- Nigeria’s Evolving E-commerce and Diversification Drive
Electronic commerce, commonly called e-commerce, is the trading or facilitation of trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet or online social networks.
It has been a strong catalyst for economic development in Nigeria- led to the creation of jobs; boosted productivity; hugely reduced the cost of doing business; and provided access to new markets.
For consumers, it has made more goods available at competitive prices, leading to significant gains in the general standard of living. It has also added convenience, because a click of the button in the comfort of the bedroom will cause a delivery at the doorstep. Yet, many others have benefitted from the initiative.
Of course, the Deposit Money Banks have played an essential supporting role in the country’s burgeoning e-commerce industry, which has indeed been the toast of both local and foreign investment.
It has helped local technology companies thrive, as well as enabled global technology players from Silicon Valley to Europe looking to capitalise on Nigeria’s large population and its potential as a hub on the African continent, to successfully operate.
The contribution of the banking sector to e-commerce has taken several forms. Firstly, as financial institutions, they have provided the technology infrastructure critical to the flow of payments to and from the agents participating in e-commerce.
The backbone of e-commerce is payments, and as e-commerce continues to grow, and online transactions soar, users should rely more on the robustness, security and convenience that this financial infrastructure provides. E-commerce is only able to grow when ease, convenience, and security is ensured.
Due to the efforts of deposit money banks in ensuring safety and trust, the inhibitive fear customers have in conducting online transactions has been significantly allayed, leading to the inclusion of more users and the expansion of the e-commerce ecosystem.
Promotion of activities
Additionally, deposit money banks have supported organisations in leveraging e-commerce technology to engage with their customers. Stemming from their industry experience, banks have assisted businesses in adopting e-commerce in their delivery of goods and services, especially in setting up the infrastructure and payment capabilities for them to successfully engage in e-commerce, thereby enabling such clients receive payments efficiently for the goods and services they offer.
Due to this vital support, customers are conveniently able to pay for services such as electricity and water bills, Internet and cable subscriptions; airline and cinema tickets; even financial services like insurance and payment of taxes from the comfort of their homes.
Some of the benefits that businesses have gained from implementation of e-commerce are increased revenue as they are better able to reach more customers, achieve higher customer satisfaction, cost reduction, and overall improvement in efficiency.
Deposit money banks have contributed to the growth of e-commerce by gradually pulling customers away from offline branch banking onto online banking, which includes e-payments and mobile transfers. By encouraging the use of payment technologies, and offering more of their products digitally, banks are discouraging customers from standing in long queues, thereby ensuring their convenience.
Apart from the infrastructural role that banks have had to play in the sector, they have also continued to provide their traditional services to players in the sector such as financing support to e-commerce enterprises in the form of working capital, financing for expansion, among others.
Some of the higher profile funding support includes Access bank’s assistance to Uber’s expansion drive in Nigeria. Access bank established a financing scheme in conjunction with KIA motors and Hyundai to grow Uber’s footprint by increasing its drivers by as much as fivefold. First bank also pushed this drive forward by helping drivers acquire used cars at relatively low interest rates.
Jumia Nigeria also partnered with First bank to set up a consumer finance scheme, where customers can purchase items on credit from the online retailer through a First Bank Naira Credit Card.
Konga likewise partnered with One credit, a Nigerian micro-finance bank to launch the “Buy Now Pay Later” scheme, an affordable consumer credit facility that enables customers pay for online purchases in equal monthly installments.
GT Bank also recently launched “The SME MarketHub”; an e-commerce portal for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). The portal is designed to enable Nigerian entrepreneurs migrate their businesses online and take advantage of the vast international and local sales opportunities within this space.
Fidelity Bank also recently launched The Fidelity GreenMall, an online marketplace with fully integrated e-commerce capabilities for online payments, delivery logistics, advertising, and business networking opportunities, amongst others.
Deposit money banks have been greatly instrumental in enhancing financial inclusion in the economy. With the use of internet enabled mobile phones and SMS (leveraging the telecoms sector), mobile devices are increasingly being used for financial services in Nigeria, thereby making it possible for customers to conduct financial transactions using these channels.
As more bank customers become financially included and access banking products through digital and mobile platforms, they become more amenable to e-commerce, thereby expanding it further.
• This article, written by the Bankers Committee of Nigeria, is the fifth in a series, focused on raising awareness around Nigerian banks’ efforts and most importantly educating the public on opportunities available to them to foster their active participation in our nation’s diversification efforts.
SEC To Ban Unregistered CMOs From Operating By Month End
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it will stop operations of Capital Market Operators (CMOs) that are yet to renew their registration on May 31, 2021.
This was contained in a circular signed by the management of SEC in Abuja on Monday.
On March 23, SEC had informed the general public and CMOs on the reintroduction of the periodic renewal of registration by operators.
The commission noted that the reintroduction of the registration renewal was due to the need to have a reliable data bank of all the CMOs registered and active in the country’s capital market.
“To provide updated information on operators in the Nigerian Capital Market for reference and other official purposes by local and foreign investors, other regulatory agencies and the general public, to increasingly reduce incidences of unethical practices by CMOs such as may affect investors’ confidence and impact negatively on the Nigerian Capital Market and to strengthen supervision and monitoring of CMOs by the Commission,” SEC explained.
