#BREXITVote: Pound Drops To 31-Year Low As UK Divorces EU

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Following the event of the votes to leave the European Union (EU) by the citizens of the United Kingdom (UK), which led to the resignation of its Prime Minister, David Cameron, the country’s currency, pound, fell to a 31-year low on Friday, it’s lowest since 1985.

It was gathered that the pound fell as much as 10 percent against the United States (US) dollar to touch levels last seen in 1985.

READ ALSO: #BREXIT: Britain Votes To Leave European Union

As 85.3 percent of results from the referendum trickled in, 51.6 percent, representing 14,159,480 votes showed that the UK was ready to leave, while 48.4 percent, which represents 13,268,066, voted to stay.

Reuters gathered that the decision of the UK to leave the EU project of greater unity since World War Two, may hit investment in the world’s fifth-largest economy; threaten London’s role as a global financial capital and usher in months of political uncertainty.

READ ALSO: Over 46M Britons Vote On EU Membership After Tight Campaign

It was also learnt that the Pound Euro exchange rate remained around 4% lower as the European session continued on Friday and investors began to digest the repercussions of the UK’s decision to Brexit.

The United Kingdom itself could now break apart, with the leader of Scotland (which voted overwhelmingly in support of Remain) now saying a new referendum on independence from the rest of Britain was “highly likely”.

An emotional Cameron, who led the “Remain” campaign to defeat, losing the gamble he took when he called the referendum three years ago, said he would leave office by October.

“The British people have made the very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction,” he said in a televised address outside his residence.

“I do not think it would be right for me to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” he added, choking back tears before walking back through 10 Downing Street’s black door with his arm around his wife Samantha.

Breaking up with the EU could cost Britain access to the EU’s trade barrier-free single market and means it must seek new trade accords with countries around the world.

READ ALSO: British PM David Cameron Resigns Following EU Exit

Meanwhile, the Nigerian naira is expected to firm to about 420 against the British pound before the close of business on Friday.

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Sme100 Nigeria Business Lunch With Uzoma Dozie- C.E.O, Diamond Bank

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Sme100 Nigeria Business Lunch With Uzoma Dozie- C.E.O, Diamond Bank

As part of its commitment to supporting and empowering SMEs across Nigeria, SME100 Nigeria presents another edition of the SME100 Business Lunch. This special edition, featuring Mr. Uzoma Dozie- C.E.O Diamond Bank is set to take Place on Friday the 24th of June, 2016 at Otres Resturant No, 7 Wole Olateju Street Lekki Phase 1 at 12.30pm.

Mr. Uzoma Dozie would be speaking on the topic: “The Age of Digital Disruption; Leveraging Technology for Business Growth’’.

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Speaking on the initiative, Executive Director, SME100 Nigeria, Charles Odii explained that “In order to remain relevant, businesses must begin to confirm to the change technology is bringing across various sectors. Early adopters of digital age are bound to have an edge over those who choose to retain traditional processes and distribution channels in their businesses. To shun technology is to risk extinction’’.

The participants at the SME100 Business Lunch will learn about the benefits of adopting innovative technology solutions in their various businesses and also how to leverage these technological solutions for business growth and expansion. There would also be the opportunity to meet and network with other enterprising and vibrant entrepreneurs.

To register for this event please text your name to 08177743650 or email; communications@sme100nigeria.com.

SME100 Nigeria is an institution that aims to inspire, empower and equip entrepreneurs in Nigeria by providing them with the 5 key requirements for business success; education, mentoring and access to finance, markets and networks.

Visit www.sme100nigeria.com  for more information.

Join the conversations online @sme100nigeria.

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CBN Crowns Payporte E-commerce Company Of The Year

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 Payporte  Crowned  E-commerce Company Of The Year

PayPorte, your preferred online store, has been awarded for its outstanding performance as the E-commerce company of the year, amidst the market players in the Nigerian online shopping industry. This was made known at the recent CBN Cashless Card Expo 2016, held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

According to CBN Card Expo, the company earned this award based on its fair product pricing and quality, as well as effective corporate social responsibility campaigns. The CEO of PayPorte, Eyo Bassey said he is impressed and encouraged with the award and according him, “to be awarded the e-commerce company of the year amidst other market players is an honor and would not be taken for granted. We will always ensure we maintain and sustain the standard, while keeping our customers happy all the time”. He went further to state that to remain sustainable in the industry, cash on delivery was not a sustainable approach and that the e-commerce company was doing everything possible to ensure various payment options were made available to its customers.

PayPorte eCommerce of the year

Head, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Irene Kayoma said that the award was truly deserved and showed that value is constantly being created; “We are glad that Nigerians appreciate all the effort PayPorte is putting in and we are positive to create more value for all our customers in the months to come”. She went on to use the medium to thank Nigerians for shopping with PayPorte.

Lilian Ekwedike-Ranganath, the event coordinator, said she was highly impressed with the high turnout of voters for PayPorte; “This really shows how happy their customers are with the value they are creating”. She said she believed PayPorte truly deserved the award and urged them not to relent.

Payporte.com is your Preferred Online Store where you can find the highest quality products ranging from fashion wears, accessories, shoes, electronics, smart phones, perfumes, home appliances, etc for the best prices. We pride ourselves in our timely delivery, innovative services, highly skilled and friendly customer care representatives and we deliver to your doorstep.

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All The Photos From The Launch Of Ventures Platform’s Innovation Hub In Abuja

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Ventures platform (VP) an innovation hub that serves as a community and launchpad for technology innovators solving some of the most challenging problems on the African continent was officially launched in Abuja on the 3rd of June 2016.

VP is a carefully curated hub where tech-enthusiasts, freelancers, start-up entrepreneurs, and professionals on the go, who share common attitudes, interests, and goals, can meet, network and create.

Kola Aina, Founder, Ventures Platform delivered the welcome address, expressing the company’s vision to support tech entrepreneurs through incubation, mentoring programmes and training.

Ventures Platform will identify, support and fund innovative ideas and enterprises in the e-Agricuture, e-Health care, e-Government, Fintech, ICT and creative industries.

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Kola Aina, Founder of Ventures Platform – The Address

Following the welcome address, 3 of the finalists of the 127 entrepreneurs that applied for the pitch contest thrilled the audience with their creative ideas and Timi Aiyemo of healthcare app – MobiDoc emerged as the winner. He received a cash prize of $1000 which was awarded by the Minister of Communications, Barr. Abdur Adebayo Shittu.

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Presentation of cheque by the Minister of Communications, Barr. Abdur Adebayo Shittu.

Shortly after, the Minister commissioned the space and was given a facility tour of the premises which includes a co-working space, residency, café and events space.

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The commissioning was followed by a cocktail and networking event in the evening – sponsored by Laurent-Perrier Champagne.

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For more information – Website: www.venturesplatform.com | Instagram/Twitter @vplatformhub | Facebook: Facebook.com/venturesplatform | Email: hello@venturesplatform.com | Contact Number: 08171965487

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Herbert Wigwe, Access Bank CEO, Pledges Support for Developmental Projects

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Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe has said the Bank plans to support more developmental projects. This is part of its strategic objectives towards Nigeria’s economic development and wealth creation.

Mr. Wigwe said this during the signing ceremony of the N94.9bn 5-year Medium Term Loan (MTL) for Oando Plc with a view to optimize the company’s balance sheet towards greater efficiency and improve its working capital.

