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Economy

Owoafara to Assist Underserved Nigerian SMEs

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owoafara

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigerian startup, Owoafara, has announced plans to help small businesses grow and scale sustainability by connecting them with finance and business services.

The firm, which was founded in January 2019, was launched to solve the access to finance and business support problem of over 50 million underserved small businesses.

Mrs ‘Tale Alimi, who co-founded Owoafara alongside Ms Sally-Ann Ezekiel, said the startup’s first MVP, launched in November 2019, was a credit scoring and fund-matching platform to give small businesses a credit score and match them with financial institutions that would fund them.

“We have over 15 financial institutions signed up on the platform and have been able to facilitate $100,000 in transactions,” she said.

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“However, we soon realised that most small businesses do not meet the typical criteria of traditional financial institutions so, the unit economics did not make sense for us to build a sustainable business,” she added.

So, in May this year, the startup launched Rouzo, a debt crowd-funding platform that uses Owoafara’s credit scoring algorithm to verify small businesses and then lend to them directly from money invested on the platform by users. It has also rolled out Suppotr, which helps companies access business services.

The lack of support available to small businesses in Nigeria became evident to the founder when she was running a direct to consumer fashion brand a couple of years ago.

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“Sales grew fast, to thousands of dollars in GMV, but I could not get access to loans to expand production and distribution. I later lost the business to a shark investor,” she said.

“Sally-Ann had also worked in financial services previously and tried to pitch financial institutions to adopt the product Owoafara was trying to create. When our efforts were not successful, we joined forces to create this company.”

The startup, which has raised small friends and family funding round and took part in the Labs by ARM accelerator earlier this year, has verified over 450 businesses since it launched Rouzo and is currently growing its major metrics by almost 100 per cent month-on-month.

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For now, Owoafara is focused on Lagos, but the founder said it has expansion plans.

“We plan to expand to five major cities within Nigeria in the next 12 months before we start regional expansion out of Nigeria,” she said.

The startup makes money from commission, fees, and the spread it gets between the asset under management and the loans under management.

“Our revenues are growing over 80 per cent month-on-month,” said Mrs Alimi.

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

NGX Lists 29.4 billion GT HoldCo Shares at N28.55 Each

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GT HoldCo Shares

By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited has finally listed 29,431,179,224 ordinary shares of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GT HoldCo) Plc on its trading platform.

The stocks were admitted on the exchange on Thursday, June 24, 2021, after the delisting of the entire GTBank equities on the same platform.

Business Post reports that the shares were listed today at a unit price of N28.55.

Last Friday, the stock exchange placed trading in the equities of GTBank on full suspension ahead of their delisting to allow the introduction of GT HoldCo shares.

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Today, the GTBank shares were removed from the exchange, a total of 29,431,179,224 and were replaced with 29,431,179,224 units of GT HoldCo.

Confirming this development, the NGX in a circular said, “We refer to our market bulletin with reference number NGX REG/LRD/MB16/21/06/18 dated June 18, 2021, wherein the market was notified that trading in the shares of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB) was placed on full suspension effective Friday, June 18, 2021, in preparation for the delisting of GTB and listing of the Holding Company, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GT HoldCo).

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“The market is hereby notified that the entire 29,431,179,224 issued shares of GTB were delisted from the daily official list of the NGX today, June 24, 2021, while GT Holdco’s entire issued share capital of 29,431,179,224 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each were also today, June 24, 2021, listed on the daily official list of NGX at N28.55 per share.

“The delisting of GTB and listing of GT HoldCo on NGX is pursuant to the Scheme of Arrangement between Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and the holders of its fully paid ordinary shares of 50 kobo each as approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and sanctioned by the court.”

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GTBank restructured its business to allow it to offer more services and improve the earnings and value of the company. This led to the change to a financial HoldCo, with GTBank becoming a private company and will operate as a banking institution.

Other subsidiaries were created to offer services in financial technology (fintech), insurance, asset management and other sectors.

