Industrial Training Fund

ITF to Train Seven Million on Agric, Construction, Others

As a way of saving the country from its rising unemployment and poverty rates, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said that it is set to train over seven million Nigerians in the areas of agriculture, construction and facility maintenance, information and communication technology, manufacturing and services between 2021 and 2031.

READ ALSO: Why Nigerian tech founders are incorporating companies in the US, UK

Disclosing this in Jos during an interactive session with the journalists, the Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari noted that, “skill acquisition remains the most sustainable solution to increasing poverty and unemployment, and the catalyst to economic growth and development.”

According to him, the ITF was among the few agencies requested by the federal government to forward submissions on lifting of 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“If our proposal, which is currently receiving attention of the authorities, is assented to, the ITF will train over seven million Nigerians in the Agriculture, construction and facility maintenance, information and communication technology, manufacturing and services sector between 2021 and 2031.”

He said that the Fund has implemented several skills intervention programmes, including the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Special Skills Development Programme (SSDP), Federal Government Skills Empowerment Programme (FEGOSEP), Info-Tech Skills Empowerment Programme (ISEP), and Agric-preneurship Training Programme (ATP) with which it has trained thousands of Nigerians that were empowered with start-up packs to set up on their own.

He added, “This year, which we have declared as the year of ” skills Escalation for Prosperity”, we have commenced processes for the implementation of more skills intervention programmes namely: the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), the Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the Physical Challenged (STEPP-C), the Construction Skills Empowerment Programme (CONSEP), the Passion to Profession Programme ( P2PP), and the Agri- preneurship Training Programme (ATP).

He added that the programmes would train about 12,000 Nigerians between three and six months in web design and programming, advance computer networking, mobile app development, iron bending, masonry, crop production, aquaculture, air-conditioning and refrigeration, plumbing, GSM repairs and ladies wig cap making.

Ari added that, in appreciation of their efforts to equip Nigerians with requisite skills and contributions to the development of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector in Nigeria, ITF was named as a member of the steering committee of the federal government to drive the implementation of the various support schemes for MSMEs in the country as part of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of Government’s social investment programmes under Economic Sustainability Plan.


tech companies

Why Nigerian tech founders are incorporating companies in the US, UK

Investors are once again writing big cheques for Nigerian tech companies as normalcy begins to return.

READ ALSO: Naira gains 0.21% at investors window amid low dollar supply

While the balance sheet of the company, the customer acquisition numbers, and what stage of development the company is currently at, are significant factors that help investors decide which start-up will be getting their money, there is a big catch to land big-ticket funding.

Where is the company incorporated?

Nearly 90 percent of the companies that have closed big-ticket funding in 2021 so far were incorporated either in the US or UK.

In the month of March alone, tech companies have raised more money than they did in the whole of 2020. However, the about $204 million raised so far have mostly come from companies with publicly known incorporation records outside the continent. In fact, four out of the six companies accounted for about $195 million raised so far.

It is the same for companies that have raised funding since January.

uLesson which raised the first big-money – $7.5 million – in 2021 was founded in 2019 and incorporated in the state of Delaware in the United States. Flutterwave, which has closed the most funding so far in 2021 was also incorporated in Delaware and identifies its head office as 1323 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco CA 94133 USA with company number 6031713. Cowrywise which raised $3 million from Quona is another company incorporated in Delaware. Afriex which raised $1.2 million was incorporated in California, US.

Others are Kwik Delivery, which raised $1.7 million, incorporated in Paris, France, and Kuda Bank, which raised $25 million was incorporated in London.

A local investor may not think too much of this, but a tech company incorporated in Nigeria stands little chance of convincing foreign investors they are worth their big cheques.

So why do Nigerian founders prefer to go outside the country and even continent to incorporate the entity that gives birth to their ideas? The least motivation is the difficulty involved in incorporating companies in Nigeria.


ports revenue

N538bn ports revenue shows private sector can generate more for govt

N538bn ports revenue shows private sector can generate more for govt

The Nigerian government is in dire need of money, and while it remains uncomfortable with letting the private sector run its business interests, evidence points to the need to let go.

READ ALSO: Foreign VCs dominate in Nigeria As local investors…

Allowing private capital to stimulate the economy as seen in recent developments from concessioned ports can generate more money for the government than it can do on its own.

Last week, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) said that private sector fiscal contribution to the port and the Federal Government increased to over N538 billion within 11 years of port concession from 2006 to 2017.

These were monies collected from commencement fees, lease fees, throughput fees, tax payments by the concessionaires as well as revenue put into infrastructure development, and investment on equipment.

A breakdown of the revenue shows that the Federal Government collected N5.68 billion as commencement fees, N196.48 billion as lease fees, N61.45 billion as throughput fees, N67.77 billion as tax payment while the private entities investment in infrastructure and equipment stood at N66.6 billion and N139.9 billion, respectively.

