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CBN Allows Start-Ups Borrow From N220bn MSME Fund

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reviewed the guidelines for the N220 billion Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Fund to allow new businesses (start-ups) borrow from the fund.

The CBN also said that banks and other finance institutions that lends to business start-ups under the fund will be allowed to access the fund at zero interest rate.

This was contained in the Revised Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) Guidelines issued yesterday by the Development Finance department of the CBN.

Previously, only existing businesses can borrow from the fund through their banks. The new guidelines however removed this limitation stating, “Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) are required to fund start-up projects under the MSMEDF. To encourage Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), some incentives shall apply.

“PFIs are expected to accept charge on fixed and floating assets of the financed projects as collateral for start-ups. Collateral requirement from start-ups by PFIs (DMBs and DFIs) shall be educational certificates such as SSCE, National Diploma (ND), National Certificate of Education (NCE), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), Higher National Diploma (HND), University degree (NYSC Certificate where applicable) and a guarantor.

“The start-ups to access the MSMEDF must present their Bank Verification Number (BVN). Venture Capital Firms (VCFs) that wish to finance start-ups in form of equity participation shall be eligible to access the MSMEDF at 2.0 percent for investment in start-up projects. The collateral for such facility to the VCF shall be bank guarantee.

“Incentive shall be offered to PFIs that repay loans as at when due. a) Start-Ups (i) DMBs/DFIs playing in this space, shall access MSMEDF facility at zero percent interest for on-lending at 9.0 percent (all-inclusive) to start-ups. (ii) The PFIs shall qualify for a 50 percent risk shared on the net outstanding balance in the case of default. b) Other Incentives Microfinance Banks with PAR of 10 percent and below shall be exempted from providing financial assets as collateral to access facility under the MSMEDF.”

In addition to the above, the CBN also reduced interest rate it charges PFIs accessing the loan from 3.0 percent to 2.0 percent. It stated, “Interest Rates All PFIs shall access funds at an interest rate of 2.0 percent per annum and on lend at 9.0 percent per annum inclusive of all charges. The interest rate chargeable under the MSMEDF may be reviewed by the Central Bank of Nigeria from time to time.”

The decision to allow business start-ups borrow from the fund is aimed at boosting graduate employment by encouraging banks to lend to graduates intending to set up businesses.

Recall that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele while addressing the just concluded 7th annual Banker Committee Retreat had announced that the apex bank would soon introduce measures to generate one million graduate employments.

He said, “In 2016, the CBN is contemplating a programme that would support SMEs at concessionary pricing to our young graduates. We need to get more people to be employed. The central bank would over the next few weeks work out the initiative to create employment for at least one million graduates in Nigeria in 2016. That would entail the support from Nigerian banks and our development partners.”

Vanguardng

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Finance

Presidential Committee to Exempt 95% of Informal Sector from Taxes

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The Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee (PFPTRC) has unveiled plans to exempt a significant portion of the informal sector from taxation.

Chaired by Taiwo Oyedele, the committee aims to alleviate the burden of multiple taxation on small businesses and low-income individuals while fostering economic growth.

The announcement came following the close-out retreat of the PFPTRC in Abuja, where Oyedele addressed reporters over the weekend.

He said the committee is committed to easing the tax burden, particularly for those operating within the informal sector that constitutes a substantial portion of Nigeria’s economy.

Under the proposed reforms, approximately 95% of the informal sector would be granted tax exemptions, sparing them from obligations such as income tax and value-added tax (VAT).

Oyedele stressed the importance of supporting individuals in the informal sector and recognizing their efforts to earn a legitimate living and their contribution to economic development.

The decision was informed by extensive deliberations and data analysis with the committee advocating for a fairer and more equitable tax system.

Oyedele highlighted that individuals earning up to N25 million annually would be exempted from various taxes, aligning with the committee’s commitment to relieving financial pressure on small businesses and low-income earners.

Moreover, the committee emphasized the need for tax reforms to address the prevailing issue of multiple taxation, which disproportionately affects small businesses and the vulnerable population.

By exempting the majority of the informal sector from taxation, the committee aims to stimulate economic growth and promote entrepreneurship.

The proposal for tax reforms is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly by the third quarter of this year, following consultations with the private sector and internal approvals.

The reforms encompass a broad range of measures, including executive orders, regulations, and constitutional amendments, aimed at creating a more conducive environment for business and investment.

In addition to tax exemptions, the committee plans to introduce executive orders and regulations to streamline tax processes and enhance compliance. This includes a new withholding tax regulation exempting small businesses from certain tax obligations, pending ministerial approval.