The financing by a consortium of Nigerian banks is coordinated by Access Bank Plc as the mandated Lead Arranger.

According to him, the transaction further signifies the solid commitment from Nigerian banking institutions to support sustained growth and development of the Nigerian oil and gas sector in these trying times.

 

“As we all know, Oando is the largest indigenous oil and gas player in the Sub Saharan Africa and this MTL facility would allow it to optimize its balance sheet towards greater efficiency and improve its working capital,” Wigwe said.

 

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MTN Pulse Makes A Comeback

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MTN’s trendy youth package, MTN Pulse is back. The new package offers online services at an amazing rate.

With Pulse, you can enjoy unlimited streaming of all the latest and exclusive hit jamz on Music+ for just N10 daily, you can browse & download movies all night for just N25 and also get 1GB data for just N500 weekly on MTN Pulse.

Check out the hilarious new trailer starring Falz, Skales, and Tekno, and showing other networks panicking over the comeback of Pulse.

Pulse is beyond a package, it’s a movement. Join the movement by dialling *406# and online with #ItsWhoWeAre.

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TECNO W4, Probably The Best Budget Marshmallow 6.0 Phone

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If you are an ardent android fan then you are still caught in the Marshmallow 6.0 fever! This super fluid, super-efficient latest version android OS has many features which android users are very thankful for. One of such features is the “Clear permission system” which allows a user to actually control how much access an app can have over phone features like camera, phone contact, emails, phone speakers etc.

Marshmallow 6.0 is a very cool OS but it seemed to have been exclusively designed for only the high and mighty in the smart phone world right? Wrong. The new TECNO W4 which flaunts the beloved Marshmallow 6.0 shows android dexterity in such a way only this lovable, sleek budget smart phone can and do.

So, is TECNO W4 the best Marshmallow 6.0 budget phone out in the market? Be the judge.

Super-crisp 5.0’’HD display

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You have probably seen a 5.0’’ display touchscreen with resolution specification pegged at 1280*720 before but don’t be fooled by the figures, TECNO W4 5.0” HD IPS touchscreen has phenomenal Image definition.

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See above, resolution comparison between TECNO W4 and a HP Pavilion Notebook (a Core i5 monster PC).The trick is brilliant camera and image optimization which the Marshmallow 6.0 affords this humble smart phone.

 

Wide angle cameras

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Now, all your friends and family can be captured in your favorite group selfie with no more cuts or photo tricks. The new TECNO W4 tables dual Wide angle cameras as one of its key selling points. Larger aperture means more light from images before the camera can enter the lens and be capture. TECNO W4 so flaunts excellent panorama effect.

The Marshmallow 6.0 we love

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Android is a lot sexier when what you are frolicking is the Marshmallow 6.0 and that’s exactly what TECNO W4 brings to the table. This brilliant smart phone gives android lovers the best of the android ecosystem, from second nature intuitiveness to exciting new levels of control, privacy, apps organization and management. See all the stuff you can do with Marshmallow OS

Premium metallic frame with chamfered edges

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You just have to love the way the TECNO W4 fills the palm when in a user’s grip. The phone’s light weight and grip-friendly design makes it a highly functional smart phone for an urbanite.

The TECNO W4 also wears prestige in a sublime way with premium metal frame and inch-perfect, chamfered edges that accentuate the phone’s presence.

 

HiOS inside

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A lot Breezier and fluid user interface (UI)
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Better app organization and management

Users who have experienced any recent smart phone release from TECNO would have noticed the totally reinvigorated, breezy and fluid user interface (UI) the smart phone adorns, that is the HiOS. In addition to equipping TECNO phones uniquely tailored features, HiOS optimizes audio, images display and app management in TECNO W4. One-touch button clears up junk files with one click and Ultra-power saver feature gives your smart phone extra juice to last the long haul.

Not a bad buy at all 

If you ever think of getting yourself a budget phone that stands out yet weighs down gently on your pocket, the TECNO W4 is the smart phone to go for. Retail price stands at NGN22,700, not a bad buy at all!

Tecno Marshmallow 6.0_360nobs

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Shareholders Applaud Nigerian Breweries’ 2015 Financial Performance

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Shareholders of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Nigeria’s foremost brewer, have applauded the company for recording an impressive financial result for 2015.

According to the shareholders who spoke at the 70th Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the company held in Lagos on Wednesday, the company’s performance in spite of the very challenging operating environment, stood out as a shining example for other manufacturers to emulate.

Mr. Bello Owonikoko, Chairman, Ibadan Zone of the Shareholders Solidarity Association stated that the 2016 results and the dividend pay-out are strong signals of the resilience of the company in the face of the challenges of the economy.

From Left to Right - Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Uabol Agbebaku, Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Comapany held in Lagos on Wednesday.

From Left to Right – Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Uabol Agbebaku, Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Comapany held in Lagos on Wednesday.

The same sentiment was re-echoed by Chibuzor Eke-Emmanuel, who expressed confidence that the company remains in good stead to weather the storm and deliver good returns to shareholders in the future.

The 2015 audited results showed that the Company’s shareholders earned a total dividend of N38.059 billion, translating into N4.80 (Four Naira Eighty Kobo) per unit of the company’s ordinary share of fifty kobo each for the 2015 financial year. This is the highest dividend ever paid by the company in its 70-year history.

Addressing the Shareholders, Chief Kola Jamodu, Chairman, Board of Directors, said the board had October 2015 paid an interim dividend of N9.5billion, representing N1.20 per ordinary share of fifty kobo each. He stated that the policy of dividend pay-out is in the strategic interest of the shareholders.

From Left to Right – Mr. Olusegun Adebanji, Non-Executive Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Uabol Agbebaku, Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Comapany held in Lagos on Wednesday

From Left to Right – Mr. Olusegun Adebanji, Non-Executive Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Uabol Agbebaku, Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Comapany held in Lagos on Wednesday

According to him, the proposed final dividend will be subject to deduction of withholding tax at the appropriate rate and will be payable on the 12th of May, 2016, to all shareholders whose names appear on the Company’s Register of Members at the close of business on the 2nd of March, 2016.

“We remain committed to Winning with Nigeria. Thus we will sustain the investment in our operations, systems, brands and of course people. Cost leadership and market leadership supported by innovations remain our key strategic pillars,” Jamodu said.

Nigerian Breweries is the second most capitalized company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The company paid out a total dividend of N37 billion (N4.75 kobo per ordinary share of 50 kobo each) for the financial year ended December 31, 2014.

From Left to Right - Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Uabol Agbebaku, Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Company held in Lagos on Wednesday.

From Left to Right – Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Uabol Agbebaku, Company Secretary/Legal Adviser at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Company held in Lagos on Wednesday.

Not a few analysts agree that Nigerian Breweries Plc has consistently added value to shareholders investments with its dividend payouts. It would be recalled that for the 2013 financial year, the company’s board had recommended the payment of a total dividend of N34.032 billion, translating into N4.50 (four naira fifty kobo) per ordinary share of fifty kobo each.

From Left to Right – Mr. Kufre Ekanem, Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Mr. Roland Pirmez, Non-Executive Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Comapany held in Lagos on Wednesday.

