By Aduragbemi Omiyale
More than 150 ease of doing business reforms have been implemented by the federal government, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, has claimed.
He said one of the reforms include the signing of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020) by President Muhammadu Buhari, which introduced at least 15 new provisions that promote ease of doing business and reduce regulatory hurdles in Nigeria.
Mr Mohammed, while speaking during a visit to the IshK Tolaram Foundation in Lagos on Monday, stated that these reforms were the brainchild of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
According to him, the initiatives of the government have helped to move the country up 39 places on the now-rested World Bank Doing Business index since 2016.
“To understand the significance of Nigeria moving up in the World Bank Doing Business Index, we have to recall that between 2007 and 2015, Nigeria lost 64 places in the World Bank ease of doing business ranking,’” he said
The Minister further stated that as a result of the reforms, the 2018 Subnational Doing Business report on Nigeria recorded unprecedented improvement, and the World Economic Forum (WEF), in its 2018 Global Competitive Report, recognised Nigeria’s business environment as one of the most entrepreneurial in the world, and highlighted Nigeria’s improved competitiveness in the enabling business environment.
Mr Mohammed said PEBEC also collaborated with the National Assembly on the Secured Transaction in Movable Asset Act (STMA), 2017 and the Credit Reporting Act, 2017, which provides a legal framework for collateralisation of moveable assets with the creation of the National Collateral Registry, while CRA 2017 enhances credit reporting in Nigeria.
“The Creation of a National Collateral Registry (NCR) of movable assets by the Central Bank of Nigeria, with the support of the International Financial Corporation (IFC), in May 2016 ensures that functional equivalents of collaterals can be registered. To date, over N1 trillion assets have been uploaded on the Registry,” he said.
Other reforms listed by the Minister include visa on arrival for business people, reduction in the time it takes to register a company at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) – through the Company Registration Portal (CRP) – from about two weeks to just a few days – and the introduction of the electronic filing and payment of federal taxes.
Mr Mohammed commended the IshK Tolaram Foundation for its programmes in Nigeria, especially in the areas of healthcare as well as entrepreneurial and vocational training, saying the artificial limbs provided free of charge has inspired hope for the beneficiaries.
“I am reliably informed that the Foundation, through its IshK Limb Centres in Lagos and Port Harcourt, and mobile camps, has provided more than 19,000 free prosthetic limbs. I am also aware that 242 students have graduated from the foundation’s vocational skills training programme while 157 have started earning their livelihood through jobs and start-ups. This is quite impressive and I congratulate the IshK Foundation for this feat,” he said.
The Programme Director of ISHK Foundation, Ms Neha Mehra, who conducted the Minister round the Lagos centre, said the foundation, which is funded with 25 per cent of the profit from the Tolaram Group, was set up as the next step in a 100-year history of philanthropy at Tolaram.
She said the foundation partners with churches, mosques, hospitals and NGOs to identify and support people requiring artificial limbs free of charge.
Nigeria’s Crude Oil Refining Capacity to Hit 1.2 million bpd in 5 Years—NCDMB
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has expressed optimism that in the next five years, crude oil refineries in the country would be able to refine not less than 1.2 million barrels per day.
The Executive Secretary of the organisation, Mr Simbi Wabote, while speaking at the maiden NCDMB Nigerian Content Midstream/Downstream Oil & Gas Summit in Lagos themed Towards Maximizing Potentials in the Midstream and Downstream Oil & Gas Sector – A Local Content Perspective, said, “About 400,000 barrels per day is expected from the rehabilitation of NNPC refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna using target performance of not less than ninety per cent of nameplate capacity.
“The Greenfield element of the roadmap covers the mechanically complete 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Refinery in Lagos and the 200,000 barrels per day BUA Refinery in Akwa Ibom state.”
He disclosed that the NCDMB has partnered with major operators in the industry such as NNPC, Waltersmith, Azikel, and Atlantic Refinery among other stakeholders to help grow domestic refining capacity.
Mr Wabote also said that Nigerian content is targeted to achieve 70 per cent in the Nigerian oil and gas industry by the year 2027.
“Based on our 10-year strategic roadmap to achieve 70 per cent Nigerian Content target in the Nigerian oil and gas industry by the year 2027, the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry represent key areas to derive and extract value to meet our set target,” he said.
According to Mr Wabote, there is an opportunity to maximize potential in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, especially in the area of employment, entry barriers for businesses, and profit margin in the LPG value chain, energy security and social impact.
“It is important to highlight that this development goal goes beyond the oil and gas but has linkage to other sectors of the economy covering construction, ICT, agriculture, Research and Development, Education, and others.
“NCDMB is serving as a catalyst to enhance the realization of the refining roadmap,” the NCDMB boss stated.
