- GEEP Offers Zero Interest on Loans
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, has said the Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme (GEEP) offers zero interest rate on loans to over 1.2 million artisans, traders, market men and women, as well as women cooperatives.
She spoke during a media interaction in Lagos adding that 70 per cent Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria cannot access loans and financial support for business growth.
“GEEP works with cooperatives to assist MSMEs and the Bank of Industry (BOI), manages it by verifying the membership of the cooperatives through Bank Verification Number (BVN). Those who default in repaying the loans get blacklisted and prevented from further loans. GEEP targets 1.66 million Micro, Small and Medium enterprises,” she said.
Speaking further, she said Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is designed to support one million of the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians adding that the CCT targets one million poorest households.
The Special Adviser highlighted economic overdependence on crude oil, absence of critical policies driving inclusive growth and changing demographic profile as challenges that could not be left unaddressed, hence President Buhari’s decision to act. Currently the programmes are operational in 14 states of the federation.
She said that over 500,000 unemployed graduates will be empowered in the N-Power programme designed to engage unemployed graduates, while 5.5 million school children will enjoy free meal from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics current 18.8 unemployment rate, Mrs. Uwais said 82 million Nigerians live below the poverty line which translates into 42.4 per cent of the entire population.
According to her, “10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school and 20 per cent of the World’s out-of-school Children are in Nigeria. The National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) will see 5.5 million school children fed with nutritious meals. There are also secondary beneficiaries of the programme such as the cooks whom we pay directly and farmers who supply the food stuff.”
COVID-19: Zenith Bank to Access First IFC Financing Support Package in Africa
Zenith Bank to Access $100 Million COVID-19 Support fund from IFC
Africa’s sixth-largest bank, Zenith Bank Plc, is the first African Bank to access a $100 Million loan from International Financial Corporation (IFC) to battle the negative effect of the global health pandemic.
The world Bank Group reported that the investment is to enable Zenith Bank gain access to foreign currency, additional working capital and more fund for trading.
Accordingly, the loan will enable the bank to support Nigerian businesses in various sectors, strengthen operations, preserve employment and help gain access to required raw materials in this challenging economic period.
The Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu said that IFC support will help the nation tackles the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
“IFC’s support is essential and will help us respond to challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will allow us to support compelling export initiatives and trade financing for critical goods and materials, especially for the medical and pharmaceuticals sectors. Our partnership with IFC is strong and we are committed to its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) requirements,” he stated
The loan to Zenith Bank is part of the $8 billion COVID-19 global support finance package announced by the World Bank in the first quarter of the year to support businesses affected by the pandemic. Over 250 global clients have requested for financial support from the multilateral institution.
Eme Essien Lore, IFC Country Manager in Nigeria, said, “IFC’s support for Nigeria’s banking sector will help keep the wheels of Nigeria’s economy turning at a time when it is facing a major challenge from COVID-19. Our experience from past shocks, including the global financial crisis in 2008, has taught us that keeping companies solvent is key to saving jobs and limiting economic damage.”
With the World Bank predicting Africa’s first recession in 25 years, the adverse effects of COVID-19 have seen the shutdown of businesses in Nigeria’s economy and other countries in Africa
A New Haven, Dual Citizenship Firm Plans to Set Up in Nigeria
Nigerians Can Now Apply for Dual Citizenship in Nigeria
A Zurich-based firm, Henley & Partners Group, a citizenship and residency advisory firm plan to set up an office in Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria.
According to the firm, the wealthy Africans expression of interest in passport and residency rights surged from 750 in 2019 to over 1000 in the first quarter of this year. The office in Lagos would be the second outpost in Africa, the first outpost was in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.
The two biggest economies in Africa, Nigeria and South Africa provides over 85 percent of the Africans that purchased the firm service in 2019.
Nigeria, the largest economy and biggest crude oil producer in Africa, has more than 700 people with a net worth greater than $30 million and that figure is forecast to grow by 13% in the next five years, according to Knight Frank’s 2020 Wealth Report estimates.
The country which has a population of about 200 million, also has the most people living in extreme poverty.
Henley & Partners are setting up in Lagos to support the wealthy citizens to secure citizenship of various Caribbean countries including St. Kitts and Nevis, that allow more widespread visa-free travel, as well as a select few European Union members such as Cyprus and Malta.
Costs range from less than $200,000 for Caribbean passports — once vetted by both Henley and the government — to a contribution of more than $1 million for European nations.
According to the head of sales, Dominic Volex, the firm has been rendering service to Nigerian clients for more than three years.
“We have been engaging with Nigerian and West African clients for over three years now and have seen constant growth. ”
He added that “The significant increase in wealth creation in the region has created a consequent surge in demand for our services.”
Barclays Tell High Net Worth Investors to Shun Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays to High Net Worth Clients, Stay Off Africa and Other Emerging Economies
Barclays, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has started advising high net worth clients to stay off Africa and other emerging economies.
According to Barclays, despite the recent recovery noticed in emerging-market stocks, investors are better off avoiding the risks that still abound in emerging nations. Barclays Plc, however, advised high net worth clients to focus on U.S equities despite the S&P’s breakneck rally.
The investment bank said emerging economies do not have enough fiscal buffers to spend their way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and will likely continue to struggle in the near-time compared to the US with 12 percent of gross domestic product fiscal-support.
It said the huge US stimulus may halt rebound in emerging-markets stocks as more money is expected to flow into the world’s largest economy and its European counterparts.
“Compared to the U.S., emerging-market economies appear more vulnerable,” said Haider, the London-based managing director and head of global growth markets. “Their central banks have less room to maneuver, their governments may not be able to provide unlimited support and equity markets, given their sector mix, can be more challenged by an economic slowdown.”
Barclays added that even after 33 percent rebound in stocks of emerging markets since the panic selloff subsided in March, stocks are still down by 9 percent from year-to-date while the US S&P 500 stocks are up by 45 percent. Presently, their stocks trading at a 36 percent discount to US stocks, up from 25 percent three months ago.
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