From Left to Right – Mr. Kufre Ekanem, Corporate Affairs Adviser, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Mr. Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC; Mr. Roland Pirmez, Non-Executive Director, Nigerian Breweries PLC and Chief Kola Jamodu, CFR, Chairman, Nigerian Breweries PLC at the Annual General Meeting, AGM of the Comapany held in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to the 2015 corporate rating report by Augusto and co; Nigerian Breweries possesses very strong financial condition and very strong capacity to meet local currency obligations as and when they fall due. The rating, Augusto maintained, is underlined by the company’s dominant position in the industry; highly experienced and stable Board of Directors; and competent management team. The rating is also supported by NB’s strong financial condition which is validated by good profitability, low leverage, good cash flow and adequate working capital.

 

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CBN Uncovers $20Bn Lying Idle In Domiciliary Accounts Of Nigerians

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has blamed some privileged Nigerians for the spiraling fall of the Naira as it has uncovered about $20 billion which is being kept idle in some domiciliary accounts in the country.

READ ALSO: Naira Strengthens Against Dollar After Buhari’s Defiance On Devaluation

This is contained in a statement issued by the Apex Bank’s deputy governor, financial system surveillance, Joseph Nnana on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Again, Buhari Says No To Devaluation Of Naira

Speaking at the meeting of the joint appropriation committees of the national assembly, Nanna assured Nigerians that these speculators would surely get their fingers burnt, adding that the Naira would also pick up after the passage of the 2016 budget.

The statement read: “Distinguished chairman sir, we have $20bn lying idle in various domiciliary accounts of many customers at the various banks across the country.”

“This is part of the reasons why the naira has continued to slide against the US dollar. The CBN will embark on aggressive liquidity mop-up to enable the naira regain confidence.

“The CBN will not sit down and watch the consistent fall of the naira. After the passage of the 2016 budget, the naira will begin to bounce back. Those who speculate on dollars will have their fingers burnt.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier rejected the idea of devaluing the country’s currency.

Consequently, a devaluation of the Naira would mean a big pay day for the speculators keeping billions of dollars in their domiciliary accounts.

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FOREX Critics Face Shame As Naira Gains Value Against Dollar

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Speculators have gotten their fingers burnt severely in the sharp appreciation of the Naira against the Dollar at the parallel market as strong indications have emerged on the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stabilise the country’s currency.

READ ALSO: Naira Rises To ₦364 Against Dollar For 2nd Day In A Row On Parallel Market

According to a high ranking official of the Apex Bank, the deployment of a number of measures by the bank may have turned the tide in the foreign exchange (FOREX) market and led to the severe punishment suffered by currency hoarders and speculators.

The CBN had last week held that foreign currency speculators were to be blamed for the spiraling inflation of the naira, which depreciated to an all-time low of almost N400 to the dollar.

Governor Godwin Emefiele of the Apex Bank had accused speculators who connived with bureau de change operators to undermine the efforts of the bank of propping up the naira and warned that such speculators would eventually be punished by the market.

Last week, it became apparent that the recent depreciation of the naira was not as a result of genuine demand but the insatiable urge of speculators, many of whom had got burnt in the sharp appreciation of the naira.

READ ALSO: Naira Strengthens Against Dollar After Buhari’s Defiance On Devaluation

The value of the naira which started last week at N367 rose to N350 by Tuesday and N305 by Wednesday.

There had been a wide gap between the selling price and the buying price on Wednesday, as Money changers bought from customers at N270 per dollar but sold at average of N305 per dollar.

Speaking on the wide gap between the buying rate and selling, a bureau de change operator said: “People had bought when the rate was N370, and they are already making losses. But by combining dollars bought at N270, the average buying rate becomes N320. So at N305, they are still losing about N15 per dollar.”

Although it rose again to N350 to the dollar at the close of business activities on Thursday, the naira closed the week stronger at N315 to the dollar.

READ ALSO: Again, Buhari Says No To Devaluation Of Naira

Counting their losses, a good number of the sellers who had suffered huge losses confessed that they had bought at the rate of N380, hoping to sell at N400 before the sudden turn in fortunes.

Meanwhile, a source within the apex bank said: “The aim of the CBN is to ensure that the divergence between the official and parallel rate does not exceed N3, so we are looking at a parallel market rate of N200 to the dollar because the downward trend in the pressure on the naira will be sustained. The CBN has the capacity to sustain the downward pressure and will deploy further currency management initiatives while capitalising on fiscal policies of the federal government to remain in support of non-devaluation of the naira. The current stand of the federal government on Nigeria’s legal tender is non-devaluation. It will be unwise for anybody to be hoarding dollars because we can assure you that the naira appreciation is going to trend upwards going forward.”

Currently, the naira as gained value against the dollar which sells at N305.

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Naira Stages Major Recovery Against The Dollar, Strengthens To ₦300 Per Dollar

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Foreign currency speculators and economic analysts, who unleashed an unprecedented attack against the Naira two weeks ago have gotten their fingers burnt severely on Wednesday, as the country’s currency staged a major recovery, rising to ₦300 to a dollar at the parallel market, compared to ₦375 at which it sold on Monday and ₦310 on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Naira Rises To ₦364 Against Dollar For 2nd Day In A Row On Parallel Market

Naira Rises Slightly, As Dollar Scarcity Delays Petrol Importation – Marketers

Naira Stages Major Recovery Against The Dollar

The local currency, which fell to an all-time low of about ₦400 against the greenback on the parallel market last week was predicted to plummet further to ₦450-₦500 per dollar by the end of this week.

READ ALSO: Naira Strengthens Against Dollar After Buhari’s Defiance On Devaluation

However, the Naira defied expectations, climbing to as high as ₦305 to the dollar at some parallel market points in Lagos on Tuesday afternoon, before settling at ₦310.

While currency analysts attributed the significant gain on the parallel market to excess supply of the greenback in the market, forex dealers said the losses recorded by the local currency in recent weeks were “artificial and fuelled by the activities of currency speculators.”

Other forex dealers averred that the Naira might gain further and settle around ₦260 against the greenback at the parallel market.

“The dollar supply in the market is reducing; however, the naira may gain further significantly before reaching equilibrium,” a BDC operator in Agege, Lagos, Mr. Rotimi Lawal, said.

The local currency began its recovery after President Muhammadu Buhari had reiterated its stance not to devalue the Naira on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Again, Buhari Says No To Devaluation Of Naira

Meanwhile, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, yesterday faulted individuals and groups calling for the devaluation of the nation’s currency, saying they were not sincere as devaluing the Naira would create more problems for the country.

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Naira Stages Major Recovery Against The Dollar, Strengthens To ₦300 Per Dollar

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Foreign currency speculators and economic analysts, who unleashed an unprecedented attack against the Naira two weeks ago have gotten their fingers burnt severely on Wednesday, as the country’s currency staged a major recovery, rising to ₦300 to a dollar at the parallel market, compared to ₦375 at which it sold on Monday and ₦310 on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Naira Rises To ₦364 Against Dollar For 2nd Day In A Row On Parallel Market

Naira Rises Slightly, As Dollar Scarcity Delays Petrol Importation – Marketers

Naira Stages Major Recovery Against The Dollar

The local currency, which fell to an all-time low of about ₦400 against the greenback on the parallel market last week was predicted to plummet further to ₦450-₦500 per dollar by the end of this week.

READ ALSO: Naira Strengthens Against Dollar After Buhari’s Defiance On Devaluation

However, the Naira defied expectations, climbing to as high as ₦305 to the dollar at some parallel market points in Lagos on Tuesday afternoon, before settling at ₦310.

