MSMEs require greater attention -Okpanachi
By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Federal Government, FG, has said it has so far disbursed over N462.2 billion to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operations in the country.
Giving details of the funding actions at the third Annual Lecture Series of the Development Bank of Nigeria, DBN, in Abuja last week, The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, stated: “In the development of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) some provisions were made to support MSMEs.
“These include: a N250 billion grant containing a N50 billion MSME de-risking facility component; a payroll support scheme providing up to N50,000 in monthly salaries for up to 10 staff of qualifying businesses for a duration of three months – 1.5 million jobs have been retained through the MSME and payroll support.
“Others are, a one-off grant of N30,000 for 333,000 self-employed persons working as transporters and artisans under the Artisan and Transport Scheme; a N50,000 grant for 100,000 MSMEs; provision of financial backing up to N191 billion in loans to 34,144 MSMEs and capacity building of 125 MSMEs and loan guarantees for 1,748 businesses to the tune of N6.2 billion”
Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, expressed concern over the relatively poor MSMSEs’ contributions to the nation’s exports.
His words, “The relatively low contribution of MSMEs to exports is concerning given their significant contribution to nominal GDP and for this reason, urgent steps are being taken to alleviate the binding constraints limiting MSME participation in cross-border trade.
“It is mperative to ensure MSMEs are supported in the acquisition of skills and tools to run their businesses efficiently, manage risks and gain access to finance at competitive and affordable rates”.
He commended DBN for providing N482 billion to 208,000 MSMEs, mostly owned by women entrepreneurs, in 2021.
MSMEs require greater attention –Okpanachi
In his address, the Managing Director, Mr. Tony Okpanachi, noted the negative impacts of global disruptions on the local economy, especially the MSMEs and concluded that the sector required greater attention to be able to contribute significantly to the nation’s economy.
His words, “Disruptions on a global scale are now a reality in an increasingly interconnected global economy. However, there is still a compelling need for businesses to continue to innovate especially, as the world gradually recovers from the disruptions caused by Covid-19 which has affected every part of the value chain, from raw material sourcing to the end customer; to the suffering induced by the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in slower economic growth and rising inflation across nations.
“In Nigeria, we’re currently plagued with rising inflation of 20.52% (as of September 2022). We are as well afflicted with rising food and commodity prices, coupled with the rising and unstable exchange rates among others. The effects of Global disruption on international trade often come as a shock to businesses. These series of events have led to uncertainty and radical changes to companies’ well-established strategies across the globe and MSMEs are not exempted.
“The future of work is currently in a state of flux, with many old and new challenges hitting MSMEs particularly hard. Hence, Governments, corporate bodies, and individuals, mostly MSMEs must find ways to adapt to the changing times and the volatility of the market, deal with uncertainty, and figure out how to convert that into opportunities.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Board of DBN, Dr. Shehu Yahaya, identified insecurity in farming communities as a major challenge for the nation’s economy.
He said, “The challenges around insecurity as it relates to the agriculture sector have proven to be daunting. Farmers continue to feel unsafe on their farmland and lower yields during harvest is the unfortunate outcome. I strongly believe everyone gathered here today can appreciate the increase in food prices in the country’’.
Weed out unethical insurance practices, Elumelu charges NCRIB
By Bababjide Komolafe, Economy Editor
Chairman, United Bank for Africa, UBA, Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has charged the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) to weed out the unethical practices plaguing the insurance industry and undermining its contribution to the nation’s economy.
Elumelu, who is also the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, and Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation, gave this charge at the 60th anniversary of the NCRIB held in Lagos.
In a keynote speech titled, ‘60 Years of Insurance Broking: Redefining the Practice and the Practitioners’, Elemulu noted that while the contribution of the insurance industry to national Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is tiny, there is potential for growth.
“Our reputation could be better, our practices more professional, our promises to our customers always honoured”, he said.
Consequently, Elumelu identified five key areas of improvement for the industry namely Governance and compliance, innovation, awareness, capitalisation and customer service.
The insurance industry, he stressed, must do better in these areas if Nigeria is to get the insurance industry it deserves.
Noting that the quality of governance, institutions, and practitioners of the sector is critical, Elumelu commended NCRIB for its commitment to professionalism, education and the insurance industry in its 60 years.
“Members of NCRIB have, over the years, facilitated insurance businesses in the hundreds of billions of naira, delighted millions of Nigerians with their insurance services, and ensured that claims are settled,” he noted.
NGX Group:Ogunbanjo retires, Ikpobe steps in as acting chairman
By Peter Egwuatu
The Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Exchange, NGX Group Plc, Abimbola Ogunbanjo, has retired following the company’s 61st Annual General Meeting, AGM.
The NGX Group also stepped down its proposed N35 billion capital raising by way of equity and debt, which was aimed at funding its business expansion program.
Meanwhile, at the AGM held last Friday in Lagos, other resolutions proposed were passed by shareholders present and those with proxies.
Ogunbanjo, who was due for re-election for a period of one year until the next AGM in 2023, voluntarily retired from the board and did not present himself for re-election.
Four non-executive directors of the board were re-elected, including Mrs. Fatimah Bintah Bello-Ismail, Mr. Oluwole Adeosun, Mr. Chidi Agbapu, and Mr. Patrick Ajayi.
Speaking at the AGM, Ogunbanjo said : “I was due for re-election for a period of one year until the next AGM in 2023, I voluntarily retired from the board this morning at the Board meeting and hence would not present myself for re-election. I did this in the interest of the market. As I retire from the Board, I trust that my successor will continue the legacy of service and bring greater accomplishments as the sustainable exchange group championing Africa’s socio-economic growth.”
Speaking also, Oscar Onyema, the Group Managing Director, noted that the Group recorded a 22% increase in profitability, a 13% increase in gross earnings, and 14.9% growth in revenue. He noted that the Group intends to enhance its performance going forward and called for support from all stakeholders.
After the AGM, the Board of Directors appointed Mr. Apollos Ikpobe as Acting Chairman, who said he recognised the enormous responsibility associated with the role. He pledged to work with all stakeholders to ensure the stability and growth of the company during this transition.
Leadway graduates 34 young professionals
By Rosemary Iwunze
Leadway Assurance Company Limited has graduated 34 young and vibrant professionals following their successful completion of the company’s 2022 Graduate Trainee Programme.
Accordingly, all the successful trainees have been inducted into its diverse business portfolios.
The six-month intensive and immersive programme equips young graduates with the relevant skill set required to thrive in the dynamic and ever-evolving workforce. The training modules dealt with problem-solving, networking, technical and soft skills, workplace culture, digital proficiency for self-development, and professional capabilities preparing the trainees to serve in different departments across the diverse verticals of the business.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony for new professionals, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Leadway Assurance, Tunde Hassan-Odukale, stated that the Graduate Trainee Programme aligns with the organisation’s corporate twin mandate of providing career opportunities and upskilling Nigeria’s growing young, vibrant and productive population. The programme also strengthens its workforce with the right talent pool for its ambitious growth objectives.
He said: “Our people are the centre-point of our continued marketplace performance and at the core of the organisation’s value creation. So, it is pertinent that we house the best talents in the industry to drive our objectives within the frames of our values and in alignment with the company’s vision and leadership position in the African insurance marketplace.
“We are optimistic that the skills, innovation, and creativity that this programme unleashes satisfy the expectations of our cultural, strategic and operational requirements. We are confident that the training and onboarding of these young professionals further validates our profile as a youth-oriented and future-forward organisation.”