Jonathan Nicol, president of the Shippers Association of Lagos State, reiterated the need for the private sector to take the lead in various sectors of the economy.

He called on the government to take advantage of private sector financing in building infrastructure, especially at this time when the financial capability of the government is dwindling due to unstable prices of crude oil, Nigeria’s mainstay.


Nigeria investors

Foreign VCs dominate in Nigeria As local investors…

Foreign VCs dominate in Nigeria As local investors bankroll Egyptian startups,

Nigeria tech ecosystem’s march to the throne of a most attractive destination for investors in Africa is likely to be a reality again in 2021 but its local venture capital (VC) scene would take the second seat once again.

READ ALSO: Visa joins cryptocurrency market, now allows crypto transaction, but not bitcoin

In Egypt, though, this is hardly to be the case as local investments compete equitably in the tech investment activities in terms of volume.

Over the years, tech investment has grown significantly in Egypt. In 2019, for example, the number of funded ventures rose to 159 percent on 2018 figures, data from Disrupt Africa shows.

The number dropped to 82 startups in 2020 on the back of the pandemic, the country was nonetheless second only to Nigeria and also means that the number of funded Egyptian startups has grown by 1,540 percent since 2015 when only five startups secured investment.

Egypt, actually, ranked number one in Africa in the number of equity deals with 86, representing over 83 percent growth year-on-year and almost a quarter of the continent’s VC transactions in 2020, according to Partech’s report.

In terms of total equity funding, Egypt also sees the highest growth rate out of the top 4 markets with over 28 percent year-on-year growth, attracting $269 million to represent 19 percent of the total funding and maintaining its third place but significantly closing the gap with Nigeria and Kenya.

Egypt owes much of its rise on the continent’s tech ecosystem to a local ecosystem driven by high-quality entrepreneurs and increased activities from local investors plugged into the many regional Middle East and North Africa (MENA) funds.

However, these would not have grown to the level it is without intentional government investment in technology.

The Egyptian government is one of the biggest investors in the tech ecosystem in Egypt. The government does this through its public venture capital programmes. public venture capital organizations are organizations that are funded and controlled by government institutions.

These types of organizations are either completely funded by the government or partially funded by the government.

According to experts, public venture capital organizations usually have a slightly different aim than other VC firms; their main goal is usually focused on promoting the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

In other cases, their aim is to invest in certain industries or certain areas. When both the government and the private sector contribute to the funds of Public Venture Capital organizations, they are called hybrid funds.

The Central Bank of Egypt in 2019 established a fintech regulatory sandbox as well as the $57 million Fintech Fund.

According to the bank, the funding to be mobilised directly and indirectly by the new platform is expected to start with $50-100 million upon launch reaching $350-500 million over a period of five years.

Apart from the Fintech Fund, the Egyptian government also runs a number of incubation programmes both independently and in collaboration with other organisations.

The government also made a lot of investment in providing technology infrastructure in the country that enables tech businesses and the ecosystem to thrive.


Visa joins cryptocurrency market, now allows crypto transaction, but not bitcoin

Visa joins cryptocurrency market, now allows crypto transaction, but not bitcoin

Visa has become the latest payment company to accept cryptocurrency, as the firm made its first cryptocurrency transaction this month.

READ ALSO: 45% of N75bn MSMEs survival fund provided for women owned businesses

The incorporation of crypto into its payment options followed Mastercard plans to accept bitcoin.

Visa partnered with digital asset bank, Anchorage, to conduct its first transaction using to send USDC to Visa’s Ethereum address at Anchorage. Head of crypto at Visa, Cuy Sheffield, said the move was encouraged by consumer demand.

Sheffield said the company experienced an increase in customer demand, prompting the firm to conduct a test at an unspecified date. He stated that the company’s clients want product built in line with the digital asset.

Visa is not going in the same direction as most companies embracing cryptocurrency, as it preferred USD Coin (USDC), which is a stablecoin digital asset with a value pegged directly to the dollar.

READ ALSO: United States to make second bitcoin sales, as CBN refuses to innovate

Speaking on its entry into the crypto market, Sheffield said, “We see increasing demand from consumers across the world to be able to access, hold and use digital currencies and we’re seeing demand from our clients to be able to build products that provide that access for consumers”, he told Reuters on Monday.

Global payment companies are beginning to embrace cryptocurrency as it becomes popular among investors and online shoppers.

Although, in Nigeria, payment companies are still keeping distance due to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ban on crypto transactions.

Aside from payment firms, manufacturers and service providers are also stepping into the market.

Last week, Tesla founder, Elon Musk had announced that his automaker will now accept cryptocurrency as payment for its vehicles.

