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GCA Set to Fund SMEs in Nigeria, Others

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  • GCA Set to Fund SMEs in Nigeria, Others

Gradient Consulting Africa, an investment and business management consultancy firm operating from Europe, has concluded plans to provide financial access for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in Nigeria and the entire sub-Saharan Africa.

The Founder, GCA, Mr. Ajibade Yusuf, said in a statement on Friday that lack of funding was the bane of SME growth in Nigeria, adding that this was frustrating entrepreneurs’ efforts to build profitable ventures and provide jobs for the country’s unemployed youths.

He noted that while the big corporations could easily work out favourable loan deals with banks, the SMEs lacked the capacity, adding that dearth of fund was killing small businesses in Nigeria.

Yusuf said, “A significant percentage of the players in the Nigerian economy do not have access to capital. The first layer of the economy consists the established corporations and well-known private investors with huge resources. These organisations have access to capital through the banks and have the capacity to arrange favourable loan deals.

“The second and third layers are made up of small entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and local sole traders. However, the percentage of the first layer is quite small and not enough to stimulate and sustain economic growth. My goal is to use the GCA’s access to data and our vast network to ensure that SMEs in the second and third layers of our economy are not totally left behind in terms of funding.”

To this end, Yusuf said the GCA had built strong partnerships in the private equity, venture capital and investment funds sector that would be harnessed for the growth of SME in the country.

He stated, “Our association with key partners provides us with access to unrivalled data and analytics. This means that we are able to provide our clients with information that will assist them in making prompt investment decisions.

“In addition, we have consultants with many years’ experience in finance and data analytics. We are a diverse group of professionals with flexibility and maturity to listen and understand your needs, and provide a bespoke service with personal touch than our competitors would.”

According to Yusuf, helping SMEs is also a personal goal for him, because of the urge to give to the Nigerian society, being his root.

“I believe I have reached a point in my career where I think I need to give something back to the society, particularly going back to my root, the environment where I grew up. I certainly believe I have the technical expertise to empower people in my country (Nigeria) and across other sub-Saharan African countries,” he added.

On the motivation for the GCA’s fresh focus on SMEs, Yusuf said, “I really enjoy my profession as it provides me with the opportunity to work with like-minded people. Over the years, I have met and developed a great network of highly skilled professionals across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

“I feel empowered having known my colleagues who are in various positions, and this is part of what we are bringing to the table to help drive SME growth in Nigeria.”

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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Investment

Lagos State Government Set to Demolish $200 Million Landmark Beach Resort

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Landmark Beach

The Lagos State Government has issued a demolition warning to the proprietor of the $200 million Landmark Beach Resort, a renowned tourist destination in the region.

The resort nestled along the picturesque coastline faces imminent destruction to make way for the construction of a 700-kilometer coastal road linking Lagos with Calabar.

Paul Onwuanibe, the 58-year-old owner of the Landmark Beach Resort, revealed that he received a notice in late March instructing him to vacate the premises within seven days to facilitate the impending demolition.

The resort, which spans a vast expanse of land and hosts over 80 businesses, is a hub of economic activity, sustaining over 4,000 jobs directly. Also, it contributes more than N2 billion in taxes annually.

The news of the resort’s potential demolition has sparked concerns among investors and stakeholders in the tourism sector. Onwuanibe expressed dismay at the government’s decision, highlighting the substantial investments made in developing the resort’s infrastructure.

He explained that the planned demolition would not only lead to significant financial losses but also jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of employees and businesses associated with the resort.

The Landmark Beach Resort is a popular tourist destination, attracting approximately one million visitors annually, both local and international. Its unique amenities, including a mini-golf course, beach soccer field, and volleyball and basketball courts, make it a favorite among tourists seeking leisure and recreation.

The prospect of the resort’s demolition has triggered widespread panic among international and domestic investors associated with the Landmark Group. Many are now considering withdrawing their investments, citing concerns about the viability of the business without its flagship beach resort.

The Lagos State Government’s decision to proceed with the demolition is part of its broader plan to construct the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, a 700-kilometer roadway connecting Lagos to Calabar.

The government had earlier announced its intention to remove all “illegal” constructions along the planned route of the highway, including the Landmark Beach Resort.

