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Fidelity Bank Restates Support for SMEs

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images 2020 09 28T101531.256 Fidelity Bank Restates Support for SMEs

Fidelity Bank Plc has pledged its continued support for the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) sector whose activities were disrupted in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank made the disclosure recently at the 13th edition of the Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Speaking at one of the panel sessions, Divisional Head, SME Banking Division, Osaigbovo Omorogbe, said the bank’s commitment was borne out of the realisation that SMEs are the engine room of any economy.

“The ability of MSMEs to stay on sustainably at this time, and even become more attractive for various types of funding support will undoubtedly be strengthened with deepened capacity building support, both on the back and front office ends”.

He explained that there was a compelling need for relevant stakeholders to deepen capacity-building support for MSMEs in various areas, ahead of funding support, to enable them position more strongly to stay afloat and even grow in the new normal.

While insisting that a one-size-fits-all capacity building model/approach for MSMEs would no longer help, Omorogbe stressed the need for more tailored capacity building support that will take into account the peculiarities and challenges MSMEs are facing; first on account of the pandemic and secondly because of the respective economic sectors they play in, their supply and distribution chains, the geographical locations they operate from and cover, etc.

He advocated for stronger collaboration amongst all stakeholders who have roles to play in ensuring MSMEs get and enjoy the much needed support they require at this time, in various areas, to further ensure the MSME segment not only survives the times but also gets set firmly, on the path of sustainable growth.

Over the years, Fidelity Bank has leveraged the myriad intervention/development funding schemes typically offered at single digit interest rates by local and international Development Finance Institution (DFIs), for the benefit of its SME customers. Specifically, the Bank has through the efforts of its SME Banking Division, continued to build structures and systems to channel low-cost intervention/development funding to MSMEs including women entrepreneurs, to tame the ‘high-cost-of-funds’ challenge small businesses face in this market.

As at mid-September 2020, the Bank in its capacity as a participating financial institution (PFI) in the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) on lending scheme for SMEs and small corporates, has disbursed a total of N21.9 billion to a large number of SMEs and small corporates playing in diverse sectors.

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Nigerian Government Moves To Reduce Data Cost From N1 , 000 To N390 Per Gigabyte

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images 2020 10 28T153533.267 Nigerian Government Moves To Reduce Data Cost From N1 , 000 To N390 Per Gigabyte

The Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, of the Nigeria Communication Commission, Umar Danbatta, has revealed that the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy is planning to reduce the cost of data from N1,000 to N390 per gigabyte.
Speaking to journalists in Kano on Saturday, Mr Danbatta disclosed that part of the plan was the new national broadband plan for the year 2020-2025, which says Nigeria must provide broadband connectivity, cover virtually all parts of the country and deploy 4G infrastructure also across the country.
According to him, the ministry was tasked to come up with a digital economy policy and strategies, adding that all the efforts put in place are intended to bring the cost of data down to N390 as against the N1,000 that Mobile Network Operators, MNOs, are charging.
“Actually the cost has come down to N1,000/gigabyte of data, but the government is saying that we should be targeting N390 in the next 3 to 5 years.
To achieve subsidized data cost, according to Mr Dambatta, the country must provide pervasive broadband data infrastructure.
“We need pervasive broadband data infrastructure because at the landing point in Lagos, where we have all the submarine cables. You know, that is why we have them. There is the main cable, 133, West African Sea Cable (WASC). And there is the other one which Glo company is trying to deploy.
“This, combined, have data capacity of 40 terabyte. This data capacity is at the landing point in Lagos. That is from the coast, where there is ocean. Until and unless you move this massive 40 terabyte data capacity into the hinterland because the undersea cables are terminating in Lagos.
“Hinterland consists virtually all the major cities of the country and the 774 Local Governments of Nigeria. Through this way you will be meeting demands for data with appropriate or commensurate supply of data. This is how it will enable Nigerians to pay less data tariff.
“But this massive capacity of data at landing cost can’t move itself. There is the need to build fibre cables that can carry this capacity to the hinterland.
“We are indeed pursuing the plan. There is infrastructure and company licensing framework that could give the companies the ability to afford to sell the data to the retail agents, who will sell the data to the citizens,” he explained.
At the moment, he added, the plan is not happening but is what the country intends to do to bring the cost of data down from N1,000 /gig to N390/gig, adding that the plan is an important policy of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The EVC however said Nigeria is among the countries with lowest data cost in the whole Africa.
“Following observation of the ranking, which was carried out by reputable global organizations, the commission had found out that Nigeria stands in 4th position among the countries with lowest data tariff on the continent,” Mr Danbatta said.
He said Nigeria’s data cost is more than $2, adding that South Africa, despite her economic development, sells data higher than Nigeria and the country is not even among the lowest.
“It is true that Nigerians are yearning for low data prices. Nigeria has one of the lowest data tariff in Africa. When we observed the rankings by global reputable organizations, we discovered that in the rankings of data services and cost, we are like number 4.
“Virtually all the African countries were listed in the ranking. Our data price is $2 and a few cents.
“In South Africa, despite their economic development, they sell data higher than Nigeria. To be honest with you, South Africa is not even among the lowest. Cost of data services doesn’t need to come down,” he said.

