- BoI Set to Empower 110,000 SMEs
The Bank of Industry (BoI) announced on Wednesday that it would empower 110,000 Small and Medium Enterprises in the North East with N2.4 billion as part of its tactics to reduce poverty in the region.
The six North-East states to benefit from the empowerment programme are; Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba.
Chairman of the Bank, Aliyu Dikko, made this announcement in Abuja at a BoI forum which centered on discussions on investment in communities affected by Boko Haram. He added that the effect of the crisis in the region has made it imperative for the bank to come up with a North East rehabilitation fund; adding that fund would support development in the region following the aftermath of the attacks.
Dikko said that he hoped the intervention fund would help transform the region as it would support businesses with zero capital; adding that it was created under the framework of the TraderMoni initiative.
He also said that the human, social and economic losses to the insurgency and the investments need for recovery, peace and building of the North-East was overwhelming.
According to Dikko, in addition to significant inflation, loss of job prospects as well as the overall psychological impact of the crisis, the region had suffered a loss of about N1.66 trillion through the destruction of education and health facilities, markets and farms plus infrastructure.
He said, “Given our mandate to stimulate economic growth and sustainable industrial development, Bank of Industry has embarked on an economic revival plan for the North-East region. Our objective is to stem the spate of poverty and reduce the reliance of the indigenes on humanitarian aid.
“In the last four years, the bank has provided financial support amounting to N678bn to over two million enterprises across the country, creating over five million jobs.
“A major part of these jobs was created using the TraderMoni model which is a Federal Government scheme targeted at micro-businesses particularly petty traders.”
In her remarks, the Executive Director, Micro Enterprises, BoI, Toyin Adeniji, stated that through the North-East fund, the bank had committed N2.4bn worth of intervention fund to support businesses in the region with easily accessible, collateral-free, zero-interest loans.
The ExecutiveDirector, Micro Enterprises, Toyin Adeniji, in her speech noted that the bank that infused intervention funds valued at N2.4 billion with easily accessible, collateral free and zero-interest loans, to help businesses in the North-East.
FEC Approves N20.1bn to Equip Customs Equipment
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a total of N20,114,002871 for the acquisition of various operational equipment for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after the week’s virtual FEC meeting presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister said further that Council also approved the sum of N539,277, 673 for construction of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) building at the Ilupeju Medium and Small Taxpayers’ office.
Speaking on the contracts approved for Customs, the Minister said a total of 427 operational vehicles, worth N14.55 billion and nine assorted gunboats worth N5,564,002,871 were all approved.
“The ministry also presented, on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, a memo that was seeking for Council’s approval for the design, construction and supply of two NC36M patrol boats, in favour of Messrs of Boat Plus Limited, in the sum of N5,062,530,400, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of 12 months and council approved our request.
“We also presented a memo, again on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, for the approval of Council for the design, construction and supply of seven fast assault patrol boats and seven regular patrol boats, in favour of Messrs Siwa West Africa Limited, in the sum of N501,472,471.08, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of eight weeks.
“The purpose of the purchase of these two types of petrol boats is to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of operations of the Nigerian Customs Service in its bid to control smuggling and also ensure enhanced efficiency in all customs duty operations in the Marine Unit of the Nigerian Customs Service.
“We also presented, again on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, a request for Council’s approval and council approved the procurement of 427 operational vehicles for the Nigerian Customs Service operations in favour of various contractors in the combined sum of N14.55 billion, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a delivery period of four weeks”, she said.
Also addressing State House Correspondents after the meeting, Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said Council approved a project for the extension of the University of Ibadan’s library at the sum of N532 million.
“The Minister of Education also presented a memo for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the library of the University of Ibadan. The memo, which was approved, is at the cost of N532,609,000 and with a completion period of 48 weeks.
“It was a memo that was very well received because of the need to actually extend the library facility in the University. For many years, the library of the University of Ibadan had needed real extension, given the surge of the student population”, he said.
