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1,438 SMEs Owners Get N925m Funding Support in Lagos

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1,438 SMEs Owners Get N925m Funding Support in Lagos

1,438 SMEs Owners Get N925m Funding Support in Lagos

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

No fewer than 1,438 owners of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Lagos State were given the sum of N924.7 million by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday.

The money is a form of funding assistance to support businesses of the beneficiaries, thereby reducing unemployment and increasing wealth among the people.

At the presentation of cheques to the business owners at De Blue Roof, LTV 8 in Ikeja, Mr Ambode expressed delight that his administration was on course to boost economy of the state.

He further said it was good to know that the previous beneficiaries have started repaying their loans, thereby expanding their businesses and creating jobs.

The Governor, after assuming office, launched a N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF) scheme to provide entrepreneurs, artisans, traders and others with capital to boost their businesses.

Since the programme started, about 4,000 businesses have benefited a total of N3.5 billion from the scheme, while the target of the state government is to support about 100,000 MSMEs and create at least 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs by 2019 through the initiative.

In January 2017, Mr Ambode presented cheques totalling about N1 billion to 705 beneficiaries who were selected after scaling through a transparent screening process.

At today’s presentation, the Governor, represented by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mr Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, made particular reference to one of the earlier beneficiaries simply identified as Jand2Gidi, saying that it was a thing of joy that they have started contributing to the growth of Lagos economy.

“One of the success stories of this programme which I am very proud of is the achievement of one of the first set of beneficiaries, a company called Jand2Gidi, run by two young women.

“Today, they have invested their loan in buying motorcycles for their delivery men, and hired people to operate those motorcycles.

“Not only are they repaying their loan, they have also created at least 10 direct jobs for Lagos residents, thereby increasing the economic activity across the State. We eagerly expect to celebrate many more success stories like this,” the Governor said.

The Governor, who commended the ETF Board for the good work done so far, equally charged them to increase the pace of work and ensure that by the end of 2017, at least 20,000 businesses would have benefited from the loan program, just as he expressed optimism that the overall target of the scheme would be met by 2019.

While congratulating the new 1,438 beneficiaries, Mr Ambode charged them and other potential beneficiaries to emulate those who are repaying their loans, thereby ensuring the success of the program

“It is only when you pay your loans back, and grow your businesses, that we can truly celebrate the success of this programme. Your success is our success, and together we will grow Lagos State’s economy and create jobs for our residents.

“This initiative is another example of taxpayers’ money working for the people. I cannot thank enough all taxpaying citizens for providing the resources from which the State Government contributes N6.25billion tranches annually to the N25 billion ETF,” he said.

Besides, Governor Ambode urged other existing businesses or people desirous of starting one to take advantage of the scheme, assuring that the process of assessing and selecting beneficiaries would continue to be transparent and meet globally acceptable standards.

In her opening remarks, Chairman, Board of ETF, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, said the presentation ceremony was another milestone by Governor Ambode’s administration, saying that the vision of the Governor in setting up the Fund, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and his unwavering commitment to its success deserved commendation.

Mrs Omoigui-Okauru also revealed a partnership between the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to improve technical and vocational training in the State.

Under the programme, she said the LSETF will contribute Naira equivalent of $3million, while UNDP will contribute $1million and the funding will be used to train eligible Lagos residents in manufacturing, construction, healthcare, hospitality and entertainment, while successful trainees will be placed in jobs at the completion of the programme.

Responding on behalf of beneficiaries, Mr O.A Goriola of November 16 Nigeria Ltd, commended the state government for the initiative and pledged that the funds would be judiciously utilized.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

Economy

Demand Pressure Jerks NGX All-Share Index to 54,213.09 points

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All-Share Index NGX

By Dipo Olowookere

The sustained demand for domestic stocks further raised the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited by 0.40 per cent on Friday, with the All-Share Index (ASI) crossing the 54,000-point threshold at the close of business.

The index, which measures the general performance of the bourse, appreciated by 214.97 points to settle at 54,213.09 points compared with the preceding day’s 53,998.12 points, as the market capitalisation expanded by N117 billion to close at N29.528 trillion as against Thursday’s closing value of N29.411 trillion.

The growth reported yesterday was supported by buying pressure across sectors of the market, though the consumer goods space came under selling pressure, losing 0.39 per cent.

However, this did not affect the outcome of the bourse due to the 1.06 per cent recorded by the banking counter, the 0.31 per cent expansion posted by the insurance sector, the 0.17 per cent growth printed by the energy counter, and the 0.04 per cent improvement reported by the industrial goods space.

Business Post reports that the market breadth remained positive on Friday, with 35 price gainers and 10 price losers, indicating a very strong investor sentiment.