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Banks fund 273,435 businesses with N1.8tr loan –CBN

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download 15 1 Banks fund 273,435 businesses with N1.8tr loan –CBN


The
 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday disclosed that commercial banks in Nigeria have pooled about N1.80 trillion, $1.36 billion and €10.92 million as loans to 273,435 borrowers through the Collateral Registry initiative of the apex bank.

Emefiele made the disclosure in Abuja at a virtual workshop themed; The Role of the Judiciary in ensuring the effectiveness of the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets and Credit Reporting Acts, 2017”, which was organised to sensitize Judges on efforts so far made to boost funding of entrepreneurs using movable assets as collateral for credit.According to him, the loans were given to 262,904 individuals; 1,421 large, 4,260 medium, 1,433 micro and 3,417 small businesses. He recalled that the CBN, in 2017, latched on the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act to launch the National Collateral Registry with a mandate to receive, register, store and provide information about security interests in movable assets.

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Lagos disburses N2.5bn recovery fund for looted businesses

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images 2020 10 28T151705.405 Lagos disburses N2.5bn recovery fund for looted businesses

The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) has announced plans to disburse about N2.5 billion economy recovery fund to assist entrepreneurs whose businesses were torched during last week’s civil unrest across the state.

This was even as the agency said it has received about 2,500 applications from various business owners in the state.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LSETF, Mrs. Tejumola Abisoye, stated this yesterday during a live interview on Channels TV Sunrise

She explained that to help reduce the impact of the wanton destruction of Medium Small Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) businesses in the wake of the #ENDSARS protests across the state, the management of LSETF decided to float the fund to cushion the effect and reflate them back to live.

The LSEFT boss said any business can apply for claims as long as there are evidences to prove that such a business has been impacted or looted as a result of the civil unrest.

She added that to ascertain the claim of a business owner in order for them to receive funding support, LSEFT would be sending down its verification partners who will be on ground to ascertain and verify each claim a business is making.

She said the MSMEs recovery fund is being managed by a steering committee because it is not only the Lagos State Government that has made funds available for this business intervention but also included the private sector.

Abisoye noted that the steering committee will determine each claim based on the verification and evaluation report provided by the business development support partners.

On the challenges of improper documentation access to funding by SMEs, she said the structure for verification will include a neighbor who knows the business and its promoter within the local government and can ascertain the existence of the business, including the membership of a business association.

‘‘A business cannot operate in isolation. There will be people in the market that can ascertain and verify the existence of the business pre vandalisation or looting as a growing concern. But should we not be able to ascertain that, then that will impact on the amount of money such a business will be able to get.

The LSETF CEO said the unfortunate development has presented an opportunity for SMEs that are not structured or registered to do so now through the help of LSETF to help formalize their businesses and improve their results.

Abisoye disclosed that businesses impacted by looting have until the October 31, 2020 to apply for the economic recovery fund, saying the agency intends to commence disbursement of funds within the next 12 days.

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