- Operators Want FG to Float JVs Equity on NSE
Capital market operators have called on the Federal Government to dilute its equity holdings in the Joint Venture (JV) oil and gas operations in Nigeria and list some percentage of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which lists companies’ equities for daily trading.
This, they said, will relieve government of the burden of JV cash calls, estimated at $6-9billion annually, in addition to about $6.8billion in arrears for five years, which it is struggling to exit through a new funding arrangement.
Cash calls refer to the counterpart funding which the Federal Government, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), pays yearly as its 60 percent equity shareholding in various oil and gas fields operated by international oil companies (IOCs) and indigenous oil firms.
By mid-November last year, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, announced the cancellation of the JV cash calls, following approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Prior to the announcement, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, had claimed the JV cash call debt burden had been reduced to $2.5billion in 2016, and also disclosed that the exit model government is pursuing becomes effective from January 1st.
According to him, the exit model, “guarantees government most of the revenue that normally accrues to it from the joint venture operations by lifting the royalty and tax oil upfront.”
But NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, could not confirm the development when contacted by The Guardian to find out if the exit model had taken off as envisaged.
Indeed, stakeholders who spoke in a telephone interview argued that if some percentage of government’s equity in “the IOCs JVs is floated on the Exchange, the market would strategise for economic growth and facilitate capital raising and mobilise savings for huge projects and investment.”
They argued that the listing of the JV shares on the stock market will become a platform for capital formation and distribution of wealth as well as offer many Nigerian investors the opportunity to share from the profits of these companies.
Already, stakeholders had lamented that the oil and gas sectors, particularly the upstream exploration and production, are narrowly represented in the market, stressing that the stock market is currently in dire need of a broader variety of stock options.
They added that the listing of some percentage of government holdings in the IOCs would deepen the stock market and boost retail investors’ confidence and participation in the market.
For instance, the President, Institute of Capital Market Registrars (ICMR), Bayo Olugbemi, explained that listing a percentage of the equity in nation’s stock market would improve the depth of the nation’s capital market and turn around the fortunes of the market.
“Selling of government assets will definitely bring money into the National Treasury provided such income will be spent on capital project, which will bring about multiplier effect on the economy.
“As for the capital market, divestment such as this will improve the depth of our capital market and the benefits will be phenomenal and of course has the potential to turn around the fortune of the market and make it more active.”
Corroborating his assertions, the former President, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sonny Nwosu, said: “Government do not have shares in the stock exchange. What we are asking is for the demutualisation of the exchange, so that all of us will be owners of the institution. For others, we have asked for the floating of the portion of capital of these corporations bearing in mind of existence of JVC; it the right thing to do.”
The new President of ISAN, Adeniyi Adebisi, noted that across the board, shareholders have been clamoring for the deepening of the capital market.
According to him, if government can dilute its equity holdings in international oil companies and float some portions (of the equities) on the exchange, it will be providing a direct answer to the clamour.
“It has been said often that government has no business in business. If the government is holding equity for the purpose of generating revenue that will be wrong in the sense that it will be holding up itself in competition against the private sector.
“Moreover, government does not need to hold majority interest before it can control any foreign corporation as appropriate clause can be inserted to give required control. From what we know, government retains direct interest in companies not necessarily for the consideration of instilling good governance or anything of the sort, but usually to create more avenues that can provide further areas for patronage for political party supporters and cronies.
International Breweries To Train 500 Young Entrepreneurs Through Kickstart Initiative
As part of its commitment to bringing people together for a better world and its objective of delivering impactful, developmental and sustainable projects, International Breweries Plc through its social investment arm, International Breweries Foundation has launched the 6th edition of its Kickstart entrepreneurship programme recently.
The initiative is targeted at enterprise growth and development for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35.
During a media briefing to update the public on the process of this year’s edition, Managing Director, International Breweries Plc, Hugo Rocha expressed delight that the Kickstart Initiative had evolved from the regional programme it used to be, to an inclusive national programme that reaches the six geopolitical zones and 36 states of Nigeria.
“Over the years, we have held the conviction that the energy, zeal, and brilliance of the youths of Nigeria who constitute about 70 percent of the total population should be tapped and channelled to productive use. This is the logic behind Kickstart – to promote a culture of entrepreneurship among young people through training, provision of capital and mentorship,” Rocha said.
Rocha concluded his remarks on a high note, stating that, “as International Breweries celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, I am pleased that the results of a 3-year impact assessment study that we commissioned on Kickstart came out positive and gives us the confidence to continue to support young people to achieve their dream of entrepreneurship. We remain steadfast in our commitment towards the economic development of Nigeria”
Also speaking at the press conference, Chairman, Advisory Board, International Breweries Foundation, Peter Bamkole explained that International Breweries Plc and its foundation is dedicated to continuing to contribute its quota towards tackling the twin challenges of unemployment and poverty while promoting Decent Work and Economic Growth in line with Goad 8 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDGs).
“By creating Kickstart, International Breweries Foundation set out to be the nursery of innovation in a business where budding enterprise managers are groomed—held by the hand and taken through the rigour of entrepreneurial work. We aim to produce well-rounded entrepreneurs who understand and are prepared to put in the work it takes to do business successfully in a unique climate like ours.” Bamkole said.
Over the past five years, the Kickstart initiative has provided training, mentoring, and seed capital of N325,136 million (in total) for 274 grantees; 708 direct beneficiaries and 2,832 indirect beneficiaries across a wide range of business sectors; with the result of the creation of about 571 jobs and 1,392 new jobs projected across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
Speaking on the mechanics of the award, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, International Breweries Plc, Temitope Oguntokun revealed that the award is in three phases: the application phase, the training phase and the pitch fest phase which is the final selection of grantees by judges.
