By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, has appealed to the government and other stakeholders to make conscious efforts to create a viable environment for small businesses and youth entrepreneurship.
According to him, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of local economies around the world as they are the biggest employers, job creators and contributors of the national gross domestic products (GDPs).
The banker submitted that if a nation is serious about lasting and meaningful economic development as well as moving from poverty to prosperity, it must give priority to SMEs and youth entrepreneurship.
“We cannot talk about moving from poverty to prosperity without taking SMEs very seriously in this country.
“We must support the SMEs sector reform through providing infrastructure, providing loans to farmers and ensuring interest rate loans is a single digit,” Mr Sekibo said on the sidelines of the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
The Heritage Bank chief, who was represented at the conference themed Economic Recovery, Inclusion & Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance by the Regional Head Abuja-1, Mr Daniel Oniko, stated that giving SMEs and young entrepreneurs leverage to contribute immensely to the development of their host community through engaging the youths and unemployed individuals will bring about and facilitate economic recovery.
He emphasized that the role of SMEs in creating and sustaining national development in relation to job creation has been considered a key tool in modern-day poverty alleviation, economic emancipation, and total well-being.
The MD, however, disclosed that, “One of Heritage Bank’s major cardinal points as a bank is supporting micro, small and medium scale businesses and our strong desire to see young men and women succeed in any area of their business. This will help the society and economy to grow, thereby moving the nation from poverty to prosperity.
He noted that Heritage Bank was taking the lead through various initiatives such as its youth entrepreneurship development programmes which were aimed at increasing the contributions of the MSME segment to the economy.
The banker further explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors such as the agricultural value chain: fish farming, poultry, snail farming, etc., cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry: tourism, arts and crafts, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Speaking earlier, the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, said emerging challenges require that the banking and finance sector takes on more transformative projects such as housing and renewable energy.
The VP acknowledged that the banking and finance sector has over the years played significant roles in the nation’s economic development.
According to Mr Osinbajo, “It is time for the sector to take on some of the transformative big-ticket items that would fundamentally transform our economy. Such matters include consumer finance but housing finance.”
In his goodwill message, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, stated that the banking sector remained well-positioned to support the recovery efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities.
“Clearly, Nigeria’s banks have become not only strong and resilient but have also carved a good niche in the world to consolidate on the growth and resilience of the banks in the last decades,” he added.
Introduction of Capital Gains Tax Could Discourage Investors—Popoola
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
As part of efforts to raise more funds for the provision of critical infrastructure in the country, the federal government recently introduced the capital gains tax.
This was embedded in the 2021 Finance Act and it required the payment of capital gains tax on transactions worth over N100 million.
The chief executive of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Temi Popoola, applauded this initiative of the government but warned that it could discourage investors, especially the high net-worth individuals (HNIs) and institutional investors, who carried out such heavy deals.
Mr Popoola, who spoke a few months ago at the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Fiscal Policy Roundtable, called for a balance.
He admitted that the capital gains tax is in line with the government’s drive towards an increased tax bracket but was only worried about the adverse effect the laudable policy could have on the economy in the long run.
However, Mr Popoola commended the economic policy direction of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that it was an indication of the government’s commitment to driving non-oil revenues into the country.
The NGX chief said the tenets of the 2021 Finance Act brought a lot more clarity on investment such as the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), Capital Gain Tax (CGT) and securities lending transactions.
According to him, investing in real estate investment brings a lot of potential gains and “if you look at our market today, all our assets class has helped to boost investors’ confidence.”
He stated that the Finance Act will boost the capital market and the economy, reiterating NGX’s commitment to adhering to government policy and driving growth in the capital market.
However, he further stressed that the introduction of excise taxes on non-alcoholic beverages and the education tax could also affect the economy.
According to him, these taxes could hamper the ability of companies affected by these developments to raise capital and pay dividends to investors because the policies are coming at a time the economy was undergoing a recovery.
Business Post reports that the event, which precisely took place in March 2022, was put together by NESG to access the impact of the 2021 Finance Act on the economy.
Inflation in Nigeria Jumps to 16.82% in April 2022
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday disclosed that inflation in Nigeria increased by 16.82 per cent in April 2022 from the 15.92 per cent recorded in March 2022.
However, on a year-on-year basis, the rate moderated by 1.3 per cent as inflation was 18.12 per cent in the corresponding month of 2021.
The NBS disclosed that the percentage change in the average composite consumer price index (CPI) for the 12 months period ending April 2022 over the average of the CPI for the previous 12 months period was 16.45 per cent, 0.1 per cent lower than the 16.54 per cent recorded in March 2022.
It also stated that in the month under review, the urban inflation rate increased to 17.35 per cent (year-on-year) in April 2022 from 18.68 per cent recorded in April 2021, while the rural inflation rate increased to 16.32 per cent in April 2022 from 17.57 per cent in April 2021.
On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose to 1.78 per cent in April 2022, up by 0.02 from the rate recorded in March 2022 at 1.76 per cent, while the rural index also rose to 1.74 per cent in April 2022, up by 0.01 from the rate that was recorded in March 2022 at 1.73 per cent.
The corresponding 12-month year-on-year average percentage change for the urban index is 17.01 per cent in April 2022, lower than 17.10 per cent reported in March 2022, while the corresponding rural inflation rate in April 2022 is 15.91 per cent compared to 16.00 per cent recorded in March 2022.
In the report, the stats agency said in April 2022, the composite food index rose by 18.37 per cent in contrast to the 22.72 per cent achieved in April 2021, attributing the increase to a hike in the prices of bread and cereals, food products n.e.c, potatoes, yam, and other tubers, wine, fish, meat, and oils.
On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased to 2.00 per cent in April 2022, up by 0.01 per cent points from 1.99 per cent recorded in March 2022, the report added.
It was further stated that the average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12-month period ending April 2022 over the previous 12-month average is 18.88 per cent, 0.34 per cent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in March 2022 at 19.21 per cent.
OTC Securities Exchange Closes 0.02% Lower
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange closed marginally lower by 0.02 per cent on Monday on the back of a price depreciation in Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Plc.
The stock, which was the only price loser yesterday, went down by 5 kobo or 0.29 per cent to sell at N16.95 per unit compared to the previous session’s N17.00 per unit.
At the close of transactions, it reduced the market capitalisation of the OTC securities exchange by N250 million to N1.05 trillion from N1.06 trillion and sliced the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) by 0.19 points to 807.56 points from 807.75 points.
Business Post observed that the level of activity during the session was low as the volume of securities recorded a decline of 99.8 per cent to 61,131 units from 7.5 million units, the value of trades also depreciated by 99.8 per cent to N4.6 million from N2.2 billion, while the number of deals remained unchanged at 11 deals.
AG Mortgage Bank Plc closed the session as the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units worth N1.2 billion, CSCS Plc was in second place with 661.6 million units worth N13.9 billion, while Food Concepts Plc held the third position with 94 million units worth N77.8 million.
But the most active stock by value (year-to-date) was CSCS Plc with 661.6 million units valued at N13.9 billion, VFD Group followed with 9.4 million units valued at N2.9 billion, and AG Mortgage Bank Plc with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion.
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