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Economy

Prospa Raises $3.8m to Expand Banking, Software Services

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Prospa

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

Nigerian Financial technology startup, Prospa, has secured a total of $3.8 million in pre-seed funding round to offer small businesses banking and software services.

This was made after the decision to combine both worlds of banking and business management tools for micro and small businesses.

The round was led by investors which include venture capitals like global Founders Capital and Liquid 2 Ventures. Founders of global fintech like Mercury’s Immad Akhund, Karim Atiyeh of Ramp, and executives from Teachable, Square, Facebook and Nubank also participated in the round.

Founded by Mr Frederik Obasi, Ms Chioma Ugo and Mr Rodney Jackson-Cole in 2019, Prospa was unveiled as a serial entrepreneur running businesses in tech and media.

In recent months, the company has been reputed to be one of the 10 African startups which participated in Y Combinator’s winter batch and since its launch, the firm acquired customers in stealth even when they got into the Y Combinator.

Made to solve the needs of small business owners in banking and software, Prospa focuses on freelancers and entrepreneurs, including small business owners, acting as the operating system for their businesses.

Alongside providing banking services, Prospa offers invoicing tools, inventory management, employee and vendor management, an e-commerce store, and payroll features.

Registered businesses on the platform get access to an account number and other features Prospa provides.

For unregistered businesses, Prospa takes them through a process of formalizing their business and providing bank accounts. However, in the magnificent structure of things, this segment is more of an inroad into an upsell.

Talking on traction, Mr Obasi disclosed the company has tens of thousands of businesses and is growing 35 per cent month-on-month.

And from a non-banking perspective, Prospa has managed over 150,000 product catalogues while small businesses have sent out 360,000 invoices on the platform.

According to the firm boss, Prospa is more into software than the banking aspect and is not to be mistaken for a neo-bank.

Prospa plans to use its new capital to double down and expand with acquisition strategies to get more customers. In addition to that, the company plans to hire more talent, especially in product and engineering.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Oil, Gas Export Sales Rise 180.3%

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Gas Export Sales

By Adedapo Adesanya

Nigeria witnessed a 180.3 per cent increase in the total crude oil and gas export sales in May, standing at $219.8 million compared to the value in April 2021.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed in its Monthly Financial and Operation Report (MFOR) for the month of May 2021 that crude oil export sales contributed $181.2 million (82.5 per cent) of the dollar transactions compared with $4.22 million contributions in the previous month.

Similarly, the export gas sales component stood at $38.6 million in May.

The MFOR showed that between May 2020 and May 2021, the corporation exported crude oil and gas worth $1.6 billion, while natural gas production in the country increased by 6.2 per cent at 222.23 billion cubic feet in May 2021.

The report noted that, “In the gas sector, natural gas production in the month under review increased by 6.19 per cent to 222.23 billion cubic feet (bcf) compared with output in the previous month, translating to an average production of 7,177.53 million standard cubic feet (mmscf) of gas per day.

“For the period May 2020 to May 2021, a total of 2,898.34 bcf of gas was produced, representing an average daily production of 7,322.94mmscf during the period.

“Period-to-date production from Joint Ventures (JVs), Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) contributed about 60.94 per cent, 20.04 per cent and 18.99 per cent respectively.

“Out of the 216.29 bcf of gas produced in May 2021, a total of 133.56 bcf was commercialised, consisting of 44.02bcf and 89.54 bcf for the domestic and export markets respectively.”

This translates to a total supply of 1,419.83 mmscfd of gas to the domestic market and 2,893.66 mmscfd to the export market for the month.

This, it said, implied that 61.8 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised, while the balance of 38.2 per cent was either re-injected, used as upstream fuel or flared.

In the downstream sector, the report indicated that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a downstream subsidiary of the NNPC, posted a total sum of N295.7 billion from the sales of petroleum products in the month under review, compared with N220.1 billion sales in April 2021.

“Total revenues generated from the sales of petroleum products for the period of May 2020 to May 2021 stood at N2.345 trillion where Premium Motor Spirit (PMS),  also known as petrol, contributed about 99.6 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.336 trillion.

“In terms of volume, the figure translated to a total of 2.241 billion litres of white products sold and distributed by PPMC in the month under review, compared with 1.673 billion litres in the month of April

“Total sales of petroleum products for the period of May 2020 to May 2021 stood at 18.651 billion litres and PMS accounted for 99.69 per cent of total volume,’’ it added.

The state oil company noted that in May, 64 pipeline points were vandalised representing a 39.1 per cent increase from the 46 points recorded in April 2021.

It noted that the Port Harcourt area accounted for 65 per cent, while Mosimi and Kaduna Areas accounted for 30 per cent and five per cent respectively of the vandalised points.

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Economy

Ngige Confirms FG Borrows from World Bank, Others to Pay Salaries

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Ngige FG Borrows to pay salaries

By Dipo Olowookere

Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, has confirmed that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari borrows funds from international sources to pay salaries of workers because of a shortfall in the country’s revenue.

Mr Ngige, while speaking on Sunday night on a programme monitored by Business Post on Channels TV, stated that the government takes borrowed funds from foreign institutions like the World Bank to offset some recurrent expenditures.

