READ ALSO: Federal Government Denies Printing N60bn To Share In March

As part of its commitment to support the growth and sustainability of Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSME) in the continent, Pan African financial Institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to organise the next edition of its UBA Business Series.

The UBA Business Series which is a monthly event, is an MSME Workshop as well as a capacity building initiative of the bank where business leaders and professionals share well-researched insights on best practices for running successful businesses, especially in the face of the difficult operating environment that dominates the African business landscape.

Through this initiative,  UBA has been assisting with essential tips to help businesses re-examine their models and strategies and ensure that they stay afloat and remain thriving.

The topic for the next edition of the series  is ‘ Managing Performance for Business Growth,’  and it will be held on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 via Microsoft Teams.

At this session, the Managing Director, Secure ID Limited, Mrs Kofo Akinkugbe, will be sharing useful tips and insights on the key strategies of performance management to boost business growth.

Akinkugbe is the founder of SecureID Nigeria, a MasterCard, VISA and Verve certified Smartcard Personalization Bureau and Digital Technology company.

She currently serves as the Managing Director/CEO, Secure Card Manufacturing, – a Smartcard manufacturing plant producing high security identity cards and documents for the Banking, Telecoms and Public sectors across Africa and beyond.

The capacity building event is a virtual session which is open to all – including business owners and leaders – and will be held on Wednesday, April 14 th, 2021, at 2pm WAT. Interested participants can register via  http://bit.ly/UBASMEWorkshopMarch2021

UBA’s Head, SME Banking, Sampson Aneke said of Akinkugbe,  ‘with her vast experience garnered over the years from various sectors,  she  will help business owners understand how performance management strategies can be effectively implemented to ensure business growth’.



It’s a crime to do business in Nigeria without NIN – Pantami

Ahead of the April 6, 2021 deadline given Nigerians to link their SIM cards to the National Identification Number (NIN), Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, has said it is a criminal offence in the country to carry out business activities without first acquiring the NIN.

READ ALSO: Edo signs N100bn MOU with 7 oilpalm investors

Pantami, who spoke at the 6th Presidential Media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, cited section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007 to buttress his point.

“The NIMC Act clause 27 states that you need the NIN number for opening a bank account, for insurance, land transactions, voter registration, and driver’s licence. So, it is an offence to transact any business activity without first having your NIN,” he said.

This is even as indications have emerged that the Federal Government may extend the registration period as only 51 million numbers have been authenticated so far.

Pantami said his ministry had scheduled a stakeholders’ meeting for Thursday afternoon to decide on the fate of those who are yet to process their NIN.

Insider source at the National Identity Management Commission ( NIMC) disclosed that the government has no immediate plans to disband the over 1,060 centres designated to register subscribers despite the deadline, given the large number of Nigerians who are yet to acquire the NIN as at April 1, 2021.

Pantami also put the number of SIM card subscribers linked to NIN at over 150 million, adding, however, that enrolment is 51 million as at March 31, 2021.

He did not state when the suspension of new SIM registration will be lifted.

“The ban may affect our economy, but when addressing the issue of security, the economy takes a back stage. Some of the SIM registration carried out in the past compromised the system.


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.


Digital Webinar SMEs

BusinessDay with NetPlusDotCom Set to Host March Edition of Monthly Digital Webinar Series for SMEs

In honor of the International women’s month, all the speakers are leading women in their various industries – Akinola Ibukun, Head-Customer Finance, PiggyVest; Ommo Clark, CEO, iBez; Simi Afolabi-Jombo Product Specialist, PayStack and Temitope Williams, Founder, CEO Martwayne will be speaking at the March edition of BusinessDay and NetPlus’s free monthly SME Digital Transformation Webinar Series.

READ ALSO: ‘Batch C’ on an 8 months Auto-Revamp Training Program

Themed “Partnering with Technology to Supercharge Your Business,” this month’s digital webinar edition will hold on Thursday March 25, 2021 from 10:00am – 11:30am.

“The importance of technology can be seen in the drastic difference it has made in many lives around the world especially since the pandemic hit, Adopting tech in business in no longer a question of when in the future but a necessity for right now, today.

This month, we have a lineup of experts in tech who will give insight on how entrepreneurs can boost their businesses using technology,” says Wole Faroun, founder of NetPlusDotCom.

This monthly series is organized by BusinessDay Media, West Africa’s leading provider of business intelligence and information and NetPlusDotCom, a leading technology and digital payment company in Nigeria.

The aim is to create an avenue for SME’s in search for expert information on navigating the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic to learn the modalities of the new age of doing business. It also offers a connecting platform for participants to meet with organizations that can facilitate access to market, finance and digital skills.

