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Economy

Experts to Discuss Business Funding, Others at MSME Dialogue

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MSME Dialogue

By Dipo Olowookere

Come Saturday, August 22, 2020, by 10 am, key stakeholders in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) will share their views on issues affecting the sector of the economy.

It is believed that the industry is a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria, but despite this, the sector has largely been given lesser attention.

But next Saturday, issues concerning funding and others would be discussed at a programme put together by one of the major forces in the space, MSME Africa.

At the event tagged MSME Dialogue and requires registration via http://bit.ly/MSMEDIALOGUE, experts in the field will proffer solutions to the issues of raising capital, accessing credits, funding types, business profitability and other related issues.

According to the organisers of the maiden virtual programme, business owners from different sectors will be in attendance and will have the Chief Energising Officer of Consistent Energy Limited, Mr Segun Adaju, as one of the speakers.

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Others are the Deputy Chief Financial Officer of TVC Communications, Ms Victoria Ajayi; the Acting CEO of FirstCentral Credit Bureau Limited & Chairman, Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria (CBAN), Mr Oladimeji Peters; and the Chief Financial Officer of Titan Trust Bank, Mr Mark Oguh, with Ms Folake Adekola of PwC UK moderating the session.

Speaker on the forthcoming event, the convener and President of MSME Africa, Mr Seye Olurotimi, noted that, “Funding, financing and profitability and big deals to business owners; they pose major challenges to the growth and survival of MSMEs and that is why we have decided to address and proffer solutions to them at the very first edition of the MSME Dialogue.”

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The MSME expert and champion further said, “From my interactions with MSME operators over the years, I have realised that there is a lot of gap with regards to information on the various financing types and the requirements for accessing them and this must be addressed.

“If we really want to grow the equally; we must pay attention to the over 41 million businesses who fall into the MSME category.”

According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) from its PwC’s MSME Survey 2020- Building to last, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country face an estimated N617.3 billion financing gap annually which accounts for less than one per cent of banks’ credit in 2018.

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The report further stated that besides obtaining finance, finding customers and infrastructure deficits also accounted for the top of the most pressing problems for small businesses, while generating electricity constituted the biggest cost to the MSMEs.

According to the PwC report, “Access to finance, in particular credit, is a critical enabler for the growth and development of small and medium enterprises.”

MSME Africa is a multi-faceted resource platform for MSME in Africa providing news, opportunities, articles and resources for stakeholders. The platform is poised to build the biggest network and community of MSMEs in Africa in years to come.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

CBN Gives Nearly 4 million Farmers N756.5bn

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Ghana peasant farmers

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said it has disbursed N756.5 billion to nearly 4 million (approximately 3,734,938) smallholder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land to improve food security in the country.

The development was revealed by CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emiefele, while presenting the communiqué of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

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According to the CBN boss, a total number of 627,051 farmers were granted N120.2 billion for the 2021 wet season under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to cultivate 847,484 hectares of land.

“Under the bank’s development finance initiatives, the bank granted N756.5 billion to 3,734,938 smallholder farmers cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, of which N120.2 billion was extended for the 2021 wet season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the ABP,” Mr Emefiele said.

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Furthermore, the apex bank said a total of N121.6 billion has been shared among 32,617 beneficiaries under the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS).

Mr Emiefele also disclosed that the bank has released N318.2 billion to 679,422 beneficiaries for the targeted credit facility.

These beneficiaries, as said by the CBN chief, includes 572,189 individuals and 107,233 small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

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Meanwhile, the committee reviewed the domestic economic developments and noted that the non-oil sector, agriculture and industry sub-sectors were the major drivers of improvement as it recorded growth rates of 2.28 and 0.94 per cent, accordingly.

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Economy

Lafarge Africa Grows Net Sales to N145bn in Six Months

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Lafarge Africa

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the major cement manufacturers in Nigeria, Lafarge Africa Plc, has continued to show resilience in the face of various challenges caused by COVID-19.

On Thursday, the firm released its half-year earnings for 2021 and the results showed that the net sales grew by 20.3 per cent to N145.0 billion from N120.5 billion in the same period of 2020.

