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MAN, LCCI, Others Oppose Senate on BoI Scrapping



  • MAN, LCCI, Others Oppose Senate on BoI Scrapping

The plan by the Senate to repeal the Act establishing the Bank of Industry and replace it with a National Development Bank of Nigeria has been criticised by several professional groups and workers’ unions.

And if the NDBN Bill, which has passed a second reading at the Senate sails through, the development bank will have take off capital of $323m.

But the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria and the Trade Union Congress said the action would amount to waste of time and resources.

The President of MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said that the new development bank could suffer political interference in its operation, which might grossly affect the performance of its core mandate given the composition of the Board of Directors and heavy reliance on the Federal Government for funding.

Jacobs concluded that setting up another development bank would amount to a duplication of the one already inaugurated by the last administration, adding that this was a development that the country could not afford at this time.

He said, “Instead of concentrating effort on the establishment of this proposed bank, the National Assembly should assist the Executive in making operational the Development Bank of Nigeria established by the last administration in March, 2015.

“The emphasis at this time should be to increase the capital base of the BoI and the other existing DFIs for effective delivery of their mandates.”

Jacobs, who spoke with one of our correspondents, expressed concerns about changing the status of the BoI, noting that the bank was a product of merger of the defunct Nigerian Industrial Development Bank, Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry and the Nigerian Economic Reconstruction Fund in 2001.

“For all practical purposes, this merger has been consummated, and the BoI has been functioning and delivering on its mandate within the available funding capacity,” he said.

He also declared that manufacturers would not provide the funding for the proposed development bank.

Reacting to Section 16[1] of the Bill, which listed MAN as one of the possible sources of funding for the NDBN, Jacobs, in a memo made available to one of our correspondents, said, “Members of MAN are supposed to be beneficiaries. It is therefore difficult to see how they will also be part of the institutions that will provide funding for the bank.”

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry also said it “has strong reservations for the proposition in the Bill seeking to establish the NDBN.”

The Director General, LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, anchored the chambers’ position on the premise that the BoI was a product of the merger of four defunct banks, adding that since the merger being sought for had already been carried out, it would be a waste of legislative time and a distraction to all stakeholders for the process to continue.

“If the BoI Act has not been regularised, then that should be done urgently. The value of legislation lies in the spirit that drives it. The spirit of this bill is to consolidate a number of institutions into one entity for the purpose of delivering a development finance function more effectively. This has already been done as embodied in the current operations of the BoI,” he said.

The TUC agreed that the BoI was performing its assigned duties to the satisfaction of stakeholders.

The Vice-President, TUC, Olusoji Salako, advised that instead of scrapping it, the bank should be restructured if it was experiencing legal or structural issues.

Similarly, the President of the APBN, Dr. Omede Idris, at a press briefing in Abuja, after the organisation’s board meeting, said the group was opposed to the bill.

“By the track record of the BoI, merging it will be a disservice to the bank and the nation. The BoI should continue to function as a separate entity, based on its impressive performance over the years. However, it should be recapitalised, to continue to play its statutory role. The moribund NBCI and NERFUND could be liquidated,” the APBN president advised.

The group also criticised the Communication Service Tax Bill currently before the National Assembly and what he described as “multiple and unusual high taxation” by both the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Joint Tax Board.

He said, “The proposed tax focuses on the provider. There is no doubt, however, that the customer will eventually bear the pain. Any additional tax burden put on Nigerians under any guise now will inflict more pains. The APBN strongly believes in business. However, telecommunication services, which are of necessity rather than luxury, should not be subjected to such hike in tax.”

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

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Computer Village Traders Demand Refunds as Lagos State Cancels Katangowa Project



Traders at the renowned Computer Village in Lagos find themselves in a state of uncertainty following the abrupt termination of the multibillion-naira Katangowa project by the Lagos State Government.

The project, which was aimed at relocating the bustling tech market from its current site in Ikeja to the Agbado/Oke-Odo area of the state, has left traders in a state of limbo.

Despite the cancellation of the project reportedly occurring two years ago, traders claim they were not informed by either the government or the developers, Bridgeways Limited.

This lack of communication has left them in a precarious position, particularly concerning the substantial upfront payments made by some traders to the developers.

Chairman of the Computer Village Market Board, Chief Adebowale Soyebo, expressed dismay at the lack of communication from the authorities regarding the project’s termination.

He explained that neither the government nor the contractors had officially informed them of the decision, leaving traders in the dark about the fate of their investments.

Traders who had made payments to Bridgeways Limited now seek clarity on the refund process. The absence of official communication has compounded their concerns, with many uncertain about the fate of their investments.

While acknowledging the payments made by traders, Lagos State Governor’s Adviser on e-GIS and Urban Development, Dr. Olajide Babatunde, assured that the government would facilitate refunds.