To register for this event, please visit:



Most MSMEs Can’t Withstand Shocks—Olurotimi

Businesses may have suffered their worst year in 2020, but this year will see Micro, Small, and Medium Scales Enterprises (MSMEs) thrive if they work on all the lessons learnt and use them to adapt to the changing landscape, Mr Seye Olurotimi, the founder of MSMEs Africa, has said.

READ ALSO: Leveraging technology to optimise MSMEs, empower women

Mr Olurotimi, while appearing as a guest on TV Continental’s programme called Business Nigeria anchored by Mr Tolu Ogunjobi, which was monitored by Business Post, noted that small businesses do not have shock absorbers, which he said affected them when the global economy was faced with an unprecedented health crisis last year.

In his words, “MSMEs don’t have shock absorbers to withstand what the big corporates could absolve and when COVID-19 came and forced people to stay back at home, a lot of them didn’t have the infrastructure to run their services.

“It affected the way they made money. So, people could not make money, couldn’t meet their obligations, some have debts. Many have had to lay off their staff because they could not afford them.”

Mr Olurotimi noted that the recession that came with the situation led many to grapple with a lot as it made it harder for them to meet up with a lot of obligations.

FG’s interventions good

However, he commended several interventions from the federal government, which he said some have benefitted from. But he noted that the programme could not meet the demands of the over 40 million SMEs in the country.

Mr Olurotimi praised the payroll scheme of the federal government, which helped to pay workers and not business founders for a specified period, adding that the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme helped to provide funds to produce goods and also provided avenue’s to help them sell these goods.

While lauding these schemes, he advised the FG not to “just give people money” but should “train them on how to use them,” submitting that “for every intervention, let’s create a part that trains people on how to manage businesses so as to build capacity.”

He further said that despite the considerable improvement made as regards the movement of Nigeria in the ranks of global ease of doing business, there was more the country could do. Nigeria moved 15 places to 131 from 146 out of the 190 countries assessed by the World Bank.

He charged the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to do more, explaining that the rate that businesses spend on electricity, rent and transport are not sustainable for business.


Mobile Money Business

The Rise Fund to Invest $200m in Airtel Africa’s Mobile Money Business at $2.65bn Valuation

Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, today announces the signing of an agreement under which The Rise Fund, the global impact investing platform of leading alternative investment firm TPG, will invest $200 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (“AMC BV”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Airtel Africa plc (the “Transaction”). AMC BV is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations; and is now intended to own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s fourteen operating countries.

READ ALSO: Registration for Auto Revamp Training Program

The Transaction values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt free basis.

The Rise Fund will hold a minority stake in AMC BV upon completion of the Transaction, with Airtel Africa continuing to hold the remaining majority stake.

The Transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including necessary regulatory filings and approvals, as necessary, and the inclusion of specified mobile money business assets and contracts into AMC BV.

The Transaction is the latest step in the Group’s pursuit of strategic asset monetization and investment opportunities, and it is the aim of Airtel Africa to explore the potential listing of the mobile money business within four years.

The Group is in discussions with other potential investors in relation to possible further minority investments into Airtel Money, up to a total of 25% of the issued share capital of AMC BV.

There can be no certainty that a transaction will be concluded or as to the final terms of any transactions.

The proceeds from the Transaction will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.

Airtel Africa Mobile Money Services

Operating under the Airtel Money brand, Airtel Africa’s mobile money services is a leading digital mobile financial services platform catering to a large addressable market in Africa (characterised by limited access to formal financial institutions with limited banking infrastructure) and includes mobile wallet deposit and withdrawals, merchant and commercial payments, benefits transfers, loans and savings, virtual credit card and international money transfers.

Mobile money services are available across the Group’s 14 countries of operation, however in Nigeria the Group offers Airtel Money services through a partnership with a local bank and has applied for its own mobile banking licence.

It is the intention that all mobile money operations will be owned and operated by AMC BV.

In our most recent reported results for Q3, the mobile money service segment (corresponding to all the businesses that are intended to be transferred to AMC BV) delivered a strong operational performance:

  • Generated revenue of $110 million ($440 million annualised), and underlying EBITDA of $54 million ($216 million annualised) at a margin of 48.7%.
  • Year on year revenue growth for the quarter was 41.1% in constant currency, largely driven by 29% growth in the customer base to 21.5 million, and 9.7% ARPU growth.
  • Growth in transaction value was 53.0% to $12.8 billion ($51 billion annualised).

Our mobile money business benefits from strong network presence with our core telecom business through the extensive distribution platform of kiosks and mini shops as well as dedicated Airtel Money branches supplementing our extensive agent network, to facilitate customers’ assured wallet and cash.

We have a clear strategy to continue to drive sustainable long-term growth in Airtel Money with a focus on assured float availability, distribution expansion and increased usage cases for our customers.

In this year alone we have added partnerships with Mastercard, Samsung, Asante, Standard Chartered Bank, MoneyGram, Mukuru and WorldRemit to expand both the range and depth of the Airtel Money offerings and to further drive customer growth and penetration.

