focuses on 3 pillars, which are: growth of the upstream sector, growth of the midstream and downstream sectors as well as improvement of private sector participation.
What the Lagos State Governor is saying
Sanwo-Olu, in his words, said, “Our strategies for sustainable Agricultural Development shall focus on three pillars. First, we will grow the upstream sector through interventions by leveraging technologies that are capable of lowering the cost of production of value chains; Focus on growing the midstream and downstream sectors that are of value and lastly, we will improve on private sector participation by developing and initiating policies that will encourage more private investments in agriculture.”
The projection is that the total investment in the Agricultural Sector from the government, private sector, donor agencies and development partners will run into over $10 billion in the next five years. While we expect most of the investment to be private sector-driven, the government will continue to provide the needed infrastructure while the private sector will be encouraged to lead the key projects.’’
The governor pointed out that the state had already started the revamping of its Agricultural Land Holding Authority (ALHA) to support investment in agriculture, giving assurance that the coconut belt would also be strengthened with increased private sector involvement.
Sanwo-Olu listed some State’s landmark investments that will aid smooth delivery of the Roadmap to include the Lagos State Aquatic Centre of Excellence (LACE) that would boost fish production from 20% to 80%, the Imota Rice Mill, the Lagos Food Production Centre Avia, Igborosu-Badagry as well as other statewide agriculture-focused initiatives.
He said, “I am greatly encouraged by the interest already generated in the Five-Year Agricultural Roadmap and I hope it will be sustained and backed with concrete action on the part of our development partners and the international community. I assure you that the Lagos State Government is putting in place deliberate incentives to make your investment safe, secure and profitable.’’
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, urged potential and established stakeholders in the agricultural sector to partner with the state in order to transform the agricultural sector for food security, wealth generation, poverty eradication, economic diversification, rapid industrialisation and accelerated socio-economic growth.
This is a very laudable initiative from the Lagos State Government especially at a time the country is looking at diversifying its economy. The successful implementation of this programme with the expected benefits from the value chain will contribute significantly to the economic development of the state and the country in general.
The investment in the transformation of agriculture to agribusiness is one way of achieving the dream of attaining self-sufficiency in food production and creating more wealth.
Bank needs to humanise customers – Aladdin CEO
Every customer needs a unique page where their details go beyond the account numbers.
Nigerian banks have been tasked to humanise all customers and not only treat them as just an account number. This is to say that banks should treat each customer uniquely and not assume a one-size-fits-all.
These are the comments of the Chief Executive Officer, Aladdin Digital Bank, Darlington Onyeagoro. According to him, the continent, especially Nigeria needs a marketplace Digital Bank to humanise customers, a vacuum he said Aladdin will occupy.
He said, “By humanizing customers, we are putting a face to the name. You are not just an account number, you are a human being, and as humans, you need to eat, make money and other things.
“Each customer is unique; that is why for the first time, we are breaking barriers so we can reach each one personally. We run a platform structure where every customer has a unique page where their details go beyond the account numbers.”
He added that Aladdin Finance App, which is powered by PurpleMoney Microfinance Bank, will also be offering its customers free banking with no charge rates, where customers can carry out their transfers and transactions to other banks for free.
“Traditional banks charge N25 per transfer, but we are charging Zero Naira for now. We bear the cost for now. So, we offer free banking for at least between one to three months of our operation to encourage them. All transactions are free for now,” Onyeagoro added.
The app also has several features that will cater to each customer, including seamless customer service, rewards on savings, high-interest rates up to 16% (subject to money market reality), and access to different types of loans for emergencies.
To encourage savings for customers to meet their business and personal needs, Aladdin Bank will also be rewarding its customers through a weekly raffle draw on its online platform, where amounts saved from N5,000 and above with the bank will give each customer a virtual ticket for a raffle draw.
“In that way, we are encouraging our customers to save towards their goals. For example, if you want to travel, pay your rent, children’s school fees, etc., whatever you want to do, you can set targets for yourself and save towards it. So, while you are saving towards your target, we are also paying you a competitive interest rate,” he added.
What you should know
The co-founders and chief promoters of this project are Onyeagoro, Olayemi Nasiru and Avi Umukoro. Nasiru is a seasoned banker with over a decade of experience. He once held a Senior Management Position in one of the top commercial banks in Nigeria.
Umukoro, another top-flight banker, has over 12 years of consumer banking experience in one of the top-performing banks.
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