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FIRS Board Dissolves Staff Union

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The Board of the Federal Inland Revenue Service has dissolved the Nigeria Civil Service Union, FIRS Unit.

Mr. Abdullahi Ahmad, the FIRS Director, Communications and Liaison Department made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

Ahmad explained that the union whose executives were purportedly made up of the senior staff of FIRS was dissolved in an official announcement circulated to all staff.

“In line with Gazette No. 6 Vol 65 dated February 8, 1978, and National Industrial Court Judgement dated June 27, 1995, it is noted that the operations of Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) FIRS Unit as it is constituted today in FIRS is considered illegal.

“There are no longer any junior staff cadre employees in the service. There is accordingly no legal or other bases whatsoever for the continued existence of a junior staff cadre union in FIRS as the cadre of staff it is deemed to cover does not exist within the organisation.

“A letter from Federal Ministry of Labour to the Head of Service of the Federation dated 19th February 2015 confirmed the above position in categorical terms.

“The statement further clarified that the right of workers to decide which union to belong is not absolute but must be exercised within the limits of Trade Unions Act CAP T14 LFN 2004.

“This position was confirmed in the Judgment of the National Industrial Court – NCSU vs ASCSN (2004) 1NLLR Part 3, 427.

“In the light of all the above, The FIRS Board at its Meeting No. 30 held on the 24th June, 2021 therefore directed that, in view of items 1 & 2 above, the activities of NCSU FIRS Unit in the Service are henceforth considered illegal.

“And the Union (NCSU FIRS Unit) is hereby proscribed with immediate effect” he explained.

The spokesperson said the management also assured staff that it was unreservedly willing to work and cooperate with the only legitimate representatives of staff.

He said the management however urged the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria to redouble its effort in executing the FIRS mandate of assessing, collecting and accounting for tax revenue for all levels of government as contained in the FIRS Establishment Act (2007).

(NAN)

Merger and Acquisition

Nigerian Retail-Tech Startup Alerzo Acquires Shago Payments To Boost Growth

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Alerzo, a Nigerian retail-tech startup has acquired fintech company Shago Payments to boost growth. The acquisition of Shago payments will enable the integration of Shago into the company’s payments arm, AlerzoPay.

The new development will provide the informal retail stores access to new digital services such as mobile airtime top-up, bill payments and peer-to-peer transfers.

Founded in 2019, the Ibadan-based retail-tech startup, Alerzo, is an all-in-one technology and services platform that transforms how Nigeria’s informal retail stores operate. Retailers can order stock, have it delivered quickly, receive and make cashless payments, and track store profitability. Alerzo currently works with more than 150,000 informal retail stores.

The startup announced a US$10.5 million Series A round, led by London-based Nosara Capital, in August, and since then has more than doubled its revenues and built a payments business. The latter was facilitated by the recent acquisition of Shago Payments, a fintech startup founded by payments industry veteran Sabastine Enechi.

Alerzo has also expanded its operations to the Middle Belt and Northern regions of Nigeria and now operates in Abuja and Kano. The company plans to serve most of Nigeria before the end of next year.

Alerzo Founded by Adewale Opaleye, said he created the company to meet a core need that his mother, a businesswoman, had at the time.

“I started Alerzo to help my mom, a single mother who ran two informal retail stores to support me and my three siblings. Before Alerzo, she had to close her shop and travel for hours to buy the inventory to stay in business.

“Women are often victims of theft because street boys know retail store operators often carry cash. I wanted to apply what I learned in China to make life better for working mothers in Nigeria.” He said.

Today, Alezo one of the fastest-growing startups in Nigeria, announced that its annualized September transaction volume had grown more than five times since the beginning of 2021, exceeding $155 million.

Commenting on the acquisition, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, the co-founder of Flutterwave and Andela and a member of Alerzo’s advisory board, said that the firm’s decision to serve communities “that are truly excluded” was inspiring: “Alerzo’s focus on excluded but commercially viable commerce communities in smaller cities like Ibadan is exemplary and visionary.”

He also said most businesses “talk a good game” about financial and economic inclusion but then proceed to focus their businesses on commercially savvy megacities like Lagos or Nairobi.

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AB InBev Opens Applications For Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge

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The world’s largest beer company, AB InBev, has partnered with Hindsight Ventures to launch the Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge, which will offer startups access to venture development and grant funding.

AB InBev, which has over 500 brands and over six million B2B customers in over 100 countries, launched Beer Garage a few years ago with the objective of driving innovation by building a strong community of ecosystem stakeholders.

As part of this initiative, AB InBev is now launching the Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge, a pan-African challenge to identify hi-tech, high potential startups and founders building innovative solutions across Africa.