While currency analysts attributed the significant gain on the parallel market to excess supply of the greenback in the market, forex dealers said the losses recorded by the local currency in recent weeks were “artificial and fuelled by the activities of currency speculators.”

Other forex dealers averred that the Naira might gain further and settle around ₦260 against the greenback at the parallel market.

“The dollar supply in the market is reducing; however, the naira may gain further significantly before reaching equilibrium,” a BDC operator in Agege, Lagos, Mr. Rotimi Lawal, said.

The local currency began its recovery after President Muhammadu Buhari had reiterated its stance not to devalue the Naira on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Again, Buhari Says No To Devaluation Of Naira

Meanwhile, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, yesterday faulted individuals and groups calling for the devaluation of the nation’s currency, saying they were not sincere as devaluing the Naira would create more problems for the country.

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Naira Suffers Free Fall; Now ₦385 To Dollar, ₦505 To Pound At Parallel Market

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The Nigerian naira on Wednesday, February 17, weakened further to ₦385 per US dollar and ₦505 per British Pound at the parallel market, while the official interbank rates remain stable at ₦199.34.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Scramble For The Dollar As Naira Plummets Further

Naira: Exchange rate as at the morning of 18/2/2016: The Guardian

(UPDATE) Naira: Exchange rate as at the morning of 18/2/2016: The Guardian

It was gathered that the demand for dollars to pay for Chinese goods was part of the reason for the latest decline.

“You know China had been on its one month annual holidays. But they resumed work on Monday, and people have to complete payment for goods ordered before the holidays,” a BDC operator said.

They had made 30% down payment to order the goods and they now have to pay the 70% balance otherwise they will lose the 30%.

That is why they are desperate and ready to buy dollars at any rate. Meanwhile supply is scarce and those who have dollars are not willing to sell because they might also need the currency soon”.

The rapid fall of the Naira had been traced to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) restriction policy on the weekly sale to Bureau de Changes with dollars on January 12th, 2016.

The post Naira Suffers Free Fall; Now ₦385 To Dollar, ₦505 To Pound At Parallel Market appeared first on 360Nobs.com.

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Naira Suffers Free Fall; Now ₦385 To Dollar, ₦505 To Pound At Parallel Market

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The Nigerian naira on Wednesday, February 17, weakened further to ₦385 per US dollar and ₦505 per British Pound at the parallel market, while the official interbank rates remain stable at ₦199.34.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Scramble For The Dollar As Naira Plummets Further

Naira: Exchange rate as at the morning of 18/2/2016: The Guardian

(UPDATE) Naira: Exchange rate as at the morning of 18/2/2016: The Guardian

It was gathered that the demand for dollars to pay for Chinese goods was part of the reason for the latest decline.

“You know China had been on its one month annual holidays. But they resumed work on Monday, and people have to complete payment for goods ordered before the holidays,” a BDC operator said.

They had made 30% down payment to order the goods and they now have to pay the 70% balance otherwise they will lose the 30%.

That is why they are desperate and ready to buy dollars at any rate. Meanwhile supply is scarce and those who have dollars are not willing to sell because they might also need the currency soon”.

The rapid fall of the Naira had been traced to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) restriction policy on the weekly sale to Bureau de Changes with dollars on January 12th, 2016.

The post Naira Suffers Free Fall; Now ₦385 To Dollar, ₦505 To Pound At Parallel Market appeared first on 360Nobs.com.

Source: New feed

Nigerians Scramble For The Dollar As Naira Plummets Further

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The Nigerian Naira is expected to suffer more at the parallel market this week after shedding nine per cent of its value last week, foreign exchange dealers and economic experts have forecasted.

Naira depreciates to 304 per dollar

Naira to suffer more as Dollar demand continue to Increase

It was gathered that the local currency, last week, fell from 310 to 338 following the acute shortage of the Dollar as desperate Nigerian importers scramble to get the greenback to meet their obligations overseas.

The local currency also closed at 325, 318, 313.5 and 310 on Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday, respectively.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), however, did not tamper with the official exchange rate as it is still N197 to the dollar on its official interbank window.

“The situation has got to the point of hysteria now; everybody wants to hold dollars. So the demand is rising and piling up,” the Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said.

“We see the naira falling further in coming days if the central bank fails to lift the dollar restriction,” the Acting President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Aminu Gwadabe, said.

Reuters had on February 9, reported that the plunging global oil prices have battered Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy, with external reserves down to an 11-year low at $27.89bn on February 9.

Meanwhile, economic experts and forex dealers expect the Naira to fall further at the parallel market this week as demand for the greenback continues to soar.

The post Nigerians Scramble For The Dollar As Naira Plummets Further appeared first on 360Nobs.com.

Source: New feed

Nigerians Scramble For The Dollar As Naira Plummets Further

Featured Image

The Nigerian Naira is expected to suffer more at the parallel market this week after shedding nine per cent of its value last week, foreign exchange dealers and economic experts have forecasted.

Naira depreciates to 304 per dollar

Naira to suffer more as Dollar demand continue to Increase

It was gathered that the local currency, last week, fell from 310 to 338 following the acute shortage of the Dollar as desperate Nigerian importers scramble to get the greenback to meet their obligations overseas.

The local currency also closed at 325, 318, 313.5 and 310 on Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday, respectively.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), however, did not tamper with the official exchange rate as it is still N197 to the dollar on its official interbank window.

“The situation has got to the point of hysteria now; everybody wants to hold dollars. So the demand is rising and piling up,” the Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said.

“We see the naira falling further in coming days if the central bank fails to lift the dollar restriction,” the Acting President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators, Aminu Gwadabe, said.

Reuters had on February 9, reported that the plunging global oil prices have battered Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy, with external reserves down to an 11-year low at $27.89bn on February 9.

Meanwhile, economic experts and forex dealers expect the Naira to fall further at the parallel market this week as demand for the greenback continues to soar.

The post Nigerians Scramble For The Dollar As Naira Plummets Further appeared first on 360Nobs.com.

Source: New feed

Naira Endures Free Fall Against Dollar

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The Nigerian naira on Tuesday, February 9, weakened further to 313.5 against the United States dollar at the parallel market as shortage of the greenback, persists in the forex markets.

Naira depreciates to 304 per dollar

Naira continues free-fall against dollar

The local currency which traded for 310 to a dollar on Monday lost 3.5 units to close at N313.5 per dollar on Tuesday.

According to Reuters On Tuesday, the naira closed at 199.40 to the dollar on the interbank market, around the peg rate of 197 to the dollar.

This is coming just as the interbank lending rate rose to two per cent from one per cent on Monday, after CBN directed commercial banks to fund their naira accounts ahead of its intervention in the forex market on Thursday.

The naira had plummeted against the dollar last month after the CBN banned dollar sales to Bureau De Change outlets and later stopped daily sales to the interbank market.

The post Naira Endures Free Fall Against Dollar appeared first on 360Nobs.com.

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Why ATMs and Mobile platforms are not the solution for financial exclusion

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Financial transactions via mobile and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have grown tremendously in recent years. They are believed to be the major drivers of financial inclusion in Africa where 53 percent of the world’s active mobile money accounts are used. But if 98 percent of transactions in Kenya believed to be the home of mobile money, is still happening in cash — what do these numbers really mean?

“ATMs are not the solution for Africa…and neither is mobile the only answer,” said John Staley, CFO and Executive Director of Kenya’s Equity Bank at the first Business Forum East Africa organised by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT).