Musk said bitcoin is the preferred crypto, as he and the company bet big on bitcoin becoming a traditional payment option in the future.

He said Tesla will remain exposed to crypto through bitcoin, as payment made will not be converted into fiat.



45% of N75bn MSMEs survival fund provided for women owned businesses

About 45 %2 of the N75bn MSMEs survival fund has been made available for women owned businesses.

READ ALSO: FG disburses MSME Survival Fund to tailors

This was disclosed by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, in Abuja.

Katagum disclosed that over 45 percent provision have been made for women owned businesses in the N75 billion Micro, Small and Medium (MSMEs) survival fund made available for businesses in Nigeria by the Federal government to cushion the impact of COVID-19 in the country.

Speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) and the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum (NEF), Amb. Katagum said the intervention fund was targeted at giving support to businesses that have suffered due to the pandemic.

“The N75 billion MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off take Scheme are part of Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) designed and developed by the Federal Government to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the economy, specifically targeted at providing succour to the MSMEs sector which has experienced the most adverse effect of economic disruptions caused by the Pandemic.

“The implementation of the scheme which has received commendation by stakeholders across the country has provision for 45 per cent female-owned businesses,” she stated.

The Minister Applauded the organizers for the “efforts towards actualizing this event which provides an avenue for the development of MSMEs especially among women.

“The critical role MSMEs play in the development of the national and global economy in terms of employment generation and contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) cannot be overemphasized.

“It is in recognition of this that the Federal Government of Nigeria gives special attention to the growth and development of the MSME sector, with special emphasis on women-owned enterprises.

Represented by the Deputy Director in the department of Industrial Development, Mr John Opaluwa, the Minister stated that “the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has recently approved the revised National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which provides the framework to resolve the challenges faced by the sub-sector.”

While delivering her welcome address, the President of OWIT, Blessing Irabor, said “OWIT Nigeria is driven by the believe that trade and investment can help Nigeria develop sustainably and inclusively.

“We also know that women and girls have less opportunity, less access to leadership positions, finance, education, information etc.

“However, in the Nigerian world of trade and business, where the gender blind deliverables in trade has strongly contributed to widening the gap of inequalities between men and women at all levels of economic empowerment”, noting that “strengthening coordination on women participation in trade and investment is now Paramount.”

In his remarks, the President of NEF, Sidney Inegbedion, said NEF “is a private sector driven organization whose services have focused on stimulating economic pdevelopment in Nigeria.

“This is why Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum is partnering with the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT). OWIT Nigeria is an active women organization that focuses on trade and business at the local and international levels as a strategy for women empowerment and social recognition,” he stated.


MSME Tailors

FG disburses MSME Survival Fund to tailors

The Federal Government has commenced the disbursement of its Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, MSME, Survival Fund to tailors, artisans in Lagos State.

The Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs/DFIs, Tola Johnson, said so far in the Bariga cluster alone, over 400 people had benefitted from the scheme, with11other clusters approved last week.

READ ALSO: MSME Clinic To be Flagged Off by VP Osinbajo And Pantami

Johnson stated this at the activation of the Artisan Scheme of the MSME Survival Fund by the Bank of Industry in Bariga area of Lagos on Thursday.

He explained that the fund was created to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses in the country, reaffirming the Federal Government’s commitment to supporting MSMEs.

He said, “It is no news that the pandemic affected many businesses and the government in its wisdom thought about how it could support different clusters of people. We have people for the payroll support, the artisan and the transport sectors.

“We also have people that we give money to cushion the effect of the pandemic on their businesses. The Federal Government resolved to support 500,000 people every month for three months, while also supporting 303,000 artisans with N30,000 one-off grant and N50,000 to about 100,000 businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.”

According to him, the government will carry out monitoring and evaluation of the fund to ensure that it is disbursed judiciously.

Johnson added, “We are carrying out this programme in phases so that we can learn from the mistakes of the first and correct in the second stream. We are actually trying to monitor to a large extent to ensure that what was approved is what is being done.”

He said a second stream of states was waiting for approval for disbursement.

“For the payroll segment, we will let the public know when we want to commence disbursement. Every state has about 6,600 new business names to be registered for free, but the Federal Government is paying N6, 000 per business to the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The Chairman, National Union of Tailors, Bariga Chapter, Balogun Olatunde, commended the government for supporting small businesses and urged the government to do more.

He said most of the tailors under his jurisdiction were looking for loans to expand their businesses.


msme clinic

MSME Clinic To be Flagged Off by VP Osinbajo And Pantami

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (MCDE) Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami are set to flag off the National Macro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSME Clinic in Gombe.

READ ALSO: Promoting MSMEs – Osinbajo Patronize Shoemaker

The MCDE announced this yesterday via their official social media platforms.

