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High Mortality Rate of SMEs in Nigeria Worries Osinbajo

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SMEs in Nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has assured that the demon, multiple taxation, would be tackled by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) so as to allow the business environment in Nigeria to thrive.

Mr Osinbajo gave this assurance on Monday in Abuja at the First Abuja Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Conference and Exhibition 2021 organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

The event was aimed at providing solution strategies for resolving tax, regulatory, packaging and logistic challenges facing Nigerian SMEs, causing the sector to have a high mortality rate.

Mr Osinbajo, represented by Mrs Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said the government was focused on improving the Ease of Doing Business and encouraging tax and fiscal responsibility.

He noted that the problem of taxation on the growth of SMEs in the country was exacerbated by a lack of reliable data for statistical analysis.

According to him, the mortality rate of SMEs in Nigeria is very high, and among the factors responsible for this are tax-related issues.

He said it was because of this that the government, through the Finance Act 2019 and 2020, amended various tax and fiscal legislation to align the Nigerian business environment with global standards.

“One of such amendments is the categorisation of companies into small, medium, and large companies, based on annual gross turnover as seen in the Finance Act 2019. The Act also has, as one of its strategic objectives, support to small businesses, in line with the Ease of Doing Business reforms.

“However, some of the specific challenges related to taxation are multiple taxations at the national and sub-national levels, non-clarity on the procedure and amount to pay and non-friendly tax administrators,” he said.

For SMEs to sustain their role of contributing to the mainstream economy, Mr Osinbajo said they must implement effective strategies in their business operations, inclusive of logistics.

He said the function of logistics is important to SMEs because it is the quintessence of the organisation’s relationship with suppliers and customers.

He noted some challenges related to logistics as high transportation costs, lack of quality delivery service and infrastructure, adding that the challenges related to packaging are non-availability of quality materials, high cost of materials and lack of an inbuilt culture of packaging.

To resolve some of these challenges, he said specific actions must be put in place to overcome them. He noted that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was taking measures like sensitisation and awareness creation, general capacity building and streamlining of taxes across the national and sub-national levels.

He listed others as the implementation of relevant sections of the Finance Acts, specific technical training on packaging and logistics, sharing of knowledge and peer review with SMEs in other jurisdictions.

He also called for strict observance of international standards, adding that regulatory authorities must develop friendly criteria for SMEs.

Mr Osinbajo noted that the conference is apt, in view of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), because several African countries have the scale to compete with Nigerian businesses in terms of productive capacity, packaging, exports and logistics.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

FBN Holdings Confirms Otedola as Shareholder with 5.07% Stake

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FBN Holdings

By Dipo Olowookere

Mr Femi Otedola now controls a 5.07 per cent stake in FBN Holdings Plc, the company has confirmed.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the financial institution said it was not aware of the businessman being a major investor in the organisation.

There were reports a day earlier that the former Chairman of the defunct Forte Oil Plc was now the single largest shareholder of the firm, which owns First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

“The attention of FBN Holdings Plc has been drawn to media reports today, October 22, 2021, purporting that a certain individual has acquired a significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings Plc, therefore, making him the majority shareholder in the company.

“As a listed company, the shares of FBN Holdings Plc are publicly traded, and sale and acquisition of shares is expected in the normal course of business. We operate in a regulated environment, which requires notification of significant shareholding by shareholders to the company, where shares are held in different vehicles, further to which the company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.

“The company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report, of such acquisitions.

“FBN Holdings Plc will always notify the appropriate agencies and authorities whenever it receives any notice of significant shareholding by the shareholders and the company’s registrars,” the statement released by the firm on Friday had stated.

But today, the company issued another statement, informing the investing public that Mr Otedola now owns 5.07 per cent of the company’s equities. This is coming after it was reported that he acquired N30 billion worth of FBN Holdings stocks on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.

The financial institution said it received a notification today concerning this development.

“We refer to our communication to the market dated October 22, 2021, on the above subject wherein we stated that we would inform the public of any substantial acquisition, upon receipt of notification from the shareholder.

“This morning, October 23, 2021, FBN Holdings Plc received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited, that their client, Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter, and his nominee, Calvados Global Services Limited, have acquired a total of 1,818,551,625 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791.