Although, M-PESA has been largely described as an African success story, Staley says the platform is still not focused on the continent’s poor. He explained that the mobile money platform is largely digitising transactions of $30-40 upwards. “Poor people are transacting from $5 down. This is a huge gap.”

“We made an assumption that poor people have electronic money; they do not,” he stressed.

Staley admitted that the growth of mobile money in Kenya is impressive and is having a huge impact on transactions which are rising significantly. The accessibility is enjoyed by the people, he notes, but argued that for the service to truly improve financial inclusion, more needs to be done. “It’s not just about giving people accounts, it’s about giving people accounts that they can use.”

The International Monetary Fund, in its 2014 Financial Access Survey (FAS), reported a dramatic increase in the number of active mobile money accounts in Kenya. The number of mobile money transactions increased by more than 130 times, from 5.5 million in 2007 to more than 700 million in 2013.

This statistic is not surprising given the incredible uptake of M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer and micro-financing service launched in Kenya by Vodafone in 2007. Upwards of 75 percent of Kenya’s adult population now use M-Pesa to process payments for a range of goods and services, they are not just account holders as suggested by Staley.

Despite the growth of mobile money, the level of financial inclusion in East Africa remains generally low. In the continent’s rural communities, where most of the financially excluded reside, access to formal financial services, usage of financial tools and presence of mobile infrastructure are still a concern. This is an integral factor that could drive economic empowerment in rural communities, factors hindering the growth of financial inclusion needs to be addressed. The solution forms the foundation for the sustainable economic development of Africa’s poor.

Stephen Mwaura, Head, National Payments System at Central Bank of Kenya, adds that access to financial services and inclusion will be the best way of eliminating poverty. He challenged banks to be more innovative.

“In the 100 years that we have been doing banking in Kenya, only 20% of the population has gained access to banking. It makes you wonder whether the system is working properly. When 80% of the population is unbanked you cannot effectively implement monetary policy either,” he said.

While the growth of mobile money is forcing banks to be more creative in reaching the unbanked, Visa is also pushing to grow financial inclusion in East Africa. Through a public-private partnership with the government of Rwanda. “We are working to enable a government and empower a whole nation,” said Natalie Baatjies, Senior Director, Financial Inclusion, Visa.

The company has put in place a financial literacy programme, established a payment acceptance network – in shops, hotels, garages and supermarkets – and helped the government to increase the number of ATMs.

While Staley insists neither mobile money nor ATMs are going to solve the problem of financial exclusion, mobile money growth in East Africa and increase in interoperability and accessibility by banks and partners hold great hope for the future of financial inclusion in the region and Africa at large.

The post Why ATMs and Mobile platforms are not the solution for financial exclusion appeared first on Ventures Africa.

Source: jobd23

Abraaj is gradually cornering the Nigerian market for itself

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The Abraaj group, one of the world’s largest private equity funds, has been increasingly turning its focus towards Africa, a market it considers the next realm for unprecedented growth driven largely by consumer spending. “Our faith and belief in the African consumer story is dramatic because the African consumer today, in my opinion, is well neglected,” Arif Naqvi, the group’s CEO, told Ventures Africa at the World Economic Forum last year in Davos. “Everybody looks at Sub-Saharan Africa and calls it a resources story. I’ve always called it a consumer story.”

Abraaj, which focuses mostly on emerging markets—known for their high risk, high reward business climate—has put its money where its mouth is, investing over $2.5 billion across the continent’s top markets (including Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria) over the past couple of years. This April saw the firm close a $990 million sub-Saharan Africa fund, its third in the region.

In Africa, Nigeria offers the investment group its biggest consumer market. Despite a host of political and economic uncertainties—notably security, corruption, and the global oil crisis—Nigeria remains Africa’s most populous nation with more than 170 million people. It also has one of the world’s youngest and fastest growing populations, an attractive statistic for any consumer-driven investor.

Economically, Nigeria still holds Africa’s largest economy, with a GDP of $510 billion, though the recent oil crisis has dealt a huge blow to its growth forecast, which was previously one of the highest globally.

Abraaj has wasted little time taking advantage of the enormous potential offered by the Nigerian market. This week, the investment group announced that it had acquired a significant stake in Mouka Foam, a leading mattress manufacturer in Nigeria. “We’ve long been interested in the mattress-manufacturing space, and have carefully reviewed a number of opportunities in the past,” said Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, a Partner at The Abraaj Group. “The market opportunity for high quality sleeping products offers good potential for growth, and we believe Mouka is very well positioned to capitalize on this.” The Mouka stake was acquired from Actis, another global investment firm actively present in Africa.

Mouka is a household brand name in Nigeria and a leading manufacturer in the Nigerian foam and bedding space. The Company has an extensive distribution network across the country, partnering with over 500 distributors who operate through more than 1,000 outlets.

But this isn’t Abraaj’s first foray into the Nigerian market. In 2013, the group bought over the West African FMCG company, Fan Milk. The deal was reportedly the largest PE transaction in Sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa. “Abraaj is one of the most active investors on the African continent, with a particularly strong track record in Nigeria. We continue to see significant upside potential across the country in tandem with the fast growth of its population and the expansion of its middle class.”Abraaj’s deeply diversified investment portfolio for Nigeria now includes: AOS Orwell, C&I Leasing, Custodian & Allied Insurance, Computer Warehouse Group, The Bridge Clinic & PathCare, and Lily Hospitals.

Last year, Egyptian-born Mustafa Abdel Wadood, who serves as a partner and chairman of Abraaj’s Management Executive Committee, offered a peak into Abraaj’s strategy for achieving so much success despite investing in the world’s most difficult places. The key, he said, was engagement; being to close to your investment. So an on-the-ground team is paramount to the fund’s operations.

It is no different for its investment in Mouka Foam. Abraaj will team up with the Moukarim Family (Mouka’s founding family) to strengthen the mattress maker’s domestic leadership position and enhance the company’s product offering, distribution network and geographic presence.

As the years run by, Abraaj is gradually deepening its footprint not only across difficult but rewarding markets like Africa, but within Nigeria–a market that currently holds so much uncertainty but has a long history of providing investors with healthy returns.

The post Abraaj is gradually cornering the Nigerian market for itself appeared first on Ventures Africa.

Source: jobd23

Radio remains the main source of daily news in Nigeria

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Although we are in the 21st century, radio still remains the main source of daily news in Nigeria rather than social media/internet. This was revealed in a recent survey by a country-specific polling service in West Africa, NOI Polls. While the findings buttress the rising embrace of social media in Nigeria and the world, they do not discount the growing significance of social media as a news source in the country.

According to the survey, about 34 percent of Nigerians surveyed affirmed that ‘radio’ is their major source of information while television and social media accounted for 27 and 20 percent respectively.

NOI 1

The result of the survey illuminate that the use of radio as means of daily news is mostly true for residents in the north east, north west and south east of Nigeria.

Even though radio is the main source of information, its use declined by 18 percent in 2015, while the use of social media for daily news increased by 14 percent.

NOI3

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Source: jobd23

How bad can it get for Nigeria’s President Buhari?

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President Muhammadu Buhari is still in his early days at the helm of Nigeria’s affairs, but his honeymoon is long over. Barely a month after triumphantly entering the oval office with the broom of change, the new president is already struggling to sweep off the barrage of attacks and expressions of discontent over his actions, inactions and pace of his government. His delay in setting up a cabinet and rolling out promised reforms have earned him the nickname ‘Baba Go-Slow‘. He is also being accused of political ineptitude, poor leadership in the rift in his party’s controlled National Assembly, nepotism, for favouring northerners in his first few appointments, and ineffectiveness, for the rapid increase in Boko Haram attacks.

