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Total inflows to I&E window hit $1.49bn in March

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s non-oil exports repatriation rebate scheme appears to be yielding fruits as investigations reveal that inflows into the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window improved in the month of March.

According to data obtained from the FMDQ’s website, total inflows into the I&E window rose by 59.2 percent month-on-month (m/m) to $1.49 billion in March as against $937.60 million recorded in February.

The data further revealed that local inflows increased by 46.9 per cent m/m to $1.20 billion and this was primarily due to higher inflows from the CBN (+240.3 per cent m/m), exporters (+7.2 per cent m/m) and non-bank corporates (+50.9 per cent m/m) in the review period.

On the other hand, while foreign inflows rose to $291.90 million, they remain significantly below pre-pandemic levels (2019FY monthly average: $1.56 billion). According to economic analysts, this is due to the current FX liquidity constraints, an overvalued currency and absence of significant macro reforms.

Commenting on the report, analysts at Cordros Research said, they expect FX liquidity conditions to remain frail in the absence of reforms to attract US dollar inflows into the economy over the short to medium term.

“The low FX liquidity conditions will also be driven by lingering global uncertainties and higher global interest rates, limiting foreign inflows to the economy. Thus, foreign investors will need some convincing actions as regards flexibility and clarity in the FX framework going forward,” they said.

In its effort to increase the country’s foreign reserves, the Central Bank had launched a rebate scheme that targets to increase the nation’s reserves by $200 billion in FX earnings from non-oil proceeds over the next five years.

Under the new rebate scheme, the CBN also said it has committed to providing some financial incentives to Nigerian exporters of semi-finished and finished goods (manufactured in Nigeria), who sell their export proceeds at the I&EW; or exporters of goods and services (information technology & creative businesses) that are permissible under the export prohibition list.

The apex bank had at a recent bankers retreat revealed that progress has been made in generating non-oil export revenues in 2022 via the RT200 programme with its Governor, Godwin Emefiele, saying export proceeds repatriation earned as rebates stood at $62 million in Q1, $622 million in Q2, $850 million in Q3 all in 2022.

“We ran into almost $1 billion during Q3 2022. We are seeing the repatriations that have resulted in almost $2 billion coming in this year (2022),” Emefiele said.

Emefiele stated that every Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) must grant at least a minimum of N500 billion in loans to export oriented companies.

“We are saying that we draw the line and that every year, the banks, the banks have committed that they will grant export facilities to the tune of at least N500 billion which the CBN will graduate amongst most banks. The large banks will take a larger share of it while the smaller banks will take the smaller share.

“So what we are saying is that this is intended to further stimulate export financing and also encourage export of goods out of the country so we can generate export proceeds in an exponential way that would eventually be high,” he explained.

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NITDA inks MOU with SMEDAN to digitally empower SMEs to grow

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at digitally empowering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

In his remark, the SMEDAN Director General, Charles Odii stated that the essence of the MOU agreement is to collaborate with NITDA in fulfilling the mandate of the President’s agenda in creating jobs and digitising Nigeria’s economy.

While stating that any business that does not take advantage of digital innovation and services is short-changing itself, Odii noted that if the 40 million small businesses in the country equip themselves with digital processes whereby each small business employs at least 5 people, it will have a significant impact on Nigeria’s economy.

“What we are doing here in addition to sensitising the public on the implementation of the Startup Act is to organise our small businesses where they can use innovative solutions to solve their problems,” he averred.

The signing of the MOU signified a crucial step towards harnessing the power of technology to revolutionise Nigeria’s SME landscape, thereby paving the way for sustainable growth and prosperity.

Recognising SMEs as the backbone of the nation’s economic landscape, the MOU was signed with a primary focus on the growth of SMEs and tackling startup challenges while implementing the Nigeria Startup Act.

The objective of the MOU is to establish a strategic partnership between NITDA and SMEDAN and to ensure that issues relating to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are addressed in implementing the Startup Act. Also speaking, the NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa emphasised the critical importance of SMEs and cited their contribution to Nigeria’s economy, where they represent over 90 percent of businesses.

Underscoring the need for technological innovation to enhance productivity in the sector, Inuwa stated that “when you talk about critical sectors, SMEs are the first and if we want to create prosperity for our country, we should start by digitising SMEs.”

He further emphasised the necessity of creating a comprehensive database of SMEs to facilitate targeted incentives and foster digital literacy among entrepreneurs.

“As SMEs, you can use technology to expand your market reach and at NITDA, we have trained women on ICT and they have been able to expand their market reach and productivity using social media platforms. If we can do this, it will change the SMEs landscape in Nigeria,” he added.

The transformative power of technology within Nigeria was proudly exemplified by Inuwa, where he narrated how several SMEs have blossomed from nothing to become billion-dollar organisations.

“In Africa, we have 7 Unicorns and out of them, 5 originated from Nigeria. So, we believe that with technology, we can help all the SMEs to scale up, increase their productivity and create sustainable prosperity for our country,” he asserted.