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CBN Governor Vows to Tackle High Inflation, Signals Prolonged High Interest Rates

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Olayemi Cardoso, has pledged to employ decisive measures, including maintaining high interest rates for as long as necessary.

This announcement comes amidst growing concerns over the country’s soaring inflation rates, which have posed significant economic challenges in recent times.

Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, Cardoso emphasized the unwavering commitment of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to take whatever steps are essential to rein in inflation.

He underscored the urgency of the situation, stating that there is “every indication” that the MPC is prepared to implement stringent measures to curb the upward trajectory of inflation.

“They will continue to do what has to be done to ensure that inflation comes down,” Cardoso affirmed, highlighting the determination of the CBN to confront the inflationary pressures gripping the economy.

The CBN’s proactive stance on inflation was evident from the outset of the year, with the MPC taking bold steps to tighten monetary policy.

The committee notably raised the benchmark lending rate by 400 basis points during its February meeting, further increasing it to 24.75% in March.

Looking ahead, the next MPC meeting, scheduled for May 20-21, will likely serve as a platform for further deliberations on monetary policy adjustments in response to evolving economic conditions.

Financial analysts have projected continued tightening measures by the MPC in light of stubbornly high inflation rates. Meristem Securities, for instance, anticipates a further uptick in headline inflation for April, underscoring the persistent inflationary pressures facing the economy.

Despite the necessity of maintaining high interest rates to address inflationary concerns, Cardoso acknowledged the potential drawbacks of such measures.

He expressed hope that the prolonged high rates would not dampen investment and production activities in the economy, recognizing the need for a delicate balance in monetary policy decisions.

“Hiking interest rates obviously has had a dampening effect on the foreign exchange market, so that has begun to moderate,” Cardoso remarked, highlighting the multifaceted impacts of monetary policy adjustments.

Addressing recent fluctuations in the value of the naira, Cardoso reassured investors of the central bank’s commitment to market stability.

He emphasized the importance of returning to orthodox monetary policies, signaling a departure from previous unconventional approaches to monetary management.

As the CBN governor charts a course towards stabilizing the economy and combating inflation, his steadfast resolve underscores the gravity of the challenges facing Nigeria’s monetary authorities.

In the face of daunting inflationary pressures, the commitment to decisive action offers a glimmer of hope for achieving stability and sustainable economic growth in the country.

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Banking Sector

NDIC Managing Director Reveals: Only 25% of Customers’ Deposits Insured

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The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Bello Hassan, has revealed that a mere 25% of customers’ deposits are insured by the corporation.

This revelation has sparked concerns about the vulnerability of depositors’ funds and raised questions about the adequacy of regulatory safeguards in Nigeria’s banking sector.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2024 Sensitisation Seminar for justices of the court of appeal in Lagos, themed ‘Building Strong Depositors Confidence in Banks and Other Financial Institutions through Adjudication,’ Hassan shed light on the limited coverage of deposit insurance for bank customers.

Hassan addressed recent concerns surrounding the hike in deposit insurance coverage and emphasized the need for periodic reviews to ensure adequacy and credibility.

He explained that the decision to increase deposit insurance limits was based on various factors, including the average deposit size, inflation impact, GDP per capita, and exchange rate fluctuations.

Despite the coverage extending to approximately 98% of depositors, Hassan underscored the critical gap between the number of depositors covered and the value of deposits insured.

He stressed that while nearly all depositors are accounted for, only a quarter of the total value of deposits is protected, leaving a significant portion of funds vulnerable to risk.

“The coverage is just 25% of the total value of the deposits,” Hassan affirmed, highlighting the disparity between the number of depositors covered and the actual value of deposits within the banking system.

Moreover, Hassan addressed concerns about moral hazard, emphasizing that the presence of uninsured deposits would incentivize banks to exercise market discipline and mitigate risks associated with reckless behavior.

“The quantum of deposits not covered will enable banks to exercise market discipline and eliminate the issue of moral hazards,” Hassan stated, suggesting that the lack of full coverage serves as a safeguard against irresponsible banking practices.

However, Hassan’s revelations have prompted calls for greater regulatory oversight and transparency within Nigeria’s financial institutions. Critics argue that the current level of deposit insurance falls short of providing adequate protection for depositors, especially in the event of bank failures or financial crises.

The disclosure comes amid ongoing efforts by regulatory authorities to bolster depositor confidence and strengthen the resilience of the banking sector. With concerns mounting over the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, stakeholders are urging for proactive measures to address vulnerabilities and enhance consumer protection.

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