Even seemingly trivial issues have drawn the ire of Nigerians. One of such was the wristwatch worn by President Buhari’s wife to his inauguration and in her official portrait as the first Lady. Several online blogs described the watch as a $52,000 Cartier Baignoire Folle 18-Carat White Gold Diamond Ladies Watch. So serious was the uproar about the watch that even mainstream global media houses like the BBC picked up the story. “Buhari underlined his humble credentials by raising money from ordinary voters. He even had to stretch his finances to pay the fee to register as a candidate. This image was diluted somewhat when his wife, Aisha Buhari, was pictured wearing an expensive-looking watch at her husband’s inauguration last week,” read an article published on BBC trending on June 3. While that furor seemed to die down days later, another has come up, just a month after, over comments alleged to have been made by his daughter, Zara on Twitter. Yesterday, the Presidency issued a statement that the Tweet came from an impersonating account, but even that move has been criticised.

While many of the current critics of President Buhari have never been his fans, some of the issues being raised are matters of serious concern to the general public. The delay in setting up the federal cabinet is one of such issues. The President has been widely criticised for failing to pick his ministers more than a month after his inauguration. “It’s approximately three months since Nigerians voted for Mr. Buhari, on his fourth try, to be their president. By any objective measure, three months is more than enough time for a man who sought power with a certain persistence to figure out his cabinet,” wrote popular political commentator, Okey Ndibe, in Sahara Reporters, an online platform famous for its harsh criticism of the past President Jonathan’s government. Okey Ndibe was himself very critical of the former president during his tenure often accusing him of being out-of-touch with the challenges of Nigerians.

Another issue that has brought much criticism on President Buhari is his inaction in the face of the parliamentary leadership crisis threatening to tear his party apart. The crisis has created huge worries even inside the president’s strong fanbase. Dele Momodu, the owner of popular celebrity magazine and a staunch supporter of Buhari, expressed his discontent with the retired military General’s stand: “There is no doubt that the present imbroglio in your Party is as a result of your lukewarm attitude to Party issues thinking you could merely concentrate on nation-building while others deal with political intrigues. However, it is not always as simple as that. As you can now see, you don’t seem to be on the same page with your Party,” Momodu wrote in an open letter to the President. Another part read, “Sir, let me say right away that the goodwill garnered during your campaigns and the jubilation that heralded your recent victory are fast fading and you need to, as a matter of urgency, convince the people of Nigeria that you’re now ready to hit the ground running. They are not going to listen to excuses since you had 30 years after quitting the high office to onerously prepare for the job again. For them it is immaterial that you met an empty treasury or that you are mostly surrounded by selfish, corruptive influences and impostors.”

Attacked for his passivity, President Buhari has also taken some flack for some of his actions. National newspaper, Punch, a few days ago reported of an uproar over the President’s appointments favouring the North which he hails from. “Of the nine appointments made by Buhari so far, eight are from the North, while one is from the South,” the paper said. It described the people from the South as “concerned” over the president’s moves, quoting several online commenters and chieftains of Southern ethnic pressure groups. “We expect the President to recognise other nationalities that make up Nigeria. Elections are over, it is time for governance. We expect that the principle of federal character, which is constitutional, should be respected,” Gary Enwo-Igariwey, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a pressure group which advocates the interest of the Igbos who dominates the South East, told the Punch.

The paper also cited complaints from the southwest-dominated Yoruba ethnic pressure groups. “What is more worrisome is that the immediate past INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, handed over to a Southerner but the Presidency changed it to a Northerner” A leader of one of the pan-Yoruba groups, Senator Anthony Adefuye, told Punch in reference to Buhari’s appointment of  Hajia Amina Bala Zakari as the Acting of the Independent Electoral Commission. The pressure is also mounting on President Buhari to deliver his promise of security in the face of increased attacks from Boko Haram. Nigeria’s online media space has been abuzz with the number of people killed since the new president’s innauguration, with some blogs putting the figure as high as 500. “Since the inauguration of President Muhammudu Buhari on May 29, over 500 people including soldiers have been killed by Boko Haram forces either through bombings, beheading or shootings”, Akinshilo Ayomide wrote in new generation news website, NAIJ.com, yesterday. Fredrick Nwabufo’s figures in a similar platform, the Cable, was lower, he wrote on the 25th of June,  “Between May 29, 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in, and June 24, at least 221 lives have been lost in Boko Haram attacks, concentrated on Borno and Yobe states. This time around, the attacks have not been territorial — a battle the Nigerian military seemed to have won convincingly — but asymmetrical.” Just this morning, a bomb attack on a government building in Zaria has claimed at least 25 lives. While none of these reports are verified, they follow the rising trend of discontent towards President Buhari’s effort in shutting down the Islamist sect, a key promise of his campaign.

“The President is just being thorough and painstaking,” Lai Mohammed, the ruling party’s spokesman said in response to the growing concerns Nigerians have over the pace of the new government. True as that is, since it is still very early days in Buhari’s presidency and he still has almost all of his four years to turn around the present difficulties, the rising pressures tell of the difficulties of leading Nigeria, particularly through the change that the President has promised. Like former president Goodluck Jonathan, whose government was heavily criticised for virtually every move, Buhari is already getting a lot of slack. And that is unlikely to change, at least not anytime soon.

The post How bad can it get for Nigeria’s President Buhari? appeared first on Ventures Africa.

Source: jobd23

Nigeria’s President Buhari approves $3.5bn bailout plan for bankrupt states

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As many rightly predicted, President Muhammadu Buhari has agreed to bailout bankrupt Nigerian states—which have been unable to pay the wages of public workers in the past few months—after approving a N713.7 billion ($3.5 billion) relief fund.

The fund is part of a three-pronged relief package. Of the total sum, N413.7 billion ($2.1 billion)—sourced from LNG sales proceeds—is recognised as a special intervention fund, made available to pay outstanding wage commitments. The remaining N300 billion ($1.4 billion) is a soft loan to states. The soft loan will be provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

As of mid-June, it was reported that about 10 of the 36 Nigerian states—Osun, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Benue, and Bauchi—owed workers salaries, some of whom have not been paid for the past 10 months. The combined outstanding wage bills of the broke states was placed at N110 billion. The new fund is expected to boost purchasing power of Nigerians, particularly the average and low-income earners, and to reflate the economy in a period where government revenues have been battered by the global oil crisis, and local fuel scarcity is raising the daily cost of living.

Mixed reactions

Those who have branded the governors running bankrupt states as incompetent, have remained critical of the move by the President to bailout the needy states. “It is unfortunate that governors, most of whom operate flamboyantly and mismanaged their states’ resources are begging for bailout,” said Dr Kayode Ajulo, the National Secretary of the Labour Party, a Nigerian political party.

While it has become a necessity to provide relief for unpaid workers, Dr Kayode advised that there must be new measures put in place to ensure the habit of mismanagement does not reoccur. “I say this knowing the antics of some of our governors as we should not be surprised that some of them may commit the money to another white elephant project or buy private jets which is the latest vogue among them. Greece was given conditions when she asked for bail out from the European Union and I see nothing wrong in setting a condition for the bail out as there must be an end to the prevalence of financial indiscipline  among our state executive.”