He also emphasized the importance of the completion of projects undertaken by the board and partners, saying, “There is no doubt that these giant strides in the midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry are indeed the envy of many African countries. It is however important that we finish off the projects under development so that the associated values and opportunities could be realized.”
”The need to share investment and skills across the borders within Africa, indigenous research and development, funding structure for hydrocarbon projects, and others were key factors identified as focus areas to ensure our readiness to take our destiny in our hands.
“I am delighted that APPO has signed an MOU with Afrexim Bank to set the ball rolling in addressing the funding challenge,” he added.
Identity Management System Will Reduce Unclaimed Dividends—SEC
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has expressed confidence that the identity management system being developed for the Nigerian capital market will reduce the problems of unclaimed dividends.
The high unclaimed dividends in the system have been a source of worry for the regulator, prompting the introduction of the e-dividend mandate, which made it possible for shareholders to receive their cash rewards directly into their bank accounts.
One of the issues discovered to be fuelling the fallow dividends is the identity management crisis and to eliminate this, SEC is coming up with an initiative to allow investors to regularise their shares bought with different identities into a single account.
Over the weekend, the Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, received members of the Committee on Identity Management for the capital market in Abuja and he described identity theft as a fraudulent practise of using another person’s name and personal information to obtain shares, credit and loans, among others.
He added that the commission decided to engage relevant stakeholders in a bid to resolve issues of identity management to tackle the problem of unclaimed dividends.
According to him, the problem of unclaimed dividends has to do with identity management, hence, the efforts to harmonize various databases of investors and facilitate data accuracy in the market as well as increase investors’ education to stem the trend.
Mr Yuguda, who expressed satisfaction with the work of the committee so far, added that stakeholder engagements would commence in earnest to ensure the success of the project.
While thanking the members of the panel for lending their support and resources to the project, he also expressed confidence in the success of the scheme that it would build a greater Nigeria and impact unborn generations.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the team, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, commended the agency on the recent release of Rules on Issuance, Offering Platforms and Custody of Digital Assets, saying that it was a step in the right direction.
Mr Aig-Imoukhuede said the committee’s work had exposed the need for standardization of systems within the Nigerian capital market that would support Open Finance which the SEC can drive, adding that the SEC could leverage on the committee to develop the framework for the Nigerian capital market.
According to him, “The committee had clearly defined the task ahead in a roadmap and also identified that the project would be carried out in stages supported by a consultant with recourse to the SEC on a regular basis.
“The committee is committed to ensuring that the customer journey for investors is such that would cause a revolution in the Nigerian capital market, thereby making our market attractive to the tech-savvy and younger generation.”
LBS, NowNow Unveil Financial Literacy Initiative
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A financial literacy initiative designed to drive financial inclusion growth in Nigeria has been unveiled by the Lagos Business School (LBS) and NowNow, a leading African B2B and B2C fintech company.
The LBS is embarking on this project through its Sustainable Inclusive Digital Financial Services (SIDFS). The fintech will use this programme to ensure smart financial planning and reach its customers, especially those who do not have bank accounts.
“We strongly believe that financial inclusion should be complemented by financial education. In this regard, we are excited to partner with the SIDFS of the LBS to provide financial literacy directly to Nigerians.
“Our partnership with SIDFS is critical to moving the financial inclusion needle to ensure citizens have the necessary knowledge and skills to use financial services,” the Partnership Director of NowNow Digital Services, Mr Lekan Akinjide, stated.
The Programme Lead at SIDFS, Olayinka David-West, disclosed that; “Since 2016, LBS’ Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Financial Services has supported the financial services ecosystem with rich evidence-based insights, particularly about women, youths, and rural dwellers, who are the most excluded groups.
“Research shows that financial literacy is a driver of financial inclusion and providing financial education can produce outstanding results in the quest to integrate excluded people into the formal financial system.
“We are excited to work with NowNow to improve financial literacy among Nigeria’s most excluded demography and look forward to the impact and outcome of our collective efforts.”
The LBS, with the support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the Sustainable Digital Financial Services Project in Nigeria in 20152016.
The initiative engages in research and advocacy projects with the goal of creating an inclusive ecosystem for financial services and understanding.
The SIDFS supports the development and promotion of sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s financial inclusion challenges and helps more Nigerians access financial services.
In partnership with SIDFS, NowNow will adapt the content into an easily digestible format for specific audiences. The fintech company aims to bridge the gap between the banking system and the unbanked population by providing educational content through different channels to raise awareness and establish financial inclusion.
NowNow’s mission is to deliver best in class financial services to SMEs, banking agents and consumers, and provide financial empowerment to Africans. The long-term partnership would be in phases with the initial offering focused on women before expanding to youths and then to other sub-categories.
The strategy to focus on women at the initial stage is informed by the statistics that they form a greater percentage of the financially excluded groups and are more excluded from the formal sector in comparison to the other groups.
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