Ghana Poll: SME Should Top Winner’s Agenda—Nmonwu
By Dipo Olowookere
The party that emerges as the winner of Ghana’s general election, to be held on 7 December, should seize the opportunity to drive economic growth by creating policies and a legislative environment where business builders can thrive.
That’s according to Mr Magnus Nmonwu, Regional Director for Sage in West Africa, the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, HR & payroll, and payment systems.
He said improving the ease of doing business as well as setting sound macro-economic policies would help to generate GDP growth for the Ghanaian economy.
Small & Medium Businesses are an engine for job and wealth creation in several growing economies around the world.
“Ghana has been an exemplary democracy for the past two decades and made some impressive progress in reducing poverty during the last commodities boom.
With its sound legal system and a regulatory environment that gives businesses stability, it is one of the most business-friendly countries in sub Saharan Africa,” says Mr Nmonwu.
“We believe that the time is now ripe for the government to collaborate more closely with the private sector on ways to create jobs and raise income levels. With an estimated 90% of businesses in Ghana being Small & Medium Businesses, this sector generates and drives much of Ghana’s income and employment. Supporting it can rekindle economic growth for the country.”
Mr Nmonwu further noted that one of Ghana’s most significant economic opportunities lies in diversifying its economic base and boosting exports. Government can support these opportunities through targeted investments in infrastructure, education and vocational training, and small business financing. “We have seen some interesting initiatives in recent years,” he adds.
Financing remains a challenge
“For example, the launch of the Ghana EXIM (Export Import) Bank addresses the need for financing if business builders in the country are to grow the small business sector and exports. Financing remains a challenge for many smaller Ghanaian companies, so providing them with low-interest loans is an intervention that will make a difference.”
Another area where focus could pay off is skills development, particularly with an emphasis on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills needed to boost the economy into the digital age and services economy. Ghana should also look at how investments in roads, power and telecoms – in partnership with the private sector – might drive growth by lifting productivity; it could also be a way to create opportunities for small businesses through procurement.
Modernising government IT
Modernising the government’s ICT system is another opportunity, Mr Nmonwu says. “By implementing the right accounting, payroll and citizen interaction systems, the government can improve efficiencies while showing its commitment to accountability and transparency,” he adds. “It can also use online technology to make it easier for entrepreneurs and individuals to interact with the government.”
“Entrepreneurship has the potential to power the economies in West African countries. It is entrepreneurs who are the drivers of prosperity, and it is in government’s interest to support them,” he says. “Business builders take risks to follow their dreams and pursue their passions, and they hold the key to West Africa’s prosperity.”
Moghalu Explains Why CBN Naira Redesign Policy Woefully Failed
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A former deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Kingsley Moghalu, has attributed the failure of the Naira redesign policy of the apex bank to the lack of effective risk management, its use as a political tool and others.
Last October, the central bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced that the designs of the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations would be changed.
In a special press briefing, he disclosed that the new notes would be introduced into the banking system by December 15, while the old currency notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
However, the deadline was moved forward to February 10, and on March 3, the supreme court extended the deadline to December 31, 2023, meaning the old notes will remain valid by the end of the year.
From February 10 till now, Nigerians have been unable to have access to cash as commercial banks limit what customers can withdraw via their channels. In some cases, customers are limited to N1,000, N2,000, and N5,000 cash withdrawals, forcing them through an untold hardship and making a mess of the Naira redesign and cashless policies of the CBN.
While speaking on the issue, Mr Moghalu blamed his former employers for the failure of the policy, noting that they did not put the system under thorough scrutiny.
“The terrible suffering and economic loss Nigerians have experienced as a result of the faulty IMPLEMENTATION of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Naira redesign policy, the entry of the judiciary into central banking functions, all show clearly how our institutions— and Nigeria — fail when institutions that are meant to be operationally independent become politicized.
“Currency functions are a core part of any central bank’s mandate. To that extent, I had no problem with the policy, except for two vital issues. First, the 90-deadline, which I warned, was too short to be effectively executed. Second, the timing is so close to the elections.
“But, as later became clear, there was a haphazard and incoherent communication of the PURPOSES of the policy. In one breath, it was said to be to reduce the money supply and help tame inflation (after the bank had created and lent N23 trillion to the federal government illegally because that was way beyond approved limits under the CBN Act of 2007). Next, it was promoted as a national security measure to halt kidnapping, Naira hoarding and sundry crimes. Then, next, it became about free and fair elections to stop vote-buying.
“This last reason became the most important — and controversial — reason as the tempo of the 2023 presidential contest rose to boil point. Expectedly, politicians who felt the policy targeted them complained loudly and wanted the deadline extended, while those who believed it helped their own political agendas hailed the tight and impractical deadline and did not want it moved.
“Nigerians were trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea of a desire to curb the menace of vote-buying and the effective confiscation of their own money by the implementation failure of the policy.