Pat Utomi, a political economy expert, believes the intervention is key to reviving the drowning Nigerian economy. “It is important to recognize that without such bailout, the economy will be in danger as there will be no spending going on while those offering services will be unable to offer anything. The bailout is very important for the economy.” He however shares Dr Kayode’s sentiment on employing stringent measures to curb mismanagement. “This development should now make government impose conditionality that will stop mismanagement and unnecessary spendings”.

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Source: jobd23

How Lagos Startup Week is creating access to investment for entepreneurs

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On July 31, a Nigerian startup will be offered the opportunity to compete for $1.5 million in investment by emerging markets-focused startup competition, Seedstars World. The global seed-stage competition will climax the Lagos Startup Week holding from July 27.

The week-long event for startups and entrepreneurs in Nigeria will culminate with a pitching competition for 10-15 Nigerian companies to identify the best early stage startup in Nigeria. Seedstars World is looking for smart startups that solve regional issues and/or develop profitable products for the global market.

“Some of the most pivotal moments for startups and businesses have come down to one big pitch. We are committed to supporting Startups/SME’s, entrepreneurs with investment opportunities, mentoring and tools to make great ideas come to life,” says Olumide Olayinka, one of the organisers of the event.

He notes that with Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, set to experience significant growth over the next couple of years as predicted by economists, Lagos Startup Week hopes to bring together major industry players and create a platform to harness opportunities and encourage growth of the startup ecosystem in Nigeria.

Marcello Schermer, Regional Manager for Africa at Seedstars World, says the competition partnered with Startup Week Lagos for the promotion of entrepreneurship and the elevation of Nigerian startups to a global stage. “We believe partnerships are an essential element to drive the growth of an ecosystem and we couldn’t have found a better partner for this,” says Schermer.

Seedstars World’s past participants have raised $20 million together, providing employment to more than 360 people around the world. The competition has also expanded to more than 50 countries for 2015 (up from the 36 countries of the 2014 edition).

Simeon Ononobi, Co-Founder of SimplePay, an online payment system and winner of Seedstars Lagos 2013, advised startups to register for the competition. “For me Seedstars was a great step in the right direction, as I not only got funds, but the required expertise and exposure my business needed. SimplePay was transformed from a bedroom company to a world class solution.”

A statement by the organisers of the event highlights the basic criteria for applying to the competition: a seed-stage company, less than 2 years since the founding date, less than $500,000 in funding and a minimum viable product available.

Startups can apply by an invitation through key incubators, accelerators and investors in the market, through the open pre-application and the #UberPitch competition that will allow anyone with 15 minutes and a good idea to request a ride and compete for a last minute spot in the Seedstars World competition. Uber, whose appas connect riders and drivers is also a partner for the competition.

So far, Startup Week has been hosted in 75 cities around the world including Seattle, Austin, Denver, Portland, Maine, and more. Lagos is the first city to host it in Africa.

The post How Lagos Startup Week is creating access to investment for entepreneurs appeared first on Ventures Africa.

Source: jobd23

Millennials growing Africa’s mobile economy

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In many respects, Africa is on the cusp of a new dawn. Never in the history of the continent has technology and society had such a close relationship as we see it today, as the activities of citizens, companies and governments continue to generate information and data at a rate unforeseen in human history.

Data is poised to be the next most valuable natural resource, and from all indications, Africa is not prepared to be left behind in the emerging data-driven global economy. The combination of data and the mobile culture will be a key competitive advantage for citizens, companies, national and sub-national governments in Africa, fueling vast economic growth and societal progress.

Recent studies show reveal that 80% of all the data in the world was created in past three years. This is one of the reasons why two-thirds of IBM’s technology research’s work is now devoted to data, analytics and cognitive computing.

There will also be a three-fold increase in data-transmitting transistors per human by 2017. Humanity currently generates about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data from a variety of sources daily – from emails, blogs and climate information to posts on social media sites, and purchase transaction records to healthcare medical images. Africa’s share of this global data mix is bound to be significant, especially as mobile communications adoption and internet usage on the continent continues to grow.

Close to 70 per cent of Africa’s population now comprises of millennials – many of whom have grown up seeing mobile devices as a normal part of everyday life. As the region’s future decision-makers, customers, and constituents, these millennials will be major stakeholders in the success of both Africa’s businesses and governments – from hiring top talent to ensuring satisfaction with public services.

IBM

The millennial generation in Africa and elsewhere have much to contribute when it comes to moving enterprise organizations along the path toward greater mobility – but only if it is empowered to do so. More than 30 percent of millennials globally view work/life flexibility as essential to being engaged at work, according to a recent study by the IBM Institute of Business Values.

Businesses however looking to mobilize their workforce can no longer rely on a top-down approach. Instead, they must enlist the help of their tech-savvy millennial employees and tap into the generation’s inherent understanding of what it means to be truly mobile. In the enterprise space, this manifests itself in two ways – ensuring that millennial employees are armed with the right tools to provide the best possible experience for customers and encouraging their feedback on and involvement with new mobile developments.

Mobility is an enabler for business transformation and a catalyst for innovation. African enterprises which effectively harness the power of mobility will begin to uncover valuable hidden insights that lead to new products and services, gain a deeper understanding of stakeholders’ needs, and benefit from faster transformation and results. The implementation, however, can be an uphill battle for many organizations.

Beyond these peculiar infrastructure challenges in the African environment, employees may also lack the necessary skills and many businesses have yet to implement an effective mobile strategy that ensures accessibility without compromising security. Along with growing security concerns, consumer expectations of mobile offerings also continue to rise, and the pressure is building on organizations to derive and action on the real-time information generated by mobile devices. Millennial employees, however, can help bridge the gap. As organizations explore new ways to leverage the feedback cycle between mobile services and end-users, millennials can assist businesses in creating increasingly targeted experiences to maintain the attention of young consumers.

As the future leaders of change, millennials have a vested interest in the mobility of their employers. And with more millennials flooding the workforce pool, they will continue to prioritize working on mobile devices. In fact, millennials in the Middle East and Africa region are optimistic about their abilities – a recent survey from Telefonica found that 81 percent of the region’s millennials believe they are on the cutting-edge of technology, compared with 75 percent worldwide.

Businesses in Africa can seize this unique opportunity as a way of improving customer interactions. As younger employees are more likely to be on the front line of an organization – perhaps, working as customer service representations, or managing and providing content for brand social media channels. By empowering the employees with direct access to customers – with streamlined access to real-time information – organizations can ensure a better experience for their customers.

We are increasingly living in the era of the Mobile Mentor. When we think of the word ‘mentor’, most people tend to picture a veteran with decades of experience. However, when it comes to embracing mobility, it is the up-and-comers who have the advice to offer. Corporations and governments in Africa can benefit from direct input by millennial employees. By encouraging the feedback of younger employees, businesses can find out exactly what millennials workers and consumers are expecting from new mobile services and gain deeper insight into ways to streamline functionality.

Citibank is an example of a company which has successfully implemented this practice. Its reverse mentoring program pairs senior executives with undergraduates to work together on projects, helping the company stay one step ahead of the top technology trends and laying a foundation for improved recruiting and new talent cultivation and generation.

IBM is also encouraging its millennial employees to join the wider business conversation. Through its Emerging Leaders program, millennials were able to join more than 1500 C-level executives in discussing how to use enabling technologies including mobile, cloud, and Big Data analytics as a competitive advantage. By tapping into the digital wisdom of millennials, organizations can unlock new ways to solve business challenges, enhance productivity and better define the needs and strategic interests of the corporation in the future of the marketplace.