NAIC Pays N1.7bn Claims to Farmers
The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) said it paid a total of N1.7 billion claims to over 5,000 farmers in the past two years.
NAIC, which is the only federal government owned insurance company authorised to offer agric insurance services to farmers at subsidised rate, said a breakdown of the paid claims showed that it paid N856 million to insured farmers in 2019 and N848 million in 2020.
Commenting on the development, NAIC Managing Director, Mrs. Folashade Joseph, said the claims were paid to the farmers to cover losses incurred in the course of doing business.
Joseph, enjoined agricultural investors and lending institutions to continue to partner NAIC by taking agricultural insurance cover that will enable them remain firm in business despite unforeseen circumstances from weather conditions and other risks in order to realise the food security agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.
She said the above-mentioned amount was shared among five million farmers who suffered various setbacks in their farms as a result of natural course.
According to her, the NAIC Agric Insurance Scheme was launched in 1987 by federal government to restore the confidence and productivity of Nigerian farmers who suffered losses as a result of natural disaster such as flood, drought, pest and diseases.
The NAIC boss explained that the essence of the sensitisation campaign embarked by the corporation was to let the farmers know and understand exactly what NAIC does, the importance of insurance, and make them understand how insurance works, how they can access NAIC products and services, how to process their claims, as well as what insurance stands to do for them.
“Agribusiness is evolving fast and so many risks are being thrown up, many new participants are coming into the business of agriculture, and the risks are on the increase if you look at them across the value chain, there is no so many participants so we need to keep sensitising the farmers and let them know we are serving them, and we need to know from them how to serve them,” she explained.
Speaking further, she said, “our assurance to farmers is that when they are insured and they suffer losses covered by any of the policies they purchased, including natural disasters and whatever, they will get paid for their losses, and that is the purpose of insurance and setting up NAIC.
“Our motor is ‘Plowing the Farmer Back to Business, Plowing the Farmers into Prosperity’, and we settle claims.”
She said NAIC currently deals with thousands of farmers (Small, Medium, and Large scale farmers) across the country, adding that the corporation serves farmers with investment as little as N100, 000, and at the same time serves multinational farmers.
UBA Organises Capacity Building Forum
As part of its commitment to support the growth and sustainability of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSME) in the continent, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to organise the next edition of its UBA Business Series.
The UBA Business Series which is a monthly event, is an MSME Workshop as well as a capacity building initiative of the bank where business leaders and professionals share well-researched insights on best practices for running successful businesses, especially in the face of the difficult operating environment that dominates the African business landscape.
Through this initiative, UBA has been assisting with essential tips to help businesses re-examine their models and strategies and ensure that they stay afloat and remain thriving, a statement from the bank explained.
The topic for the next edition of the series is, “Managing Performance for Business Growth,” and it will be held today, via Microsoft Teams.
At this session, the Managing Director, Secure ID Limited, Mrs Kofo Akinkugbe, will be sharing useful tips and insights on the key strategies of performance management to boost business growth.
Akinkugbe is the founder of SecureID Nigeria, a MasterCard, VISA and Verve certified Smartcard Personalization Bureau and Digital Technology company. She currently serves as the Managing Director/CEO, Secure Card Manufacturing, – a Smartcard manufacturing plant producing high security identity cards and documents for the Banking, Telecoms and Public sectors across Africa and beyond.
UBA’s Head, SME Banking, Sampson Aneke said of Akinkugbe, “with her vast experience garnered over the years from various sectors, she will help business owners understand how performance management strategies can be effectively implemented to ensure business growth.”
He emphasised UBA’s commitment and deep passion for small businesses, which according to him, remains the engine of any developing economy adding, “We know small businesses are the backbone of the economy in every country. In many climes, businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2 per cent of all businesses. This no doubt captures the importance of SMEs to a thriving economy which is why UBA is committed to seeing them flourish.”
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