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NEPC to Reduce Brexit Impact on Nigeria’s Exports

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  • NEPC to Reduce Brexit Impact on Nigeria’s Exports

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council is currently evaluating strategies that will enable the Federal Government to mitigate any negative impact of the planned exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Following a 2016 referendum to leave the EU, the UK government triggered the withdrawal process on March 29, 2017, setting the date for its exit from the union at April 2019.

Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at a stakeholders’ forum on Brexit organised by the council in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the NEPC Executive Director, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said that Nigeria needed to maintain a strong economic relationship with Britain in alignment with its membership of the Commonwealth.

He said there was a need for the country to take advantage of the exit of the UK from the EU to boost its exports from the current $3.7bn to $4.5bn.

He stated, “We are looking at the impact that Brexit will have on our economy; we are still trying to negotiate the European Partnership Agreement, which Nigeria and Gambia are the only countries in the Economic Community of West African States that haven’t signed; and taking that now, you have the Brexit.

“So, we are looking at the impact for us to prepare. We are the second country that the Commonwealth is doing this for. India is the first and this is very significant for us to be able to mitigate the impact of challenges that will come from Brexit.”

Awolowo added that Nigeria’s exports to the UK might be further strengthened with the new trade and investment arrangements, given that a number of the country’s professional service sectors were patterned after the UK as enough similarities existed between both countries.

The NEPC boss said there was a need to deepen the trade and investment engagements between Nigeria and the UK post-Brexit, adding that there was a range of new products and services that Nigeria could market to the UK.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Access Bank Seals Seplat Petroleum Headquarters Over Debt

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seplate to announce financial results on July 29, 2020

Access Bank Plc on Thursday sealed the building in which Seplat Corporate Headquarters is located at 16 A Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in connection to a loan Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc claimed were obtained by Cardinal Drilling Services Limited, a third party providing drilling services to Seplat.

In a statement quickly put out by Seplat, the company said while it understands that Cardinal Drilling has outstanding loan obligations to Access Bank, Seplat is not a shareholder of Cardinal Drilling, nor has outstanding loan obligations or guarantees to Access Bank.

The statement reads in part, “We understand that Cardinal Drilling has outstanding loan obligations to Access Bank. However, SEPLAT is neither a shareholder in Cardinal Drilling, nor has outstanding loan obligations or guarantees to Access Bank and did not at any time make any commitments or guarantees in respect of Cardinal Drilling’s loan obligations to Access Bank.

“SEPLAT strongly believes that there is no merit or justification for this action against it and has taken prompt legal action to vacate the court order pursuant to which the building was sealed. This action was taken by Access Bank without any prior notice to SEPLAT, as required under Nigerian law.

“SEPLAT will vigorously defend against this improper action to the full extent of the law and will seek all appropriate legal remedies.”

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COVID-19: Demand for Second Passport by High Net Worth Individuals Surges 50 Percent

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The number of high net worth individuals looking for a second international passport in order to improve their global access rose by 50 percent year-on-year, according to the latest statement from the deVere Group.

The group said national lockdowns, borders and travel restrictions have helped boost enquiries for second passports, citizenships and overseas residencies this year.

deVere Group, an independent financial advisory firm, that manages over 100,000 clients globally said demand for its residency and citizen service skyrocketed in this highly unusual year.

Most of the enquiries were from high net worth individuals from the U.S., India, South Africa, Russia, the Middle East and East Asia “who are seeking alternative options in Europe and the Commonwealth.”

According to Nigel Green, the Founder and CEO of deVere Group, “Previously, a second passport, citizenship or residency were regarded by many as the ultimate luxury item; a status symbol like yachts, supercars and original artwork.

“While this still remains the case, there’s also been a shift due to the pandemic.

“Now, second citizenship or overseas residency are increasingly becoming not just a ‘nice to have accessory’ but a ‘must have.’

“Whether it be for personal reasons, such as to remain with loved ones overseas or be able to visit them, or for business reasons, a growing number of people are seeking ways to secure their freedom of movement as they have faced travel restrictions which are, typically, based on citizenship.”

He continues: “The pandemic has served as a major catalyst for demand which skyrocketed this year. It has focused minds to secure that second passport or elite residency.

“However, the appeal for is broader than just the global Covid-19 crisis.

“Increasingly people prefer the concept of being a global citizen, rather than being solely tied to the country of their birth.