To do so, it has partnered with Startup Réseau, an India-headquartered global startup accelerator, which will operate the programme through its Africa-focused vertical Hindsight Ventures.

Ten startups will be selected to take part in a Global Venture Bootcamp, a three-week venture mentorship and leadership development programme that will be delivered by successful founders, industry leaders, domain experts and investors. The Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge will culminate with a demo day, which will be attended by AB InBev’s global leadership as well as Hindsight Ventures’ global investor pool. On the demo day, one African startup will stand to win US$5,000 in grant capital. All selected startups get access to US$150,000 in technology credits from partners.

“We are really excited by this partnership, which allows us to drive a pan-African program. With a billion people in the continent, over 300 million new internet users expected to come online over the next three years, a fast-growing mobile internet penetration – and now, with global venture capital money making its way to African entrepreneurs, this is a great opportunity for startups to engage with AB InBev as a partner of choice,” said Ajay Ramasubramaniam, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Startup Réseau.

Pritam Dutta, global director for fintech ventures and innovation at AB InBev, said the Beer Garage Africa Challenge was an opportunity to leverage the emerging tech startup ecosystem and funnel novel ideas into AB InBev.

“We set out to build out a stronger connect into the Africa ecosystem, find disruptive startups which could be a great pipeline for our future disruptive innovations and further accelerate our innovation agenda, delivering strong business impact,” he said.

Applications for the challenge are now open here.

Beer Garage is one of the global innovation hubs at AB InBev with the objective of driving innovation by building a strong community of ecosystem stakeholders.

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Merger and Acquisition

Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Transactions Totalled US$ 78.3 Billion During First Nine Months of 2021

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Refinitiv today released the Sub-Saharan African investment banking analysis for the first nine months of 2021. According to the report, an estimated US$387.5 million worth of investment banking fees were generated in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first nine months of 2021, a 15% increase from the same period in 2020. 

While debt capital markets underwriting fees increased 148% to US$117.8 million, the highest year-to-date period since our records began in 2000, fees from equity capital markets underwriting, M&A advisory and syndicated lending all declined from the first nine months of 2020.  Equity fees declined 17% to US$50.7 million, while syndicated lending fees declined 4% to US$148.2 million. Advisory fees earned in the region from completed M&A transactions reached US$70.8 million, down 3% from last year to the lowest first nine-month total since 2013.  Fifty-eight percent of all Sub-Saharan African fees were generated in South Africa during the first nine months of 2021, and 23% were earned from deals in the financial sector. Standard Chartered earned the most investment banking fees in the region during the first nine months of 2021, a total of US$33.1 million or an 8.5% share of the total fee pool.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Boosted by the US$44.1 billion Naspers/Prosus share swap in May, the value of announced M&A transactions with any Sub-Saharan African involvement reached US$78.3 billion during the first nine months of 2021, more than four-times the value recorded during the same period last year and the highest first nine-month total since our records began in 1980.  The number of deals increased 4% from last year to a three-year high of 584.

M&A involving a Sub-Saharan African target reached US$61.8 billion, again lifted by the share swap to an all-time record first nine-month total, while the number of deals increased 8% over last year.  Inbound deals, involving an acquiror outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, increased 86% to US$9.6 billion, while Sub-Saharan African outbound M&A more than doubled to US$11.5 billion. With advisory work on deals worth a combined U$52.1 billion, Morgan Stanley held the top spot in the financial advisor ranking for deals with any Sub-Saharan African involvement during the first nine months of 2021.

EQUITY CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African equity and equity-related issuance reached US$971.2 million during the third quarter of 2021, the highest quarterly total in more than two years.  Despite the strong third quarter, total proceeds raised during the first nine months of 2021 was down 42% from last year at US$1.2 billion, the lowest first nine-month total since 2005.   Pepkor Holdings, Lighthouse Capital and retail pharmacy chain Dis-Chem Pharmacies were among those in the region raising new equity funds from follow-on offerings during the third quarter.  There have been no initial public offerings in the region so far during 2021. Investec and Goldman Sachs share first place in the Sub-Saharan African ECM underwriting league table during the first nine months of 2021. 

DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African debt issuance totalled US$37.2 billion during the first nine months of 2021, up 149% from the value recorded during the same period in 2020 and the highest first nine-month total since our records began in 1980.  The number of issues increased 33% over the same period.  US$15.2 billion worth of the bond proceeds were raised during the third quarter alone, with both Prosus and the Federal Government of Nigeria raising US$4.0 billion.  Government & Agency issuance accounted for 55% of proceeds raised during the first nine months of 2021, while the financial sector accounted for 24%. Citi took the top spot in the Sub-Saharan African bond book runner ranking during the first nine months of 2021, with US$6.0 billion of related proceeds, or a 16% market share.

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