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BoI Earmarks N300bn for SME Development



  • BoI Earmarks N300bn for SME Development

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has earmarked N300 billion for the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria over the next three years, noting that this move was to make funds accessible to entrepreneurs to start up and expand their businesses in the country.

The acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, explained that the Development Finance Institution (DFI) had so far disbursed about N15 billion last year to SMEs, creating about 600,000 jobs in the country.

Indeed, BoI emphasised the need to develop the SME sector, adding that most economies of the world have been able to transform their economies paying serious attention to SME growth.

He noted that the Nigerian economy has underperformed over the past years due to the weak SME sector while urging entrepreneurs to take advantage of investment opportunities in the nation’s power, construction and other sectors begging for investment.

Olagunju, during the 20th annual public lecture organised by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN), tagged: ‘SMEs as a catalyst for sustained economic growth in Nigeria’, said Nigeria must promote SMEs using areas where the nation has competitive and comparative advantage.

He, however, commended the federal government policies instructing that certain percentages of government purchases must come from patronising SMEs in the country, saying this would bring some increased level of relevance to the sector.

“We are going to help in building capacity for those SMEs to ensure that they are competitive in terms of quality and in terms of price. Our products have to be competitive and of the right quality,” he said.

He stated that the sector is still faced with myriad of challenges ranging from market access, weak local patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods, power supply, finance, information and lack of technology as a result of over dependence on expensive sophisticated imported technology.

He said according to a report he attributed to Oxfam, the industrialised countries of the northern hemisphere bought cocoa worth a billion dollars from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroun and Ghana, investing another $3 billion on value addition and generated businesses worth about $60 billion.

He said the positive gap between the growth of our GDP and our population it recorded in 2014 was a great feat, maintaining that population growth average was about three per cent while GDP grew about 5 per cent and at an average of seven per cent in 2014.

“Presently, we are in trouble because population growth is still about 3 per cent while GDP is at a negative. If we are not careful, we will be committing economic suicide. The consensus is that Nigeria has underperformed given our natural resource endowments. Comparing Nigeria with other countries as far back as in the 70s, indices showed that Nigeria was better than China.

According to him, GDP per capita in Nigeria in the 70s stood to about $233.5, while China recorded about $111.82, saying that Nigeria ranked 88th in the world while China maintained the 114th spot.

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

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Fuel Scarcity: NUPENG to Commence Strike on Monday



Petrol Importation

Lagosians Should Brace for Fuel Scarcity as NUPENG Embarks on Strike

Nigerians should brace for fuel scarcity as the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) directed all petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw their services from Lagos State starting from Monday, 10 August 2020.

In a statement released by NUPENG on Friday, the union said the directive followed the failure of various authorities in Lagos State to address three major issues that had impacted the operations of petroleum tanker drivers in the state for several months.

The statement signed by the National President, Williams Akporeha and the General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, NUPENG and titled title ‘NUPENG leadership directs withdrawal of services by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020,’ noted that members of the union are frustrated and pained by the barrage of challenges faced while carrying out their activities in Lagos State.

NUPENG said, “The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonised by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges.

“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.

NUPENG listed the major challenges faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State as extortion and harassment by various security agents and, area boys’ (miscreants).

This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect.

The Union added that it is sad that the security agents who were expected to ensure the free flow of traffic and protection of road users were the same people using their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from petroleum drivers in Lagos State.

Therefore, it said it had embarked on an indefinite strike to force the Lagos State Government to address the situation.

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NLC Gives Airlines Two Weeks to Reverse Mass Lay-offs



Nigeria Labour Congress

NLC Goes After Bristow, Air Peace, Demands Reversal of Mass Lay-offs

The Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday rejected the recent sack of 100 Pilots by Air Peace, 70 Pilots by Bristow Helicopters and staff of the National Union of Air Transport union working with Turkish Air.

In a statement released by the Union, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, the President, NLC, described the action of the companies as “insensitive, callous and unjust”.

Earlier in the week, Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest carrier announced it would be letting go of 70 pilots as it struggles to curb the impact of COVID-19 on its finances.

This was followed by Bristow Helicopters’ announcement that it would be letting go of 100 Pilots and Engineers as it can no longer support them due to its decline in its financial position.

While the companies have blamed COVID-19 and lack of government support for their decision to cut costs to remain afloat, experts believed the decision was as a result of recent union activities of the affected staff.

Bristow staff had embarked on strike on Monday after talks between the Nigerian Association of Air Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the management of the company broke down despite giving them three days strike warning.

Wabba said no worker should be sacked or penalised for participating in union activities.

He said, “The unilateral sack of executive members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees working with Turkish Airline is particularly distressing.

“These workers were sacked for fighting for the rights of Nigerian workers in Turkish Air.

“This is very reprehensible. We wish to remind Turkish Air that unionised workers cannot be punished or sacked for participating in trade union activities.

“This action is aimed at frustrating unionisation in Turkish Air and to enslave Nigerians working with Turkish Air.”

Wabba emphasised that the Union would not stop advocating for the dismissed workers. The President of NLC, therefore, called on the management of Turkish Air, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to reinstate all workers within two weeks.

He warned that failure to comply with the Union demand would be met with mas action across Nigeria’s workforce.

He said, “We call on the management of Turkish Air, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to reinstate all the sacked workers within two weeks.

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Brent Crude Oil Pulls Back to $44 Per Barrel



Brent crude

Brent Drops from $46 Per Barrel to $44 on Friday

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is measured, pulled back on Friday morning during the New York trading session to $44 per barrel.

The commodity rose on Tuesday on hopes that the United States is working on a new economic stimulus package and signs that the world’s largest economy is making progress with COVID-19.

“Crude prices turned positive on stimulus hopes and after another positive round of economic data showed manufacturing recovery continued in June,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Brent crude oil rose as high as $46.21 per barrel on Wednesday before pulling back to $44.47 per barrel on Friday amid concerns that the second wave of COVID-19 would eventually weigh on the demand for the commodity and disrupt whatever plans OPEC and allies have to curtail further decline in oil prices.

UKOilDailyUS Oil, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil declined from $43.49 per barrel it was sold on Wednesday to $41.35 per barrel on Friday.

However, experts think the new US stimulus would bolster market outlook and increase global oil demand with demand in consumer goods.

“Hopes are still running high for another round of fiscal stimulus,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM. “Failure to extend aid would deal a massive blow to the recovering U.S. economy and the fragile oil demand outlook.”

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