Red Star Express, International Energy Insurance, and FTN Cocoa gained 10.00 per cent each yesterday to finish at N2.53, 99 Kobo, and 33 Kobo, respectively. MRS Oil gained 9.94 per cent to end at N19.35, and Northern Nigerian Flour Mills rose by 9.55 per cent to N9.75.

Conversely, Ikeja Hotel was the worst-performing stock after it dropped 10.00 per cent to 99 Kobo, Lasaco Assurance fell by 5.88 per cent to 96 Kobo, ABC Transport declined by 5.41 per cent to 35 Kobo, Universal Insurance went down by 4.76 per cent to 20 Kobo, and May & Baker shed 2.89 per cent to N4.71.

At the market yesterday, investors traded 268.02 million stocks worth N2.4 billion in 4,017 deals compared with the 2.9 billion stocks worth N8.1 billion traded in 3,940 deals on Thursday, indicating an increase in the number of deals by 1.95 per cent and a decline in the trading volume and value by 90.66 per cent and 70.37 per cent apiece.

Universal Insurance topped the activity chart after it sold 63.4 million shares, GTCO traded 20.8 million equities, Transcorp exchanged 19.5 million stocks, International Energy Insurance transacted 12.8 million equities, and Access Holdings traded 12.5 million shares.

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Economy

Naira Shortage: President Buhari Calls for Calm

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President Buhari

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to remain calm as they express their anger over the shortage of Naira in the financial system.

Since last week, many citizens of the country have been unable to access their funds in the banks because of a shortage in the supply of the redesigned Naira notes.

This has resulted in a huge crowd at banking premises across the nation, with several persons queuing at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) terminals waiting to withdraw their money with success.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations last year and said the old notes would no longer be legal tender from January 31, 2023.

However, while many Nigerians approached their banks last Sunday to quickly deposit their funds to beat the deadline, the CBN announced that the deadline had been moved to February 10, 2023.

The next day, while customers attempted to withdraw their funds over the counter, they were informed that the apex bank had directed them (commercial banks) not to honour cash withdrawal requests.

Also, cash withdrawal from ATMs was limited, making it very difficult for businesses to operate, triggering a protest in Ibadan on Friday.

When the demonstration was going on, Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were meeting with President Buhari to persuade him to do something about the Naira scarcity.

After the gathering, he said in a social media post that, “I am aware of the cash shortages and hardship being faced by people and businesses on account of the Naira redesign.

“I want to assure you that we are doing everything to resolve these issues. Nigerians should expect significant improvements between now and the February 10 deadline.

“I met with a delegation of Governors today on the matter. All the complaints about the execution of the currency change are being seriously looked into.

“I will ensure that everything is resolved in a lasting manner, and we will all enjoy the long-term benefits of the decision.”

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Economy

Local Currency Appreciates at P2P, I&E, Depreciates at Black Market

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local currency nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya

The local currency appreciated by N2 on the United States Dollar at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P) foreign exchange (FX) window, closing at N760/$1 on Friday, February 3, compared with the previous day’s N762/$1, indicating a form of ease as tensions rose across the country following a cash crunch that has triggered anger and aggression in some states.

President Muhammadu Buhari stepped in on Friday and pleaded with Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the crisis caused by the scarcity of new Naira notes.

The President said he had seen reports about cash shortages and the effect on local businesses and ordinary people.

In the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment, the Naira recorded a 50 Kobo or 0.11 per cent upward movement against the US Dollar to trade at N461.50/$1 compared with the preceding day’s N462.00/$1.

The day’s trading data showed that the value of forex transactions during the official market slightly increased by 3.54 per cent or $4.08 million to $119.43 million from the $115.35 million recorded a day before.

But in the black market, the Nigerian currency depreciated against the Dollar by N1 to close at N753/$1, in contrast to Thursday’s exchange rate of N752/$1.

In the interbank window, the domestic currency closed flat against the British Pound Sterling and the Euro on Friday at N568.32/£1 and N507.14/€1, respectively.

At the cryptocurrency market, there was a mixed outcome across the tokens tracked by Business Post as moves by the US Federal Reserve to raise rates by 25 basis points continued to send jittery signals.

Binance Coin (BNB) recorded a 2.8 per cent rise to sell at $329.32, Dogecoin (DOGE) grew by 2.4 per cent to trade at $0.0935, Solana (SOL) appreciated by 1.1 per cent to $24.49, Ethereum (ETH) improved by 0.9 per cent to $1,654.18, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 0.6 per cent addition to quote at $0.4006, while Litecoin (LTC) rose by 0.4 per cent to $99.15.

However, Bitcoin (BTC) declined by 0.7 per cent to trade at $23,356.32, and Ripple (XRP) recorded a 0.2 per cent slump to trade at $0.4092, while Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closed flat at $1.00 each.

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