“Based on the foregoing, the equity stake of Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee in the company is now 5.07 per cent,” the disclosure said.

Business Post reports that with this development, Mr Otedola will likely have one of two persons on the board of FBN Holdings to represent his interest. A change in the board of directors of FBN Holdings is likely to happen in the coming days, weeks or months.

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Economy

Buhari to Finally Launch eNaira October 25

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eNaira

By Dipo Olowookere

On Monday, October 25, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari will formally launch eNaira, the much-awaited electronic Naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria has confirmed.

The digital legal tender for the country introduced by the CBN was initially scheduled for launch on October 1, 2021, but was shelved.

According to the apex bank, the botched introduction was a result of activities clashing with the event and in order not to let other events overshadow the eNaira launch, it was postponed indefinitely.

But on Saturday, the CBN announced next Monday as the new date for the introduction of the electronic currency under the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

A statement issued by the Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, disclosed that Mr Buhari will perform the formal launch at the State House in Abuja.

It was stated that after the event by the President, the eNaira, which has the theme Same Naira, more possibilities, will become available to Nigerians to use as it would be activated.

The CBN said a structure has been put in place to promptly address any issue that might arise from the pilot implementation of the eNaira, with room for further engagement with “various stakeholders.”

The bank said “the eNaira is a culmination of several years of research work” in advancing the “boundaries of the payments system in order to make financial transactions easier and seamless for every strata of the society.”

According to the central bank, it had robust discussions with “the banking community, fintech operators, merchants and indeed, a cross-section of Nigerians” concerning the eNaira and said it was satisfied with the outcome of the talks, stressing that the eNaira “marks a major step forward in the evolution of money” and would ensure that the digital currency, “like the physical Naira, is accessible by everyone.”

“Given that the eNaira is a journey, the unveiling marks the first step in that journey, which will continue with a series of further modifications, capabilities and enhancements to the platforms.

“The CBN will continue to work with relevant partners to ensure a seamless process that will benefit every user, particularly those in the rural areas and the unbanked population,” it added.

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Economy

Friesland Drowns Unlisted Securities Market by 0.33%

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Friesland WAMCO

By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange closed in the negative territory at the last trading session of the week on Friday by 0.33 per cent.

It was the first time the market was closing bearish this week and this drowning of the unlisted securities market yesterday was caused by a decline in the equity price of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc. The price of Friesland went down by 6.7 per cent or N8 to settle at N120.00 per share in contrast to N128.00 per share of the last session.

As a result, the market capitalisation of the exchange dropped N2.04 billion to close the day at N617.59 billion in contrast to N619.63 billion it finished on Thursday.

In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Security Index (NSI) depreciated by 2.47 points to wrap the session at 747.53 points compared with 750.00 points of the previous session.

Despite the loss recorded yesterday, two securities closed in the positive region led by Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc, which rose by N1.15 or 6.4 per cent to close at N17.95 per unit versus the previous N16.80 per unit.

Also, NASD Plc appreciated during the session by 5 kobo or 0.37 per cent to quote at N13.70 per share as against the N13.65 per share it traded at the preceding session.

At the market on Friday, a total of 292,000 units of securities were transacted by investors in contrast to the 209,300 units of securities transacted at the previous session, indicating a rise of 6.1 per cent.

Equally, the value of shares exchanged by the market participants went up by 14.7 per cent to N4.9 million from N4.3 million recorded at the previous session.

These transactions were carried out in five deals, 16.7 per cent lower than the six deals carried out at the preceding session.

Food Concepts Plc was the most active stock by volume (year-to-date) as it has traded 11.4 billion units of its shares for N14.4 billion. Lighthouse Financial Services Plc occupied the second spot as it has traded 1.1 billion valued at N546.1 million, while Geo Fluids Plc took third place with 1.0 billion units worth N700 million.

In terms of value, Food Concepts Plc also topped the chart with 11.4 million units traded for N14.4 billion, Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc remained in the second spot with 456.4 million units valued at N9.2 billion, while VFD Group Plc maintained the third spot with 10.4 million units valued at N3.5 billion.

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