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Experts Reacts to Shoprite Planned Exit From Nigeria

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Shoprite Planned Exit Triggers Experts Reaction

Experts have expressed their concerns over the decision of Shoprite Holding Limited to exit the Nigerian Market, Africa’s largest economy, at a period that unemployment is projected to hit 39.4 million.

On Monday, Africa’s largest retail company, Shoprite, announced it would commence a former process of exiting the Nigerian market or sell a major stake to willing investors that it claimed have started approaching its organisation for a possible partnership.

Experts, who spoke with our correspondents, said the decision would worsen Nigeria’s present economic position, especially with Osinbajo-led committee predicting that unemployment could hit 39.4  million in 2020.

Dr. Musa Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  said the Shoprite move would impact investors’ interest in Nigeria. Yusuf is likely making reference to a series of other factors hurting Nigeria’s economic outlook in recent months.

Barely a month ago, OPay, one of Nigeria’s promising startups started by a Chinese company, announced it will be shutting down some of its business units in Nigeria due to harsh business environment and other COVID-19 related issues. That was a company that raised about $270 million about a year ago.

The series of uncertainties hurting businesses amid unclear economic path have left many investors and businesses seeking exit plan. Even at that, several of the foreign-owned businesses and investments are stuck in the country with their owners unable to access foreign exchange to repatriate their funds.

A recent report showed the Central Bank of Nigeria has over $5 billion forex backlog, yet the nation’s external reserves is hovering around $36 billion since plunging from $45 billion in June 2019.

Prof. Uche Uwalaka, a professor of Capital Market at Nasarawa State University in Keffi, said, “The exit of Shoprite, or any other foreign business for that matter, ordinarily should be a cause for concern especially for a country like Nigeria that is in dire need of foreign direct investment.”

“The importance of Foreign Direct investment, especially in the area of job creation cannot be overemphasised.

Speaking on the matter, Samed Olukoya, CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, explained that “Shoprite just upped Nigeria’s economic uncertainties barely a month after OPay and other foreign-owned companies commenced their process of shutting down or have already shut down part or most of their operations in Nigeria.

He added that “at this rate, it would be hard to increase capital importation or boost  the nation’s Foreign Direct Investment with negative economic outlook and weak investment sentiment.

 

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FG to Ease Economic Burden of 1.7m Small Businesses, Individuals

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FG to Provide Financial Support for 1.7m Small Businesses and Individuals

The Federal Government has said it will provide financial support for 1.7 million businesses and individuals in the next three months.

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, disclosed this at the virtual commissioning of the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) held at Eko Fashion Hub, in Lagos.

According to the minister, the initiative was borne out of the government’s continued effort at cushion the negative impact of COVID-19 on the people by protecting present jobs while simultaneously creating new opportunities.

She further explained that the administration of President Buhari, through the Economic Sustainability Committee, had launched specific programmes to cushion the negative effect of COVID-19 on small businesses across the country.

She said, “The Federal Government is fully committed to empowering Nigerians; more so in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In this regard, the government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.

“These programmes include among others, the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes of which I have the honour to chair the Steering Committee for the effective implementation of the projects.

“The project, which will run for an initial period of three months, is targeting 1.7million entities and individuals and has provisions for 45 per cent female-owned businesses and five per cent for those with special needs. The registration portal for the schemes is set to open on Monday 21st September 2020 and I urge you all to take full advantage of the schemes.”

Katagum explained that the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, which was developed by a committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, was introduced to combat the health and economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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OPay, WorldRemit Partner to Deepen Mobile Money Transfer Service

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Nigerian financial service technology company, OPay has announced a partnership with leading global digital payments platform WorldRemit, to offer international money transfers directly into OPay mobile wallets in Nigeria.

The partnership between OPay and WorldRemit will provide Nigerians with a fast, easy and more affordable way to receive money from over 50 countries including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada directly into their mobile phones.

Nigerian financial service technology company, OPay has announced a partnership with leading global digital payments platform WorldRemit, to offer international money transfers directly into OPay mobile wallets in Nigeria.

The partnership between OPay and WorldRemit will provide Nigerians with a fast, easy and more affordable way to receive money from over 50 countries including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada directly into their mobile phones.

OPay also offers an exciting opportunity for customers to save and invest their money in its FlexiFixed service, which offers up to 12% returns per annum.

The service, which launches in September 2020, is immediately available to all OPay customers on KYC 2 level and above. New customers can download the Opay app from the Google Playstore or iOS store and upgrade to KYC level 2 to instantly access the service.

“This partnership ensures that customers can continue to make affordable money transfers to their family and friends in the comfort of their homes. Together WorldRemit and OPay are disrupting traditional money transfer methods by delivering services that customers can access 24/7 via smartphones at their convenience.

“I’m pleased to share that we’ve reduced prices in 48 corridors and passed the savings onto our customers. With communities across the world having to change their lifestyles due to the disruption caused by Covid-19, we’re proud to play our part in making sure our customers can continue to support their family and friends throughout this challenging time,” says Gbenga Okejimi, Country Manager for Nigeria & Ghana at WorldRemit.

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COVID-19: Africa’s Hospitality Industry Loses $50 Billion

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Hospitality Industry In Africa Loses $50 Billion to COVID-19

Global health pandemic has erased more than $50 billion in revenue from the hotel and tourism industry in Africa, according to a recent report.

African Union stated this in a report titled “Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the African economy”.

However, on Thursday Transcorp Hotel admitted suffering unprecedented losses and therefore has decided to let go 40 percent of its present staff as it moves to restructure and reposition the company for the new normal.

To this end, the hotelier is diversifying its portfolio and reducing its workforce as part of its cost management initiatives,” Transcorp Hotels Plc Managing Director Mrs. Dupe Olusola, said at a news conference yesterday.

She went on: “The impact of COVID-19 on the business is like nothing the company has ever witnessed. The hotel and hospitality industry in Nigeria has never faced a crisis that brought travel to a standstill, including the Ebola Virus Outbreak of 2014 and the recession of 2015.

“The slow pick up of international travel, restriction on large gatherings, the switch to virtual meetings and fear of the virus, has drastically reduced demand for our hotels and occupancy levels to its lowest of less than five per cent.

“Despite the losses incurred we have fulfilled our obligations to staff. At the inception of the pandemic, we maintained a 100 per cent salary payment to our over 900 employees in March and April.

“We also activated various cost-saving initiatives such as renegotiations of service contracts and restructuring of our loans. We suspended further commitment to buy fixed assets and operating equipment as well as reducing our energy consumption and maintenance costs.

Despite undertaking these, it has become apparent that more fundamental changes need to be made for the business to survive. To this end, our workforce headcount will be reduced by at least 40 per cent and our reward system will be optimised.”

Mrs. Olusola further disclosed how the company plans to adequately compensated its workers given the peculiarities of the economy at this time.

She said: “A health insurance package to reduce their health burden costs, especially during the pandemic, amongst other payment settlements, will be activated. Equally, all Executives of Transcorp Hilton Abuja have now taken a pay cut.

“As one of the leading hospitality brands in Africa, Transcorp Hotels Plc has stated its commitment to uphold service standards and ensure that all guests continue to experience the warmth and hospitality that it is known for.”

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