He, however, said there is a need for proper identification and verification to ensure that affected traders receive their refunds accordingly.

The termination of the Katangowa project has reignited debates about the relocation of Computer Village.

Traders assert that the issue of relocation should not be raised until the new site is at least 70% completed, as per their agreement with the government.

The cancellation of the Katangowa project underscores the challenges associated with large-scale urban development projects and the importance of transparent communication between stakeholders to avoid such situations in the future.

As traders await further directives from the government, they remain hopeful for a resolution that safeguards their interests and ensures the continuity of one of Nigeria’s most prominent tech markets.

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Government Begins Disbursement of N200bn Support Fund to Manufacturers and Businesses



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The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has initiated the disbursement of the long-awaited N200 billion Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme.

This is the beginning of a vital phase in the government’s strategy to provide financial assistance to manufacturers and businesses across Nigeria.

The scheme, which is being administered through the Bank of Industry (BOI), has been divided into three categories of funding, totaling N200 billion.

The disbursement process comes after an exhaustive selection process and verification of applicants to ensure transparency and accountability in the allocation of funds.

Doris Aniete, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, announced the progress in a statement posted on the trade minister’s official X (formerly Twitter) handle.

Aniete highlighted that verified beneficiaries have already started receiving their grants, signaling the beginning of the phased disbursement strategy.

“We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. Some beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy,” stated Aniete.

She further disclosed that by Friday, April 19, a substantial number of verified applicants are set to receive significant disbursements.

However, Aniete emphasized that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants immediately, assuring that all verified applicants will eventually receive their grants in subsequent phases.

The initiation of the disbursement process comes after more than eight months since President Bola Tinubu announced the grant for manufacturers and small businesses.

The scheme aims to mitigate the adverse effects of recent economic reforms and foster sustainable economic growth by empowering businesses with financial support.

President Tinubu had outlined the government’s commitment to strengthening the manufacturing sector and creating job opportunities through the disbursement of N200 billion over a specified period.

The funding is intended to provide credit to 75 enterprises, each able to access up to N1 billion at a low-interest rate of 9% per annum.

However, the implementation of the programme has faced challenges, including delays and criticisms regarding the registration process.

Femi Egbesola, President of the Association of Small Business Owners, expressed concerns over the slow pace of data collation and suggested that genuine businesses were being discouraged from accessing the loans.

Despite the hurdles, the commencement of the disbursement process signifies a significant step forward in the government’s efforts to provide vital support to manufacturers and businesses, potentially revitalizing economic activities and driving growth across various sectors.

As beneficiaries begin to receive their grants, the impact of this initiative on the nation’s economic landscape is eagerly anticipated.

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MicroStrategy Rally Crushes Short Sellers, Wiping Out $1.92 Billion



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Short sellers betting against MicroStrategy found themselves facing significant losses as the company’s rally wiped out $1.92 billion since March.

This development comes amidst a rally that has seen MicroStrategy’s stock outperform bitcoin, causing a considerable hit to those who had taken a bearish stance on the tech firm.

According to data from S3 Partners, short sellers have been on the losing end since March, as MicroStrategy’s stock surged, highlighting the impact of the rally on those betting against the company’s success.

This loss underscores the challenges faced by short sellers in a market where certain stocks experience rapid and unexpected price increases.

The rally in MicroStrategy’s stock is attributed to several factors, including the approval of several spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier in the year.

This move by the SEC brought bitcoin, a once-nascent asset class, closer to the mainstream and fueled investor interest in companies like MicroStrategy, known for their significant holdings of the cryptocurrency.

MicroStrategy, which held nearly 190,000 bitcoin on its balance sheet as of the end of 2023, has indicated its intention to continue increasing its exposure to the digital currency.

The company’s decision to sell convertible debt to raise money for additional bitcoin purchases further bolstered investor confidence and contributed to the stock’s rally.

Analysts at BTIG noted that the premium for MicroStrategy’s stock reflects investors’ desire to gain exposure to bitcoin indirectly, especially those who may not have the means to invest directly in the cryptocurrency or ETFs.

The company’s ability to raise capital for bitcoin purchases is seen as a positive sign for shareholders, adding to the optimism surrounding its stock.

However, despite the recent rally and optimism surrounding MicroStrategy, the crypto industry as a whole continues to be heavily shorted.

Short interest in nine of the most-watched companies in the crypto space remains high, standing at 16.73% of the total number of outstanding shares, more than three times the average in the United States.

Moreover, concerns persist regarding the SEC’s stance on cryptocurrencies, with some experts suggesting that the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs may not necessarily indicate a broader acceptance of other similar products, such as spot ethereum ETFs.

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