According to the circular, the commission said CMOs yet to renew their registration at the expiration of late filing on May 31, would not be eligible to operate in the capital market.
It explained that CMOs were required to have completed the renewal process on or before April 30, however, the commission said late filing for renewal of registration would only be entertained from May 1 to May 31.
SEC also said that asides from barring the CMOs who failed to comply accordingly, their names would be published on its website and national dailies.
It added that names of eligible CMOs would be communicated to the relevant securities exchanges and trade associations.
A Threat to Revenue As Nigeria’s Largest Importer of Crude, India slash Imports By $39.5B
Nigeria’s revenue earning capacity has come under threat following the reduction of importation of crude oil by India.
India, Nigeria’s largest crude oil importer, reduced crude oil imports by $39.5bn in April, compared to the same time the previous year, data from India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell showed.
According to the Indian High Commission in Nigeria, India’s crude oil imports from Nigeria in 2020 amounted to $10.03bn.
This represented 17 percent of Nigeria’s total crude exports for the year according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, as quoted by OilPrice.com.
As Nigeria’s largest importer of crude oil, lockdowns in India’s major cities from the COVID-19 surge in April had ripple effects on Nigeria’s oil sales.
The NNPC was prompted to drop the official standard price of its main export streams, Bonny Light, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe, by 61-62 cents per barrel below its April 2021 prices. They traded at $0.9, $0.8, $0.65, $0.97 per barrel respectively, below dated Brent, the international benchmark, as Oilprice.com showed.
India had been buying the not-too-light and not-too-heavy Nigerian crudes that suited its refiners.
Reuters reported that the Indian Oil Corporation’s owned refineries were operating at 95 percent capacity in April, down from 100 percent at the same time the previous month.
An official at the IOC was quoted as saying, “If cases continue to rise and curbs are intensified, we may see cuts in refinery runs and lower demand after a month.” Hundreds of seafarers risked being stuck at sea beyond the expiry of their contracts, a large independent crude ship owner reportedly told Bloomberg.
India reportedly bought more American and Canadian oil at the expense of Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to around 2.86 million barrels per day.
This squeezed the group’s share of imports to 72 percent from around 80 percent previously, as India’s refiners were diversifying purchases to boost margins, according to Reuters.
India also plans to increase local crude oil production and reduce import expenses as its population swells, according to Bloomberg.
A deregulation plan by the Narendra Modi-led government to boost national production to 40 million tonnes of crude oil by 2023/2024, an increase of almost eight million tonnes, had already been initiated.
According to Business Today, an Indian paper, the country currently imports 82 percent of its oil needs, which amounted to $87bn in 2019.
Invest Africa and DLA Piper Partner to Support ESG Best Practice in African Renewable Energy Projects
The global law firm, DLA Piper, has partnered with Invest Africa, the leading trade and investment platform for African markets, to support the development of ESG best practice in African renewable energy projects.
Clear Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets and measurements have become an increasingly important part of fundraising as investors seek to align their portfolios with sustainable growth. For a continent boasting ample natural resources, this presents a significant opportunity for Africa’s green energy sector. However, renewable does not always equal sustainable and developing and articulating ESG metrics can pose a significant challenge to projects as they prepare investment rounds.
The project will assemble experts from the worlds of impact investment, development finance and law. Across a series of online meetings, participants will discuss strategies to improve ESG practices in African renewable projects from both a fundraising and operational perspective.
Amongst those speaking in the inaugural session on Thursday 13th May are Cathy Oxby, Chief Commercial Officer, Africa Greenco, Dr. Valeria Biurrun-Zaumm, Senior Investment Manager, DEG, Orli Arav, Managing Director – Facility For Energy Inclusion (FEI) – Lion’s Head Global Partners, Beatrice Nyabira, Partner, DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM Advocates) and Natasha Luther-Jones, Partner, Global Co-Chair of Energy and Natural Resources, International Co-Head, Sustainability and ESG, DLA Piper.
Veronica Bolton-Smith, COO of Invest Africa said, “Africa is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change despite contributing very little to global emissions. As the price of renewables fall, they will form an ever more important part of Africa’s electrification. In this context, it is essential that projects be given the tools to apply best practice in ESG not only from an environmental perspective but also in terms of good governance, fair working conditions and contribution to social inclusion. I look forward to working closely with DLA Piper on this important topic.”
Natasha Luther-Jones, Global Co-Chair Energy and Natural Resources and International Co-Head Sustainability and ESG at DLA Piper also commented, “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges companies, and people, face today and when we look at its reduction – whether that be in how we power our devices, what we eat or how we dress, where we live or how we work – all roads come back to the need to increase the amount of accessible, and affordable, clean energy. However, renewable energy companies are not automatically sustainable as sustainability is a focus on all ESG factors, not just environmental. We know the need for renewable energy is only going to continue to rise, and therefore so will the number and size of renewable energy companies. The additional challenge is to make sure they are truly sustainable organisations and that’s what we’re excited about discussing during the webinar.”
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