“They too value the many associated benefits including visa-free travel, world-class education, optimal healthcare, political and economic stability, reduced tax liabilities and wider business and career opportunities.”

However, nations have different criteria for granting citizenship, including time spent in the country, the ability to prove the legal source of funds and zero criminal records.

For instance, Portugal’s residency program requires just two weeks every two years of residency to gain the benefits, including the right to live, work, study and open a business there, as well as travel across the 26 countries of Europe’s Schengen area.

“More and more nations are running citizenship-by-investment programs, in which applicants invest an amount of money in a sponsoring country typically in high-end, new-build real estate developments in exchange for permanent residency, citizenship, or both,” affirms James Minns, deVere’s Head of Residency & Citizenship.

“These programmes, which high-net-worth individuals regard as invaluable insurance, are typically based on property investments that start from 250,000 EUR.”

Nigel Green concludes: “These highly unusual times have fuelled the surge in demand for second passports.

“The pandemic has brought into sharp focus what really matters to people: family, freedom and security.”

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Online Shopping Skyrockets Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

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Lagos, Tuesday 30 November 2020 – As we experience the first-ever Black Friday promotional phenomenon under lockdown, the dominance of online shopping platforms has become crystal clear.

To keep track of this development Nielsen Global Connect has conducted extensive research that includes an overarching view of the massive increase in online FMCG  shopping and just how rapidly it evolved over the first six months of lockdown.

Nielsen Connect, Global Intelligence Unit, Executive Director Ailsa Wingfield comments; “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, online FMCG shopping usage has advanced by up to five years in just six short months. As a result, there has been a rapid increase in online shopping and usage with new users, frequency and preference having skyrocketed.

Preference of online as the most-used channel has also more than doubled.

Evidence of this results from the Nielsen New Shopper Normal Study which was conducted in May 2020 allowing for powerful insight into the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on consumers, during an unprecedented time in our history.

The Nielsen study found that in terms of new Nigerian FMCG online shoppers, 29% had never shopped online. Sixty-seven per cent recently shopped online during the past week and 12% shopped most often online during the past week versus only 7% pre COVID-19. In terms of Frequency, 23% said they shopped online multiple times a week and 44% shopped once a week.

The best of both worlds

 Nielsen’s consumer and retail measurement evidence therefore clearly shows a massive and ongoing move to online, but it must be pointed out that this is not in isolation when considering the overall shopping journey. In Nigeria, two-thirds of consumers (67%) say they are now using both online and offline channels with fewer exclusive brick & mortar shoppers at 33%.

Wingfield elaborates; “Overall, consumers are shopping and buying in a mixed reality. In many instances, online shopping options are a new addition to their existing store repertoire but most consumers indicate that they will maintain a combination of online and offline – which will lead to the rise of more omnichannel shopping journeys and experiences.”

Interestingly, this adoption is even more pronounced for ‘Constrained Consumers’ – those who have been impacted by job/income loss. These consumers are less likely to be exclusive Brick & Mortar shoppers as Omni shopping is even more important to help them make better and more frugal choices.

Wingfield adds; “The challenge for retailers is that consumers want equivalent experiences regardless of the environment in which they shop. These are categorised by a seamless experience where the retailer’s online, and bricks and mortar offerings, are connected and offer a similar and familiar shopping experience.”

 Still more work to be done

In terms of the remaining obstacles for retailers to overcome and where online needs to work harder, the biggest concern for Nigerian shoppers is delivery which has emerged as the most important factor to get right. 42% of Nigerian consumers stated they wanted same/next-day delivery while 21% said they don’t want to wait when there are no slots available.

When it comes to Price & Promo perceptions, 57% of respondents said online prices had increased, while 22% perceived less online promotion and 17% said online was more expensive. That said, online price perceptions are currently more favourable than offline (brick and mortar) perceptions. They may also improve even further, following the heavy push by retailers of online-only Black Friday and year end seasonal promotions.

 Looking to the future

 Looking at how consumers’ newfound relationship with online shopping will evolve, Wingfield comments; “We saw that ‘necessity catalysts’ such as safety and precaution considerations and the availability of products initially drew consumers online, but there are still several obstacles to overcome. To sustain online FMCG traction, retailers and brands will need to focus on how they can solve consumers’ changing needs by differentiating their offerings in the Omni shopping journey.”

She goes on to suggest; “They will need to solve for overall satisfaction and experiences in the areas of time, convenience, availability and value based on consumers’ altered circumstances to truly differentiate themselves.”

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