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FG Seeks Favourable Business Environment for SMEs in Nigeria



MSMEs Sustainability

By Ahmed Rahma

For Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to survive, they must be allowed to operate in a favourable business environment.

The Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, said this at a workshop held for small business owners in the country recently.

The event was organised by the Bank of Industry (BoI) in partnership with Procter and Gamble (P&G) and had in attendance the Vice President of Nigeria, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, amongst others.

The Minister, in his presentation, assured that, “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs with the required support and trainings needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory.

“We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation.

“We are grateful to organisations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy.”

Business Post reports that over SMEs were granted access to trainings during the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy, which had a panel session themed SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building.

In his keynote address, the Vice President said, “The federal government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities.

“The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses, especially during this current crisis.

“We thank P&G and BoI for this proactive initiative designed to ensure a better Nigeria.”

On his part, the Managing Director of BoI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, disclosed that, “The maiden edition was held in October 2019. This second edition and the first virtual event has been expanded to incorporate structured trainings.

“This initiative has become particularly important in this era of the covid-19 pandemic and current global economic challenges, which has left many SME businesses struggling to survive now.

“The Bank of Industry remains committed to transforming Nigeria’s economic sector through funding, strategic partnerships and strengthening of our technology and operations.”

For the MD of P&G Nigeria, Mr Adil Farhat, efforts must be made to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria as they have the potential to outrightly transform the country.

“In line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialisation and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains.

“For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens,” Mr Farhat said.

Over the years, P&G has maintained a significant manufacturing investment in Nigeria with their plants in Lagos and Ibadan and general offices in Lagos. The organisation’s operations generate over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs and create over 300 SMEs with sustained training programs.

The people are its greatest assets with over 95 per cent local employees and 50 per cent female representation at managerial levels.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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NSE Demutualisation Will Strengthen Investors’ Confidence in Capital Market—FIRS



capital market operators

By Dipo Olowookere

The demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has been described as a step in the right direction because it will in the long run benefit the capital market in general.

This was the view of the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammad Mamman Nami.

The nation’s tax chief, thereafter, commended the leadership of the exchange for doing everything possible within its powers to push for the unbundling of the bourse.

Last Friday, the FIRS boss had an engagement with the capital market community through the NSE and he was honoured with the digital closing gong ceremony.

During his remarks, he said, “The FIRS has been keenly following the activities and the developments at The Exchange which bear mutual benefits to both institutions.

“Noteworthy is the demutualisation of the NSE which will undoubtedly promote access to diverse investment opportunities and strengthen investors’ confidence in the capital market.

“Furthermore, there is clear evidence that the policies being put in place by the management of the exchange are yielding positive results given the impressive performance of the equities market in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic and harsh social and economic conditions.

“I assure you that the FIRS will continue to support the positive initiatives of the NSE to improve its operations, achieve its goals and deliver on its mandate.”

On his part, the CEO of the NSE, Mr Oscar Onyema, noted thus, “I am delighted to welcome the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Mr Muhammad Mamman Nami, to this digital closing gong ceremony.

“The FIRS is saddled with the very important task of assessing, collecting and accounting for tax and other revenues accruing to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“I must, therefore, commend the FIRS for its internal revenue assessment and collection efforts for the benefit of our economy, even in these challenging times.

“As responsible corporate citizens, we at the NSE are proud to be associated with the FIRS and will continue to strengthen our relationship even as we look ahead to our post-demutualisation phase.”

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Japaul, 29 Other Stocks Shred Market by 0.44%



Stock Market Newspaper

By Dipo Olowookere

Transactions on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) closed bearish on Wednesday following the losses recorded by 30 equities on the platform.

Japaul was the worst-performing stock at the midweek session, losing 10.00 per cent of its share value to settle for the day at 54 kobo per unit.

NEM Insurance depreciated by 9.91 per cent to close at N1.91 per unit, Champion Breweries further lost 9.76 per cent to trade at N1.85 per share, NPF Microfinance Bank declined by 9.47 per cent to N1.72 per unit, while Linkage Assurance tripped by 8.93 per cent to 51 kobo per share.

Business Post reports that only 16 equities ended on the gainers’ table yesterday with Seplat claiming the top spot after its share price rose by 10.00 per cent to N583 per unit.