The clinic will kick off in Gombe, today the 30th of March 2021. The Ministry said the clinic is “aimed at supporting the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, @DrIsaPantami will accompany the Vice President, His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, as the Federal Government delegation flags off the National MSME Clinic in Gombe State on Tuesday, 30th March 2021.”

“The clinic is aimed at supporting the ease of doing business in Nigeria by providing shared facilities with access to broadband connectivity, automation of processes, a one-stop-shop, among others.

“This is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria launched and unveiled by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.”


VP Osinbanjo MSME

Promoting MSMEs – Osinbajo Patronize Shoemaker

Promoting MSMEs – VP Osinbajo Patronize Young Nigeria Shoemaker OJBest who had tweeted at him previously about his skills. After taking VP’S measurements, Omale Ojima -OJ came to the Villa last Monday to present the sandals. It’s all about promoting MSMES & inspiring young people.

READ ALSO: Businesses to lose over N55bn as ports halt exports

VP, Osinbajo patronizing made in Nigeria sandals and shoemaker. In addition to being cerebral and hardworking, Osinbajo is down to earth. This is another thing that’s endeared him to our hearts. Let’s not forget too that the VP is one of the biggest supporters of MSMEs in Nigeria today. The Ease of Doing Business comes to mind.

The father & encourager of MSMEs will never relent in ensuring local business strive in Nigeria. He’s a man with foresight and great vision, the initiator of MSMEs clinic for business owners, it has been effective throughout states ever since.

Also in the other news, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, @DrlsaPantami will accompany the Vice President, His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, as the Federal Government delegation flags off the National MSME Clinic in Gombe State on Tuesday, 30th March 2021.

The clinic is aimed at supporting the ease of doing business in Nigeria by providing shared facilities with access to broadband connectivity, automation of processes, a one-stop-shop, among others.

This is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria launched and unveiled by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.


#MSMEClinics #MSMEClinicGombe #DigitalNigeria

Nigerian exports

Businesses to lose over N55bn as ports halt exports

Nigeria is desperate for foreign exchange, yet businesses that should be contributing towards earning dollars, in particular, will be losing at least N55 billion ($142m) within the two weeks the country’s seaports in Lagos will not be allowing exports trucks.

READ ALSO: Stock: Equity Market Rallies N109bn Rally

While the country’s non-oil exports for 2020 stood at N1.43 trillion, it averaged N27.5 billion on a weekly basis; in a year trade was significantly down, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). For two weeks, it comes to N55 billion.

However, trade is expected to recover this year as economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and N55 billion is at best a conservative estimate that is likely far from what the economy, and in particular, businesses would lose.

In 2019, when trade was better, non-oil exports had a value of N2.51 trillion and if trade this year, as the global economy is gradually rebounding, is as good as 2019, then the losses over the two-week period could even be starting at N96.8 billion ($251m).

“It was abrupt,” said Ibukunoluwa Akinrinde, technical anchor of the NESG Trade, Investment and Competitiveness Policy Commission. “If prior to now, the NPA for reasons best known to it, did not sound the alarm it wanted to halt exports.”

One month to that time, the NPA should have created awareness, with a date it was going to embark on this action, he explained, saying, “Arbitrariness of decisions is part of what affects investors’ confidence.”

Arbitrariness like this see businesses getting their fingers burnt. Those prepared for exports such as through the Sea Link Project could do short cargo movement within two weeks to arrive the destination. Those required for use within a month after which they may no longer be in conditions suitable for what they are needed will now get hurt, leading to colossal losses.

Suspension of export trucks by the ports authority, apart from the value of export goods now stranded, would also see exporters incurring demurrage and detention fees.

Those who had dispatched trucks laden with goods would have to pay the cost of those trucks staying put till delivery can be done at the cargo exports terminals.

To have the shipments returned till the NPA gets its acts right would also mean paying for the goods to be returned to wherever they may have come from in Nigeria.

Anyway it is seen, businesses are bound to lose, and big too.

“In export, once you sign an agreement with the buyer abroad and it takes you two weeks or months to access the port and there is rejection, it becomes double tragedy,” John Isemede, a consultant on Export Value Chain to United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), told BusinessDay. “This is because those goods still have to be brought back to Nigeria. It is like collecting a corpse from the mortuary.”

This indicates yet another casualty of this decision as previously highlighted by BusinessDay. The sanctity of contracts will be broken by many exporters, not of their own doing, but because the port administrators decided to truncate their sources of livelihoods on the back of poor planning.

From different parts of Nigeria, trucks carrying products in export containers are on their way to the Lagos ports. Those who have paid for goods to be transported on those trucks will now have to bear additional costs and shipping lines are expected to charge the export demurrage and detention fees, respectively.