Last week, after the Senate resumed plenary, a letter from President Buhari requesting approval for fresh offshore loans of $4 billion and €710 million was read to the lawmakers by their head, Mr Ahmad Lawan.

This generated different reactions from various quarters. The government defended the borrowings, arguing that they were being used to develop the country, especially in the area of infrastructure.

In the midst of these, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said the nation’s total debt at the second quarter of this year stood at N35.5 trillion.

Some Nigerians had argued that the penchant for this government for borrowing was becoming unbearable, especially when the country was using about 98 per cent of generated revenue to service the debts.

But the government has maintained that the loans being taken by the federal government were not above the limit and that the projects being executed with the funds, including rails, were capable of generating revenue to repay them.

Next month, Nigeria will borrow between $3 billion and $6.2 billion from local and international investors through the sale of Eurobonds, adding to the debts already on ground.

While speaking on Sunday Politics anchored by Mr Seun Okinbaloye, Mr Ngige admitted that the central government truly takes funds from international lenders to pay workers.

“Talk in terms of something like the residency training funds; that money was appropriated in 2021. It was delayed because the President signed the supplementary budget [late] but because the resident doctors did not want to listen, they wanted the money to go into their accounts immediately, according to them.

“I told them, no, when the budget office explained [that] we don’t have this cash, the borrowing agencies [like the] World Bank and the rest will give us this money through the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Dollars and we change it to give to you, to pay you and others that are involved because we are funding the budget through some deficits.

“So, I will tell the budget office, expedite action, do this in one week because this is an emergency, these people are not accountants, they don’t understand and we put it down and the budget office rises up to the occasion, works day and night and put it out, Minister of Finance approves, AIE (Authority to Incur Expenditure) and the N4.8 billion is there, waiting to be disbursed.

“Give us the names of those to be paid and they bring (sic) their names through the post-graduate medical college and when the names come (sic), their parent body, which is the Ministry of Health discovered that there were names that were no resident doctors. So, how do you pay?

“Okay, they submitted 8,000 names, they have cleaned them down to 5,800, which means about 2,000+ are not resident doctors. How do you pay them?

“Further investigation, according to the Minister of Health, revealed that some of them are medical officers, senior medical officers, principal medical officers, who hold full appointments, some of them are not resident doctors but because they have been captured in resident doctors association, they want them to be paid; that’s wrong.

“We tell (sic) resident doctors, ‘give them more time to clean up’. They are cleaning it (the list) up, the money is there. So, I expected the resident doctors to go and help them clean up and submit the authentic list,” Mr Ngige said on the programme.

On Monday, while speaking on Politics Today with the same anchor, the spokesman of the President, Mr Femi Adesina, while asked if the government borrows for consumption, answered that the larger part of the borrowed funds is used for critical projects capable of boosting the economy.

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Economy

Selloffs Resume at Nigerian Exchange as Investors Lose N19bn

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Customs Street Nigerian Stock Exchange

By Dipo Olowookere

The first trading session on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited was on a negative note as the market went down by 0.10 per cent on Monday.

Selloffs mostly in consumer goods and banking stocks influenced the decline recorded at the exchange yesterday.

Business Post reports that the insurance index went down by 0.70 per cent, the banking counter declined by 0.27 per cent, while the consumer goods space shed 0.16 per cent.

But the industrial goods index appreciated yesterday by 0.13 per cent, while the oil/gas sector improved by 0.08 per cent.

At the close of transactions, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased by 37.45 points to 38,906.42 points from 38,943.87 points, while the market capitalisation reduced by N19 billion to N20.271 trillion from N20.290 trillion.

The market breadth closed at equilibrium yesterday as there were 19 price gainers and 19 price losers when trading activities were stopped for the session at 2:30 pm.

Sitting on top of the losers’ chart was SCOA Nigeria as its share price went down by 9.43 per cent to settle at 96 kobo and was followed by Veritas Kapital, which lost 8.70 per cent to trade at 21 kobo.

Linkage Assurance depreciated by 6.56 per cent to 57 kobo, PZ Cussons slipped by 5.98 per cent to N5.50, while Cornerstone Insurance went down by 5.77 per cent to 49 kobo.

On the gainers’ log, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance sat on top after its equity price increased by 9.62 per cent to 57 kobo, followed by Chams, which gained 9.52 per cent to trade at 23 kobo.

Courtville appreciated by 6.90 per cent to 31 kobo, Wema Bank grew by 3.95 per cent to 79 kobo, while NAHCO increased by 3.62 per cent to N3.15.

A look at the activity chart showed that the trading volume rose by 23.12 per cent to 191.0 million units from 155.1 million units, the trading value increased by 20.92 per cent to N2.4 billion from N2.0 billion, while the number of deals leapt by 19.13 per cent to 3,462 deals from 2,906 deals.

Eko Corporation was the most active stock with the sale of 40.0 million units worth N231.6 million, UBA traded 10.8 million units valued at N82.2 million, Transcorp sold 9.8 million units for N8.9 million, Sovereign Trust Insurance transacted 9.6 million units valued at N2.3 million, while Fidelity Bank traded 9.3 million units worth N22.2 million.

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