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NDIC, Youth Minister mull partnership to boost financial inclusion

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The Minister of State for Youth Development, Mr. Ayodele Olawande and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) are exploring partnership to boost financial inclusion in the country.

The NDIC Managing Director/Chief Executive Mr. Bello Hassan made this known when he received the Minister at the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.

Bello who was represented by the Executive Director (Operations), Mr. Mustapha Ibrahim, commended the ministry for the initiative. Mr. Ibrahim highlighted NiYA’s potential to enhance capacity building and empower Nigerian youths, fostering business activities, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation.

He noted that this aligns with NDIC’s objectives of promoting financial inclusion and strengthening public confidence in the nation’s financial system. He emphasised that the initiative would create an enabling environment for Nigerian youth to thrive and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s development.

In his remarks, the Minister praised the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for its significant achievements in safeguarding depositors from the adverse impacts of bank failures.

He commended NDIC for consistently supporting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in overseeing the banking sector and contributing to the stability of the nation’s financial system.

The Minister gave the commendation during a courtesy visit to the Management of the Corporation in Abuja. He said the ministry was ready to collaborate with the Corporation to further deepen and expand public awareness on the mandate and activities of the NDIC especially among youth and unbanked populations in rural areas through the Ministry’s Nigerian Youth Academy (NiYA) initiative as a veritable tool for financial inclusion.

He explained that NiYA is a response to the Presidential mandate to the ministry aimed at unleashing the creative potential of Nigerian youth for employment generation and wealth creation.

Olawande described NiYA as a digital marketplace connecting Nigerian youth, both domestically and in the diaspora, to showcase their creativity, acquire relevant skills, and secure employment opportunities aligned with their life ambitions. With the slogan “one youth, two skills, one local government, one product,” the initiative aims to empower seven million youths with transformative skills. It features components such as online classes, job fairs, and access to resources and funding. Additionally, the Ministry is partnering with agencies mandated for skills acquisition and empowerment to achieve its objectives.

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Nigeria signs multi-sectoral agreements with Qatar

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President Bola Tinubu on Sunday witnessed the signing of agreements between Nigeria and Qatar in various sectors of the economy.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement, said the signing, which held in Doha, Qatar, was also witnessed by the Emir of that country, Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani.

The agreement, according to Ngelale, will open opportunities for mutual cooperation in pivotal sectors of education, enterprise development, investment promotion, youth empowerment, mining, tourism and sports.

Tinubu assured his host of Nigeria’s preparedness to welcome investors into the country, citing the ongoing reforms that favoured innovation, return on investments and multiculturalism.

“Our greatest strength is our people. Our strength lies in the capacity of Nigerian youths.

” They have energy, talent and self-belief.
” They are quality partners for Qatari industry.

”They are educated and reliable, and they are proactively seeking to add value wherever they are.

” A few cannot give a bad name to the many. Nigerian youths are ready to be unleashed for the mutual benefit of both nations.

“We have seen clearly the rapid pace and thorough quality of Qatar’s development process. It is impossible not to be moved by what you have accomplished.

” The leadership in the country has proven its mettle, and we are here to gain deeper insight.

“There is nowhere in the world where you will find return on investment at the level of what you will see in Nigeria. A massive market of over 200 million skilled Nigerians, always industrious and ready to work.

“We face some short-term turbulence at the moment, but we have a government today that reflects the dynamism and talent of the Nigerian people.

” We are implementing the right solutions.

” This team works collaboratively with each other and our partners,” the president said.

Al Thani, on his part, said he was open to Nigeria’s investment push, recalling his journey to Nigeria in 2019 due to his belief that the country is an important and strategic ally on its own and in regional affairs.

“I have no doubt about the great capacity of the Nigerian people. Everywhere in the world, they are known for their brilliance and hard work.

” We only need to ensure that this is happening inside of Nigeria rather than outside.

”The investments we have made around the world have been very fruitful.

” This is because we take our time and study opportunities before we invest the commonwealth of our people.

“Mr. President, I am very encouraged by your actions and your passion to create new opportunities.

” We are very open to this, and follow-up is everything at this point. The will is there for both of us, but we must follow up.

”I will send a team of officials to Nigeria after Ramadan, and we will advance discussions on what some of the actionable investment opportunities are,” the Qatari leader said.

Tinubu immediately named the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun as the team leader of the government team that would interface with Qatari authorities in investment identification and implementation.

During the bilateral deliberations, the president enabled a brief presentation to the Emir by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, who spoke in details about the high-grade of several minerals, including lithium.

Alake spoke about derivable potential across the country with an emphasis on imminent opportunities for local mineral processing and value-additive industry in the sector.

The bilateral engagement was followed by a closed-door meeting between the two Heads of State before they proceeded to the signing ceremony for seven bilateral agreements across multiple sectors.

The seven agreements signed include cooperation agreement in the field of education and regulation of employment of workers with the Government of Qatar.

Also signed was the agreement on establishment of a joint business council between the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture.

Agreements were also signed in the field of youths and sports, tourism and business events and a memorandum of understanding on combating illicit trade in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

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