AIICO Insurance improved by 5.22 per cent to N1.21 per share, Cornerstone Insurance gained 5.17 per cent to settle at 61 kobo per share, UAC Property appreciated by 5.00 per cent to 84 kobo per unit, while Cutix chalked up 4.21 per cent to sell for N2.23 per share.

Apart from the energy sector, which appreciated by 5.02 per cent and the banking space which closed flat, every other sector closed negative with the insurance counter losing 0.86 per cent, the consumer goods sector going down by 0.45 per cent and the industrial goods index dropping 0.41 per cent.

During the session, Zenith Bank was the most active stock with the sale of 41.4 million units worth N1.1 billion. It was trailed by GTBank, which sold 29.0 million stocks for N919.8 million.

United Capital traded 24.6 million equities for N145.3 million, Axa Mansard Insurance exchanged 17.6 million stocks worth N18.5 million, while FBN Holdings transacted 16.5 million shares valued at N115.8 million.

At the close of trading activities, a total of 244.3 million shares worth N4.1 billion were traded in 4,714 deals compared with the 222.6 million equities worth N5.4 billion exchanged in 4,470 deals the preceding session.

This indicated that the trading value reduced by 23.42 per cent, while the trading volume and the number of deals increased by 9.78 per cent and 5.46 per cent respectively.

For the benchmark index, the All-Share Index (ASI) reduced on Wednesday by 175.56 points to 39,522.06 points from 39,697.62 points, while the market capitalisation decreased by N92 billion to N20.678 trillion from N20.770 trillion.

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Friesland Milks NASD OTC Exchange by 0.10%




By Adedapo Adesanya

The bearish situation on the trading floor of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange entered the third day on Wednesday.

The unlisted securities market depreciated yesterday by 0.10 per cent, no thanks to FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, a popular milk manufacturer in Nigeria.

During the session, the market capitalisation of the bourse reduced by N490 million as a result of the poor performance of Friesland to N498.99 billion from N499.48 billion on Tuesday.

Equally, the NASD Unlisted Security Index (NSI) lost 0.68 points to wrap the day at 695.45 points as against 696.13 points recorded at the previous trading session.

Business Post reports that the share price of FrieslandCampina went down on Wednesday by 0.4 per cent or 50 kobo to N119 per unit versus N119.50 per unit of the earlier session.

However, there was no single price riser when trading activities were wrapped up yesterday.

The market witnessed another decline in the volume of securities exchanged among investors at the midweek session as 20,614 units were transacted compared to the previous day’s 77,320 units, indicating a 73.3 per cent decrease in the trading volume.

The value of transactions also went down again yesterday by 39.7 per cent as all traded securities amounted to N3.8 million compared to the previous day’s N2.3 million.

However, the number of deals traded on Wednesday amounted to six deals, the same number of deals recorded on Tuesday at the exchange.

Five of these deals were executed on FrieslandCampina, while Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc carried out a single deal.

Yesterday, UBN Property Plc remained as the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with the sale of 15.5 million units valued at N16.8 billion. CSCS Plc followed in second place with 4.7 million units worth N74.5 million, while FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc held the third position with 2.7 million units worth N331.7 million.

However, FrieslandCampina was the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with the sale of 2.7 million units valued at N331.7 million. Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc has traded 612,249 units of its securities valued at N198.1 million, while CSCS Plc has traded 4.7 million units worth N74.5 million.

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Local Currency Gains 0.15% at I&E, Flat at Parallel Market



local currency nigeria

By Ahmed Rahma, Adedapo Adesanya

The Naira recorded some gains on the US Dollar on Wednesday, March 3 at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange market.

Business Post reports that the Naira appreciated by 0.15 per cent or 63 kobo at the trading session to close at N411/$1 in contrast to N411.63/$1 it traded at the preceding trading day.

This growth was boosted by the decline in the demand for FX at the market as the day’s turnover went down by 44 per cent or $26.02 million to $33.15 million from $59.17 million of the preceding session.

However, at the parallel market, the domestic currency closed flat against the United States Dollar at N480/$1 at the midweek trading session.

Also at the same window, the local currency closed flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro yesterday at N672/£1 and N580/€1 respectively.

