- Textile Manufacturers Demand Remittance of N350bn Development Fund
Textile manufacturers in Nigeria are seeking the implementation of the Textile Development Fund Levy policy and the remittance of arrears accrued since its establishment estimated to be N350bn to the sector.
In 1997, the Federal Government set aside 10 percent import levy on imported fabrics to develop operations of local textile manufacturers.
The manufacturers said as of the last calculation in 2015, the arrears amounted to N350bn.
They made the demand amid the decision by the Federal Government to slash import duties on colouring, grease and other items for treatment of textile materials.
The stakeholders maintained that import duties on the items listed by the government were not their main concern but the remittance of the amount accrued from the levy to the textile sector so that stakeholders could access the fund for production purposes.
In a telephone interview with our correspondent, the Director-General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, Mr. Hamma Kwajaffa, said what the government could do to assist the sector’s growth was to remit the proceeds from the levy to the sector, adding that it would aid stakeholders who were unable to access the N50bn CBN fund introduced last year.
“Not everybody can access the N50bn intervention fund. Out of about 50 people who applied, only 15 people were given,” he said.
Kwajaffa said the sector or its practitioners had never benefitted from this levy since its establishment.
He said, “We are supposed to have 10 percent of any fabric coming into the country as textile development levy. Till date, nothing has come to the coffers of textile manufacturers.
“The levy was to cushion the effect of the infrastructure decay that has impeded our competitiveness with other countries and boost the export of locally-produced fabrics.
“In 2015, the country imported about $4bn worth of fabrics. The development levy from this, just like others, we did not get.”
He disclosed that the proceeds were currently being channelled into the Treasury Single Account and appealed to the government to establish it as a fund that would be kept by the Bank of Industry for practitioners to access at a single-digit interest rate.
Also, the NTMA DG said textile manufacturers faced challenges sourcing polyester locally, adding that Eleme Petrochemical plant was unable to produce enough to meet their demand. He added that another challenge was with sourcing of foreign exchange for importation of essential raw materials.
“This has been a major challenge for the sector because we source forex from the black market and this makes it impossible for us to produce at competitive rate,” he said.
High Pesticide is Reason Nigerian Beans Not Acceptable in Most Countries
High Pesticide is the Reason Nigerian Beans Not Acceptable in Most Countries
High pesticide residue is the reason exporters of Nigerian cowpea (beans) can no longer access certain foreign markets, according to the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).
Vincent Isegbe, the Director-General, NAQS, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during a strategic engagement with the President of Cowpea Association of Nigeria, Shittu Mohammed.
Isegbe advised stakeholders to work together to address the weak cowpea value chain in order to establish a continuous market for Nigerian beans.
In a statement issued by Gozie Nwodo, the Head, Media, Communications and Strategies, NAQS, Isegbe said “The pattern of boom and bust in cowpea export owes to the ingrained issue of high pesticide residue.
“The pesticides are largely introduced during the storage phase. The residue levels in the cowpea tend to rise above the maximum threshold set by certain Customs union and this makes the product unacceptable in crucial destinations.”
Isegbe added, “We need to make a clean break from imprudent application of storage pesticides and consolidate a reputation for producing and delivering cowpea that satisfy relevant quality criteria.”
He said Nigeria is losing thousands of jobs and foreign exchange due to the suspension of cowpea or other agricultural commodities on account of intolerable quality defects.
Wema Bank Announces Collateral Free Loans for SMEs
Wema Bank to Provide Collateral Free Loans for Small Businesses
In a bid to ease COVID-19 burden on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Wema Bank has launched collateral-free loans for all qualified SMEs.
In a statement published by the bank last week, the lender said the loans will go a long way in assisting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It explained that the move is in line with the bank’s mission to support the fight against ravaging COVID-19.
Further break down of the bank’s statement revealed that the SMEs loan products will provide N10 million to businesses in need of working capital without collateral or security for such financial support.
The credit facility, according to the bank, is available to business owners who have an establishment in trade/general commerce, Schools, Pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres.
Wema Bank added that in order to make the loan more accessible to businesses outside its customers, both new and existing customers can access the facility without previous banking history with Wema Bank. This, it said includes those doing business in their personal names.
“The bank is also offering up to N5 million without collateral and up to 12 months repayment period to businesses that are doing trading or general commerce while school owners can get up to N10 million without collateral with also 12 months repayment period.
“Health sector businesses like pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres can also get up to N5million without collateral with up to 12 months repayment period to meet working capital needs. In an earlier communication, the bank had stressed how critical it is to support players in the health sector, especially with the realities of the time.
“For us, we will continue to put the health of Nigerians and the safety of our communities first,” said the Managing Director/CEO Wema Bank, Ademola Adebise.
“It is our joy to see players in the health sector grow during this difficult time and we encourage them to take advantage of all our support programmes to keep their businesses afloat.”
AXA Mansard Sells Entire Stake in AXA Mansard Pensions
AXA Mansard Divests Interest From AXA Mansard Pensions
AXA Mansard Insurance on Friday announced it has divested from its subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pensions, after receiving Shareholder’s approval at the Company’s Extra Ordinary General Meeting on February 13th 2020.
In the statement signed by Mrs. Omowunmi Mabel Adewusi, the Company Secretary, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Company said it commenced the divestment process by appointing Messer Rand Merchant Bank as the Financial Advisers while Aluko & Oyebode acted as the Legal Adivsers on the deal.
The company entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Eustacia Limited to sell its entire 2,067,672,000 shares or 60 percent shareholding held by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and another 1,378,448,000 shares or 40 percent shareholding held by minority Shareholder.
Speaking on the divestment, Mr. Kunle Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc said: “This transaction marks a new step in AXA´s broader strategy to focus on and grow our Life, Property & Casualty (P&C) and Health businesses across all its geographies. The AXA Group sees great potential in the Nigerian insurance market and believes AXA Mansard is ideally placed to capture these opportunities, thanks to its market leadership positions in Health Insurance, Property & Casualty and Life Insurance. We plan to capitalize on our successes to further build our capabilities and continue to deliver the best offers & services to our customers”.
Commenting on the transaction, Dapo Akisanya, CEO of AXA Mansard Pensions Limited said, “We are confident about Verod’s strong commitment to providing the Company with the requisite support to actualize our promise to our clients and stakeholders. As a West African investor with deep local knowledge and presence, we look forward to harnessing Verod’s unique, and world-class, attributes towards setting new standards in the industry.
Verod has the capacity, expertise, and network, to support the business to continue to expand and to provide innovative solutions for the benefit of our current and future clients”
“We strongly believe that this is the ideal time to enter the market and that AXA Mansard Pensions provides an excellent beachhead from which to establish a consolidated position and gain market share,” said Eric Idiahi, Partner at Verod.
“The National Pension Commission continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to raising standards within the industry and driving pension penetration rates in the short to medium term. We believe that sustaining AXA Mansard Pension’s industry-leading investment returns, excellent customer service, as well as, expanding distribution network and product offerings will facilitate the capture of the considerable growth potential within the Nigerian pensions industry, particularly following the opening of the transfer window.”
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