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Source: jobd23

As Greece Votes on its Financial Future, African Countries Should Take Note

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I had a recent conversation with a senior risk professional at a global multi-national company. The company’s operations include at least eight African countries across north, east, and the southern African regions. My contact made a comment that surprised me, he said, “Africa is one of the most stable parts of the world for us right now. Right now, we are consumed with Greece, Argentina and Venezuela. When things calm down we can sit down, but right now I’m on 24 hours local Greece issues…”

For once, Africa is not the world’s biggest problem.

The most apparent thing to note is that African markets are not correlated to each other. In contrast to the Eurozone, African markets provide natural diversification of risk to participants with exposure across the continent. Africa also provides interesting opportunities for investors to allocate funds based on the relative economic attractiveness of one region or country over another. Investors can therefore isolate countries with an uncertain economic outlook with limited risk of contagion. In the first quarter of this year Market Atlas observed substantial investment outflows from Nigeria during the election period and oil price slump earlier this year. At the same time the Kenyan stock market experienced net inflows and rising valuations. In the second quarter, we observed a reversal of this trend as noted in an article written by Akin Sawyerr, Market Atlas’ Chief Strategy Officer. The conclusion of the Nigerian election and stabilization of oil prices eliminated some of the short-term uncertainty in the Nigerian economy.

While African countries are relatively stable in an otherwise cloudy world economy, Greece’s unfolding tragedy should be looked at with caution by African leaders. There are two key lessons that can be drawn from the Greek experience.

Unsustainable fiscal policies  are a red card

Greece has to choose between two difficult options. The first option is to stay within the Euro currency regime and continue a crippling reform program that has led to deep spending cuts in health and other social programs (malaria and HIV cases have risen since austerity measures were put in place). Option two is to exit the European monetary union and reintroduce Greece’s old currency, the Drachma.

Greece’s current problems stem from the 1999 introduction of the Euro common currency. Common currencies are beneficial because they reduce trade costs to member countries and support the increase of trade amongst members. On the other hand, currency unions often lead labor costs to rise for the smaller economies in the currency zone.   Rising labor costs in Greece made their exports increasingly more expensive causing budget deficits to rise to 15 percent of GDP in 2009 from 5 percent of GDP in 1999. To further complicate matters, reports of fiscal mismanagement, deception, and corruption in the Greek government also surfaced in 2009, further increasing Greece’s borrowing costs. Greece abdicated its ability to manage its own currency by joining the European Monetary Union which removed its ability to devalue its currency. A devaluation would have allowed Greece to increase demand for domestic goods, reduce its trade deficits, and grow its way out of its problems through increased foreign demand for its cheaper goods.

On the African continent one need not look any further than Ghana for a cautionary tale about a country that is walking down the path that Greece has taken. Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio increased dramatically to 68.41 percent in 2015 from 46.83 percent in 2012. The failure to curb spending on civil service salaries is one of the main contributing factors to the deterioration of fiscal situation. Ghana needs to take substantial measures to address its fiscal imbalances in order to avoid a Greek like situation in the future.

On the whole, African governments need to take a second look at their fiscal policies and make the necessary adjustments stay on sound economic footing. Additionally it is key to keep in mind that a number of African countries have gone to the Eurobond market to raise substantial amounts of capital. While this seems like a good idea, a number of the projects funded by some of these Eurobonds have not produced the expected economic results. Further the pricing of these bonds could be impacted by fluctuations in the value of the Euro after a Greek referendum. It is important for countries that have gone this Eurobond route keep a healthy level of reserves to cope with future economic headwinds.

GDP diversification is a necessity

While the politics of the austerity measures imposed by Greece’s creditors are up for debate, it is without question that Greece’s GDP is not adequately diversified. Tourism (a mainstay of the Greek economy) is a great industry, but a country needs more than one source of income. African countries that rely on one key export for a majority of their revenues are vulnerable to the same challenges facing Greece and are thus further susceptible to pressures from external debt holders.

Nigeria, with its reliance on oil revenues to generate foreign exchange and support the government budget, is a country that must be wary. Though Nigeria’s economy has significantly diversified, oil still forms over 80 percent of government revenue.  Over the past year, the country has experienced first-hand what a sharp drop in oil prices can do to its finances and its ability to provide basic services. African governments must identify secondary and tertiary sources of income outside of their primary revenue generating industries and focus on developing new sources of revenue for their economies to better weather cyclical downswings in primary industries.

But even more important is the social contract between the government and its citizens. Having a strong tax base and high compliance with tax collection helps keep elected officials accountable. Alternatively citizens who do not pay taxes tend to overlook government affairs which makes waste, abuse and corruption easier to get away with. When corruptive pressures win, the economic impact can be grave; from ballooning civil service payrolls, to a lack of capital investment in infrastructure and wasteful government policies that benefit the politely connected.

A number of African economies experienced crippling debt levels throughout the 1980s. The vast majority of these countries received debt relief from external debt holders that returned them to stronger fiscal standing. African countries will do well to avoid returning to the challenging economic environments that many experienced in fairly recent times. African countries must take heed not to kick the can down the road, and make difficult fiscal decisions while there is time to structurally adjust incrementally.

So what does the Greek crisis mean for African markets? Here too, we find two possible areas of impact on vulnerable economies.

CFA Franc countries could be adversely impacted

The Market Atlas Africa Currency Index has noted that the CFA Franc is overvalued by 15 percent compared to the U.S dollar. An overvalued exchange rate tends to depress domestic demand and encourage spending on imports. This can be particularly problematic during periods of sluggish growth.  The CFA Franc is pegged to the Euro and is directly exposed to any potential devaluation that may occur should Greece leave the Euro currency. Depending on the way Greece resolves this crisis, the Euro could stand to lose up to one third of its value.

Additionally, the U.S. Federal Reserve is sending signals that it is ready to begin raising interest rates. With European rates already at negative levels in real terms, a rise of US excess reserve deposit rates by 0.25 percent will widen the spread between US rates and Euro rates, resulting in a stronger dollar. When coupled with the fact that central banks in Europe and Asia are all in monetary easing mode, the dollar will have more room to appreciate on a global basis. This will put further downward pressure on the Euro that could be accentuated by a Greece exit. The knock on effect would be a negative impact on the economic competitiveness of the 14 countries that use the CFA Franc and the region’s ability to keep trade levels up while Europe is in recession.

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Currency valuation relative to the US dollar — Source: Market Atlas

African markets will still be competitive for yield seekers

Greece will decide its destiny and the European Community will act accordingly after today’s referendum.  Global investors worried about the outcome can take solace in the fact that African markets will still offer competitive yields on a long-term basis. The Federal Reserve will gradually raise interest rates to avoid pushing the anemic US economy into recession and this will give long-term investors continued opportunity to remain exposed to African economies and benefit from higher yields, and portfolio diversification.

African markets are still  relatively attractive places to park capital, but African governments need to take a measured approach to ensuring their fiscal policies do not derail the economic growth story of the last 20 years. The alternative could be a path much worse than the drama playing out in Europe that would make the  current Greek nightmare look like a Mediterranean dream.

The post As Greece Votes on its Financial Future, African Countries Should Take Note appeared first on Ventures Africa.

Source: jobd23