At the interbank segment of the market, the value of the Naira still remained unchanged against the US Dollar at N379/$1 and at the Bureaux De Change (BDC) window, the local currency closed flat at N395/$.

Meanwhile, at the cryptocurrency market, five of the seven main digital currencies tracked on Wednesday by Business Post on trading and tracking platform, Quidax, closed in the positive territory.

The US Dollar Tether (USDT) recorded the highest jump during the trading session with a growth of 5.7 per cent to trade at 652.00. The Dash (DASH) appreciated by 3.0 per cent to sell at N146,800, while the Bitcoin (BTC) gained 1.6 per cent to quote at N32,594,988.

In addition, the Ethereum (ETH) grew by 0.6 per cent to sell at N1,018,333.00, while the Litecoin (LTC) appreciated by 1.3 per cent to trade at N123,000.

On the loser’s corner, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 2.0 per cent falloff to trade at N290.15 and was followed by Tron (TRX), which recorded a 0.1 per cent slide to sell at N31.79.

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Oil Rises 2% on Speculative Halting of Supply Cut



crude oil market

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crude prices halted their recent bearish trend on Wednesday amid speculations that an alliance of oil producers could decide not to increase oil production from April as widely expected.

Yesterday, the Brent crude rose by 2.03 per cent or $1.27 to sell at $63.97 per barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained  2.56 per cent or $1.53 to sell at $61.28 per barrel.

The major talking point in the oil market these days is if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) can absorb extra barrels despite opposition from members.

There are two parts to the production rise that OPEC+ will discuss. The first is whether the cartel will proceed with a 500,000 barrel per day collective rise in April. The second is the question of how Saudi Arabia could phase out its extra reduction of 1 million barrels a day.

Reuters reported that the OPEC+ alliance is considering keeping the oil production cuts from March in place in April as well, in view of the still-fragile global demand recovery.

Key members of OPEC have proposed keeping the current level of the OPEC+ cuts intact in April, while it is not immediately clear if Saudi Arabia would reverse its extra 1 million barrels a day cut from April, according to Reuters’ sources.

This report is in contrast with the expectations of many analysts and the market as a whole that the ministers of the OPEC+ group are set to decide on Thursday to increase production from April.

Saudi Arabia is also expected to reverse its additional 1 million barrels per day unilateral cut from April.

The premise won’t be known until the meeting ends on Thursday when the decision will be announced from OPEC+, but ahead of that, the market will continue to speculate and react to all kinds of reports.

Prices were not affected even as crude oil inventories in the United States increased by more than 20 million barrels per day last week, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

There was a build of 21.6 million barrels for the week to February 26 just as demand levelled off, production rose and Gulf Coast refinery utilization rates dropped.

This was different from the estimated 7.4 million barrels build reported by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and analyst expectations of an inventory draw of 1.85 million barrels.

For the previous week, the EIA had estimated a crude oil inventory build of 1.3 million barrels.

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300% ROI in 4 Weeks: Ponzi Scheme Operator Opts for Plea Bargain



Kano Ponzi Scheme Operator

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A Ponzi scheme operator based in Kano State, Mrs Maryam Abu Shinga, who lured her victims with a return on investment of 300 per cent in four weeks, has opted for a plea bargain.

According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which arraigned her, she was able to entice investors when she told them she was investing their funds in gold mining business.

But unknown to the unsuspecting investors, Mrs Shinga was not into the gold mining business she claimed. She was able to pay some early investors with funds taken from new victims.

The anti-graft agency informed Justice Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Kano that Mrs Shinga told her victims that when they invest N500,000 in her business, she would give them N1.5 million in four weeks.

This claim was enticing to some investors, who parted away with their funds with the hopes of getting 300 per cent of the money within a month.

The EFCC, during the trial, told the court the Ponzi scheme operator allegedly diverted about N394.5 million she collected from different investors.

When she was arraigned on a one-count amended charge of retention of proceeds of crime, she pleaded ‘not guilty’, thereby setting the stage for trial.

During the trial which commenced on January 23, 2020, the prosecution called five witnesses and tendered several documents in evidence. However, before the prosecution could close its case, she opted for a plea bargain.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, while delivering his judgment, Justice Allagoa accepted the terms of a plea bargain agreement, convicted and sentenced the defendant to restitute the complainants in the sum of N110 million.

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