“While increasing digital payments, another purported goal of the policy, was a good one, that thinking failed to consider the reality that the payment infrastructure was still not robust in many rural areas of our country, that cash remains king, and, as I said on an interview with @LadiAAle of @channelstv, we were carrying on as if it has now become a crime to use cash in Nigeria. Most important, as I raised the question in that same interview, what exactly is the mandate of the CBN? Had it now become to end vote buying in elections? Surely, we have anti-corruption institutions vested with such mandates, and to use the CBN for that primary purpose was to politicize the institution.
“But many Nigerians, as usual, did not think deeply about the implications of this line of thinking and action because of their political passions against presumably corrupt politicians.
“Today, whatever may have been the benefits of the Naira redesign policy have been cancelled out by the economic and social gridlock it has created. We are still suffering from it after the almighty presidential election has come and gone.
“There are several lessons here. One such lesson is the importance of effective risk management, which was evidently absent in the conception and execution of the policy.
“I had highlighted this in a previous intervention. But there is the fundamental lesson of whether our institutions in Nigeria have been hijacked and subverted from serving the Nigerian people and our economy to serving personal and political agendas, including a dishonest use of a war against corruption as an attractive shiny object.
“One day, we will count the losses to the Nigerian economy, the legitimacy and effectiveness of a once-prestigious institution, and to the legitimacy of the Nigerian state itself, of the partisan politicization and de-professionalization of the leadership of the CBN.
“Our apex bank, along with the judiciary, is one of the key institutional prisms through which foreign countries and investors abroad and at home assess the functioning or otherwise of the Nigerian state. Turning it into a political football was and is a big mistake, and a strong indicator of state failure,” he wrote via his verified Twitter page.
OTC Stock Market Drops 0.22% as 11, CSCS Record Losses
By Adedapo Adesanya
Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc and 11 Plc suffered losses on Thursday, causing the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange to deflate by 0.22 per cent.
The duo overturned the gains recorded by FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Geo-Fluids Plc.
Data obtained by Business Post showed that CSCS Plc lost 5 Kobo to quote at N14.00 per unit versus the previous day’s N14.05 per unit, while 11 Plc lost N10 to close at N140.00 per unit compared with Wednesday’s value of N150.00 per unit.
On the flip side, FrieslandCampina appreciated by 59 Kobo to finish at N76.00 per share versus the previous closing price of N75.41 per share, as Geo-Fluids Plc gained 14 Kobo to close at N1.64 per share as against the previous day’s N1.50 per share.
At the close of transactions, investors lost N2.11 billion as the value of the OTC stock market closed at N959.06 billion, in contrast to the midweek’s N961.17 billion.
Following the same trend, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) decreased at the close of trades by 1.61 points to 729.87 points from 731.48 points.
It was observed that the volume of securities traded in the session went down by 77.2 per cent to 5.2 million from 23.1 million units, the value of stocks expanded by 139.5 per cent to N24.3 million from N10.1 million, while the number of deals increased by 7.7 per cent to 14 deals from 13 deals.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 460.3 million units valued at N501.9 million, UBN Property Plc transacted 365.8 units worth N309.5 million, while IGI Plc was in third place with 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
Conversely, VFD Group Plc was the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc has transacted 460.3 million units valued at N501.9 million to retained second place, while UBN Property Plc was in third place with 365.8 million units worth N309.5 million.
Nigerian Naira Loses Against US Dollar
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Naira depreciated on the American Dollar at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P), the Investors and Exporters (I&E), and the black market segments of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Thursday, March 24.
In the P2P market, the value of the local currency fell by N2 to sell at N755/$1 compared to the previous trading session’s exchange rate of N753/$1.
Also, in the official FX window, the domestic currency lost 17 Kobo or 0.04 per cent to quote at N461.67/$1 during the session, in contrast to the preceding day’s value of N461.50/$1.
The Naira weakened against the greenback yesterday amid a moderation in the value of forex trades achieved. The turnover stood at $80.03 million, 81.5 per cent or $351.74 million lower than the $431.77 million reported a day earlier.
In the parallel market, the depreciated against the US Dollar on Thursday by N1 to quote at N742/$1 compared with Wednesday’s N741/$1.
In the same vein, in the interbank segment, the Nigerian currency depreciated against the British Pound Sterling by N1.42 to close at N566.08/£1 versus the midweek session’s N564.66/£1.
Similarly, the Naira lost 73 Kobo against the Euro during the trading session to sell at N497.72/€1 compared with the previous day’s rate of N496.99/€1.
Meanwhile, yesterday, the cryptocurrency market shrugged off the US Federal Reserve’s 25-basis point rate hike and ongoing concerns about the banking sector and future monetary policy decisions.
Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, jumped 2.4 per cent to sell at $28,295.37, as its rival, Ethereum (ETH), went up by 3.6 per cent to quote at $1,812.05.
Litecoin (LTC) grew by 9.0 per cent to $95.58, Dogecoin (DOGE) went up by 2.9 per cent to $0.0768, Solana (SOL) improved by 2.5 per cent to $22.04, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 2.3 per cent appreciation to trade at $0.435, Cardano (ADA) gained 1.5 per cent to settle at $0.3667, and Binance Coin (BNB) added 1.3 per cent to its value to finish at $326.77, while the United States Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged at $1.00 each.
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