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Economy

June 2021 Allocation to FG, States, LGs Drops to N605.96bn

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June 2021 allocation

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government, the 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government areas shared the sum of N605.96 billion from the revenue generated in May 2021.

This was disclosed by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in a communique released on Thursday after its meeting held via virtual conferencing.

Business Post reports that the amount shared by the three tiers of government for the June 2021 allocation was lower than the N616.9 billion disbursed last month.

Giving a breakdown of the disbursement, the committee explained that from the inclusive cost of collection to Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the federal government received N242.1 billion, the states received N194.2 billion, while the local government councils got N143.7 billion.

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The nine oil-producing states of Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Abia and Lagos all received N26.9 billion as a 13 per cent derivation of mineral revenue.

The communique issued by the FAAC at the end of the meeting indicated that the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) for May 2021 was N181.1 billion as against N176.7 billion achieved in the preceding month of April 2021. This resulted in an increase of N4.368 billion.

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The distribution is as follows; federal government got N25.3 billion, the states received N84.2 billion and local government councils received N58.9 billion.

The distributed statutory revenue of N428.198 billion received for the month was lower than the N497.385 billion received for the previous month by N69.197 billion, from which the federal government received N175.5 billion, states got N89.0 billion, while the LGs got N69.6 billion, and the 13 per cent mineral derivation handed to the nine oil states amounted to N24.666 billion.

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The communique also revealed that Companies Income Tax (CIT), and Oil and Gas Royalties, Import and Excise Duty decreased in the month, meaning only VAT increased in the month under review, although marginally.

The communique, however, disclosed that total revenue distributable for the current month inclusive of gross statutory revenue of N357.9 billion, VAT of N168.4 billion, solid mineral revenue of N7.9 billion, exchange gain of N1.7 billion and augmentation from oil and non-oil revenue of N50 billion and N20 billion respectively brought the total distributable revenue to N605.958 billion.

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Economy

National LPG Takes Sensitization to 12 States

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Domestic LPG

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Liquefied Gas Petroleum (LGP) sensitization and awareness campaign to reduce gas flare has kickstarted in 12 states across the country.

Speaking at a two-day sensitization and awareness campaign held in Abuja, Mr Dayo Adeshina, the programme manager National LPG expansion implementation plan (NLEIP), said the exercise was the commitment of the climate change initiative to reduce emission by 20 per cent.

He said the National LPG pilot programme, which will start after the sensitization, is to begin in Enugu and Ebonyi States for South-East then to the South-South States of Delta and Bayelsa and in the South West – Lagos and Ogun.

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In the North West are Sokoto and Katsina States; the North East batch will be done in Bauchi and Gombe States while in the North Central, it will kick off in Niger and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said, “The sensitization awareness campaign is targeted at 12 pilot states, two in each geo-political zone. During the campaign, we will highlight the importance of the LGP to the government and the people.

“Every year almost nine hundred thousand people are affected by the effects of kerosine and charcoal which leads to malaria, the government plan is to display the energy mixture which currently stands at 65 per cent, kerosine 30 per cent, LPG 5 per cent.

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“LPG would ensure accessibility, acceptability and affordability.”

Mr Adeshina said to drive the exercise well, an inter-ministerial committee on LPG was constituted and is being headed by the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, adding that the composition of the committee shows the commitment of the federal government to the expansion and implementation of LPG in Nigeria.

“So, to make it available, some of the policy directives were worked on and past in 2017, the government will remove necessary bottlenecks,” he said.

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LPG is a fossil fuel closely linked to oil. As a fuel, it is used for cooking, lighting, and central heating. It is a clean-burning, non-poisonous, dependable and high-performance fuel stored and transported in containers as a liquid, but is generally drawn out and used as gas.

LPG has a very wide variety of uses, mainly used across many different markets – agricultural, recreation, hospitality, calefaction, construction, sailing and fishing sectors – as an efficient fuel.

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