Business Post reports that the sale of cement accounting for N141.4 billion of the total revenue for the period versus N118.6 billion in H1 2020, while the sale of aggregates and concrete contributing N3.6 billion compared with N2.0 billion in the same period of last year.

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The financial statements revealed that the cost of sales gulped N97.0 billion as against N78.8 billion in the first six months of 2020, leaving the organisation with a gross profit of N48.0 billion compared with N41.7 billion in 2020, while the operating profit improved to N38.2 billion from N32.8 billion.

In the results, Lafarge Africa said it had selling and marketing costs of N1.5 billion, lower than N1.6 billion in the same time of last year and this was mainly due to a reduction in advertising expenses to N113.0 million from N182.5 million.

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However, the administrative costs rose to N9.2 billion from N7.8 billion as a result of the rise in salaries and other staff-related costs, office and general expenses, as well as technical service fees.

In the period, the cement firm recorded a decline in finance income, which stood at N362.9 million compared with N377.1 million, while the finance costs went down to N2.7 billion from N4.4 billion.

On the bottom line of the results, Lafarge Africa said it had a profit before tax of N36.8 billion in H1 2021 versus N28.8 billion in H1 2020, while the profit after tax jumped to N28.3 billion from N23.3 billion.

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The CEO of Lafarge Africa, Mr Khaled El Dokani, while commenting on the results, stated that, “Our performance remained resilient in Q2 2021, with net sales of 29.4 per cent, recurring EBIT of 11.1 per cent and net income of 25.7 per cent compared to the previous year.

“We are equally pleased with the progress we are making on sustainability; our use of affordable clean energy and our agroecology footprint is in accordance with the acceleration of our net-zero pledge”.

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Economy

NGX Index Slumps 0.03% Amid Weak Trading Activity

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Trading Activity

By Dipo Olowookere

Trading activity on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited was weak on Wednesday as investors continued to play safe.

Some of the traders have retreated from the market, awaiting the release of the half-year results of market shakers like Dangote Cement, the tier-one banks and others.

As a result, the NGX depreciated by 0.03 per cent, causing the All-Share Index (ASI) to drop 11.12 points to 38,791.03 points from 38,802.15 points.

Equally, the market capitalisation went down at the midweek trading session by N6 billion to close at N20.211 trillion compared with the previous day’s N20.217 trillion.

Business Post reports that sell-offs in banking and insurance equities contributed to the decline as their respective indices depreciated by 0.96 per cent and 0.88 per cent.

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But during the session, the energy sector appreciated by 1.68 per cent, while the consumer goods counter grew by 0.11 per cent, with the industrial goods index closing flat.

Consolidated Hallmark Insurance and Tripple Gee were the worst-performing stocks yesterday as they lost 10.00 per cent each to close at 54 kobo and 90 kobo respectively.

Pharma Deko depreciated by 9.92 per cent to trade at N1.09, Regency Alliance lost 6.82 per cent to sell for 41 kobo, while Eterna went down by 6.58 per cent to N7.10.

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At the other side, Capital Hotels outperformed others after its value rose by 9.85 per cent to trade at N2.90 and was trailed by Oando, which gained 9.81 per cent to close at N5.26.

BOC Gases appreciated by 8.88 per cent to N9.20, FTN Cocoa grew by 8.16 per cent to 53 kobo, while Livestock Feeds improved by 4.80 per cent to N2.40.

At the close of business, investors traded 237.5 million shares worth N1.9 billion in 4,305 deals in contrast to the 243.1 million shares worth N1.9 billion transacted in 4,326 deals on Tuesday.

This indicated that while the trading volume and the number of deals depreciated by 2.29 per cent and 0.49 per cent respectively, the trading value closed flat.

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It was observed that the demand for Oando stocks persisted after a settlement of its dispute with the apex capital market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On Wednesday, the company was the most traded stock with the sale of 44.3 million units valued at N233.0 million, while UBA, which followed, traded 19.4 million units worth N150.8 million.

Wema Bank transacted 14.2 million units valued at N11.9 million, Access Bank traded 13.3 million units worth N123.7 million, while Jaiz Bank transacted 12.3 million units valued at N7.6 million.

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