She explained that the Kickstart Initiative will be incorporating an expansive training module that will train 500 young entrepreneurs online, with a number of them going into the bootcamp. This year’s edition also features a streamlined search for entrepreneurs into Agriculture, Modular Retailing, Circular Packaging (Recycling), Technology, and Renewable Energy sectors.
“After a transparent selection process on the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) platform via the link, https://reg.smetoolkit.ng/program-apply/kickstart-nigeria-2021, which will open on the 20th of May, successful applicants will be equipped with critical skills and training on entrepreneurship by experienced entrepreneurs and corporate professionals during a 2-day boot camp. They will partake at the pitch fest where a panel of judges will appraise their proposals before final selection. Winners of the pitch fest will then be awarded grants at the awards ceremony in Lagos,” Oguntokun noted.
The press launch which held last week in Lagos had in attendance dignitaries such as the Director for Employment, Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Iyabo Seriki-Bello, Director of Partnerships and Coordination for Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria; Dr Friday Okpara; Chairman, Advisory Board, International Breweries Foundation, Mr Peter Bamkole; members of the International Breweries team, past Kickstart Alumni, mentors and a host of others joining online.
Following its trajectory of success, impact over the years, and its extensive yet immersive plans for the 6th edition, Kickstart, under the auspices of International Breweries and its foundation is geared towards transforming Nigeria into an economic powerhouse through the impact of entrepreneurship.
More and More Under 30s Seeking Financial Advice
A growing number of under 30s are seeking financial advice, according to data released by one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.
deVere Group has revealed that there has been a 54% year-on-year jump in the number of enquiries from potential clients under the age of 30 who are seeking to work with a professional adviser to devise and implement a financial planning strategy.
Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comments: “The sharp increase in the number of under 30s seeking out advice, once again, debunks the myth that younger generations are not interested in building a plan for their long-term financial security.
“It would be a reasonable assumption to make that the year-on-year increase has been largely driven by the pandemic.
“It has brought into all-too-real focus how things can quickly change, how important it is to have a back-up/emergency plan, and value more than ever what really matters to them. For most, this includes ensuring that they can enjoy the opportunities and lifestyle that they desire.”
In March this year, a deVere poll of 450 clients found that seven out of 10 people will not splurge excessive savings accumulated over the pandemic.
When asked ‘Are you likely to spend the majority of the extra money you have managed to save over the last 12 months?’ 72% responded ‘no’, 16% said ‘yes’ and 12% ‘did not know.’
Mr Green continues: “Whilst it’s a fool’s game to generalise about any given cohort, anecdotally, our advisers who are working with the under 30s report that there are some definite trends.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than other generations, the under 30s – who are ‘digital natives’ having grown up under the ubiquitous influence of the internet and other technologies – demand digital solutions such as fintech apps alongside their personalised financial advice.
“This gives them immediate, on-the-go, low-cost access to, use and management of their money.”
Another trend, says the deVere CEO, is impactful saving and investing.
“Our advisers say that, typically, younger people want to use their savings and their investments not only to improve their own lifestyles but for the betterment of their communities and the environments.
“Having more control over their financial affairs is a critical part of their wider activism on issues such as human rights and climate change.”
Mr Green concludes: “Perhaps more than ever, the under 30s are showing a desire to be financially resilient and put their long-term financial goals at the heart of their decision-making process.
“I believe that this ‘think about tomorrow first’ attitude is likely to be a permanent phenomenon due to recent seismic cultural, social and economic shifts.”
Econet Group and Mastercard To Collaborate on Fintech Solutions For Covid-19 Response in Africa
The Econet Group through its subsidiary Cassava Fintech International (Cassava Fintech) and Mastercard have entered into a strategic partnership to advance digital inclusion across Africa and collaborate on a range of initiatives including expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.
TravelPass is a digital health pass developed by Cassava Fintech and offered in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). It is accessible to users of Cassava Fintech’s Sasai SuperApp and is recognised as one of the leading initiatives in the fight against the cross-border spread of Covid-19 in Africa. Mastercard is partnering with Cassava Fintech to enhance the security of TravelPass through Mastercard’s Community Pass platform. Mastercard Community Pass is an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalised individuals and communities, including access to critical health services like patient care plan tracking for Covid-19.
The joint initiative between Mastercard and Cassava Fintech seeks to offer a unified solution with greater convenience and enhanced security, that is expected to promote safe cross border travel in Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership will also allow the two organizations to explore collaboration such as the further integration of the Community Pass with Cassava Fintech’s mobile and financial services, acquiring and processing of card payments across the continent, along with the introduction of a virtual or physical card on the Sasai SuperApp.
Cassava Fintech’s CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said the partnership with Mastercard would pave the way for both companies to jointly tackle the challenges facing African economies as they re-open post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited to work with Mastercard to explore solutions that will, among other things, mitigate the risk of falsified presentation of a third party’s Travel Pass at access and transit points,” Mandivenga said, adding that the same technology could also be used in payment solutions.
Cassava Fintech uses an integrated model to provide financial and digital services to ensure a “financially inclusive future that leaves no African behind”.
“We look forward to joining hands with Cassava Fintech in exploring new solutions that will make a difference and benefit the continent. In addition to digital innovation for future travel, Cassava will also leverage our secure payments network to advance access to financial services,” said Mark Elliott, Divisional President, Southern Africa, Mastercard.
Mastercard is a leading global technology company focused on building an inclusive, sustainable digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.
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