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Investment

Investors Petition EFCC as Over N3 Billion Trapped in Agrorite Investment Scheme

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Agriculture - Investors King

Investors in one of Nigeria’s agritech crowdfunding platforms, Agrorite, have lodged a petition with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover more than N3 billion trapped in the company’s investment scheme.

Agrorite, which touted itself as a premier digital agricultural platform connecting smallholder farmers with finance and markets, is now at the center of a financial debacle.

The investment scheme operated by Agrorite attracted funding from eager investors who were promised returns on investments within a fixed timeframe.

However, the situation took a turn for the worse late last year when investors found themselves unable to access their funds as promised.

Despite repeated assurances from Agrorite’s founder and CEO, Toyosi Ayodele, the repayment deadlines were continually postponed until it became evident that the company had no intention of honoring its commitments.

The magnitude of the crisis became apparent as copies of the petition submitted to the EFCC revealed that investments totaling over N3 billion were trapped in Agrorite’s schemes.

Investors, including one individual who had invested N482 million in a Naira-denominated project and $100,000 in a dollar project, are now pinning their hopes on the EFCC to facilitate the recovery of their funds.

The dire consequences of the situation were tragically highlighted by the case of an elderly woman who had invested her entire pension benefit of N40 million in Agrorite.

Upon realizing that her savings might never be recovered, she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, underscoring the devastating impact on individual investors’ lives.

Efforts to reach Agrorite’s CEO for comments proved futile, with reports indicating that he had been arrested by the EFCC in connection with the investment debacle.

While some staff members confirmed the CEO’s arrest, they claimed ignorance regarding the reasons behind the company’s inability to fulfill its financial obligations to investors.

According to them, the EFCC’s investigation revealed a severe lack of funds in Agrorite’s accounts, leading to the arrest of key management personnel.

As the EFCC intensifies its efforts to recover investors’ funds, Agrorite’s website, agrorite.com, has mysteriously disappeared from the web, further fueling suspicions of financial mismanagement within the company.

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Treasury Bills Yields Reach 17.67% Amidst Central Bank’s Tightening Policy

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FG Borrows

The Treasury Bills yields rose to 17.67% amidst the Central Bank’s rigorous tightening of monetary policy.

This sharp surge in yields reflects the profound impact of the Central Bank’s efforts to rein in inflation and stabilize the foreign exchange market, though at the expense of investors and borrowers alike.

The surge in Treasury Bills yields from a modest 6.29% at the beginning of the year to 17.67% as of March 26, 2024 underscores the magnitude of the Central Bank’s tightening measures.

This unprecedented rise comes in tandem with a series of aggressive interest rate hikes with the monetary policy rate soaring by 600 basis points to 24.75% since the start of the year. Such a drastic increase in borrowing costs has sent shockwaves through the financial sector and prompted investors to reassess their portfolios and risk appetite.

Analysts attribute this surge in Treasury Bills yields to the Central Bank’s unwavering commitment to curbing inflation and stabilizing the foreign exchange market.

By raising interest rates and tightening monetary policy, the Central Bank aims to stem the tide of rising prices and restore confidence in the Nigerian economy.

However, these measures come with significant repercussions for investors and businesses, as borrowing costs escalate and investment returns diminish.

The Central Bank’s decision to issue a total of N1.64 trillion in Treasury Bills in the second quarter of 2024 further underscores its commitment to tightening liquidity and reducing inflationary pressures.

This substantial issuance of Treasury Bills is expected to absorb excess liquidity from the financial system, thereby exerting downward pressure on inflation and supporting the stability of the Nigerian currency.

While the Central Bank’s tightening policy may yield benefits in terms of price stability and exchange rate management, it poses challenges for investors and borrowers alike.

High borrowing costs and elevated Treasury Bills yields have the potential to dampen investment activity and constrain economic growth, particularly in sectors reliant on credit and financing.

As the Treasury Bills market grapples with soaring yields and heightened volatility, investors are advised to exercise caution and adopt a prudent approach to risk management.

In an environment characterized by uncertainty and policy tightening, navigating the financial markets requires a keen understanding of macroeconomic dynamics and a proactive strategy to mitigate potential risks.

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