The profits before tax in the full year ending 31 March 2020 and the value of gross assets as of that date, attributable to the mobile money businesses were $143.4 million and $463.2 million, respectively.

Key Elements of the Transaction

  • Agreement values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt free basis.
  • AMC BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airtel Africa, is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations; and is now intended to own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s fourteen operating countries once the inclusion of the remaining mobile money operations under AMC BV is completed.
  • A newly incorporated investment vehicle of The Rise Fund will invest $200 million through a secondary purchase of shares in AMC BV from Airtel Africa. The transaction will close in two stages. $150 million will be invested at first close, once the transfer of sufficient mobile money operations and contracts into AMC BV has been completed, with $50 million to be invested at second close upon further transfers.
  • Airtel Africa aims to explore the potential listing of the mobile money business within four years. Under the terms of the Transaction, and in very limited circumstances (in the event that there is no Initial Public Offering of shares in AMC BV within four years of first close, or in the event of changes of control without TPG’s prior approval), TPG would have the option, so as to provide liquidity to them, to sell its shares in AMC BV to Airtel Africa or its affiliates at fair market value (determined by a mutually agreed merchant bank using an agreed internationally accepted valuation methodology). The option is subject to a minimum price equal to the consideration paid by The Rise Fund for its investment (less the value of all distributions and any proceeds of sale of its shares, and with no time value of money or minimum return built in) and a maximum number of shares in AMC BV such that the consideration does not exceed $400 million.

The Transaction is expected to reach first close over the next three to four months. From first close The Rise Fund will be entitled to appoint a director to the board of AMC BV and to certain customary information and minority protection rights.


Business Condition

PMI: Business Conditions in Nigeria Show Improvement

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc has shown that in February 2021, there was another modest expansion in the Nigerian private sector.

READ ALSO: AfCFTA: SON seeks return to port

In a statement from the lender, it was disclosed that the growth was buoyed by a solid increase in new orders and output as companies continue to expand their purchasing activity and resumed hiring efforts during the month.

The report indicated that signs of spare capacity were again evident, with a fresh record reduction in backlogs registered.

However, unfavourable exchange rate movements, higher material costs and a rise in wages added to strong inflationary pressures with overall input prices increasing at a record pace.

Stanbic IBTC said headline PMI registered at 52.0 in February, up from 50.7 in January, indicative of a stronger improvement in overall business conditions. New order inflows rose sharply, with the pace of growth accelerating during the month.

Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show deterioration.

The improving demand environment supported growth in output which was solid and extended the period of expansion to three months. Despite the continuation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions in foreign markets, exports rose during the month, with foreign demand for Nigerian goods and services showing signs of improvement.

To support higher output volumes, companies added to their purchasing activity for the eighth month in succession.

Consequently, firms raised their inventory holdings in anticipation of greater output in the months ahead. Vendor performance also improved, although the degree at which lead times shortened eased to the softest in nine months.

Elsewhere, further signs of spare capacity were signalled, with backlogs falling at the most marked rate in the series.

Nonetheless, firms added to their workforces, with employment rising marginally. The rate of overall input price inflation quickened to the strongest in the series, largely reflecting higher purchase costs.

According to panellists, higher material costs and unfavourable exchange rate movements contributed to a sharp uptick.

However, the stronger demand environment allowed firms to pass on higher prices, with charges rising substantially. Looking ahead, sentiment regarding output over the next 12 months reached a ten-month high as business expansion plans fuelled positive expectations.

That said, the degree of optimism remained below the long-run series average suggesting pandemic uncertainty weighed slightly on hopes for the future.


Field Bidders

Forced merger of marginal field bidders could derail plans

Nigeria’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has begun notifying successful field bidders in the 2020 marginal fields bidding round, but some are concerned that a forced merger of bidders could spell trouble for the process.

READ ALSO: Bulk of young Nigerians shut out of N75bn youth investment fund

According to people close to the process, the regulator’s decision to merge several bidders has joined people with different operational plans, financial resources, and development plans together on a field and the resulting acrimony could scuttle the process.

“These bidders do not know each other, have different plans and programmes and funding strategies, but have all been forced together in a union of strange bedfellows,” a source close to one of the bidders told BusinessDay, pleading anonymity as he does not have the authority to disclose sensitive matters.

When contacted for clarification, DPR’s spokesman, Paul Osu, did not pick several calls made to him over three days nor did he respond to text messages.

Some analysts also expressed concern that it is likely to lead to conflicts and to slow down the government’s plans to get more out of its hydrocarbon resources.

“It would, to my mind, be forcing people with different plans and strategies to do business together,” said Ayodele Oni, energy lawyer, and partner at Lagos-based Bloomfield Law Firm.

However, people often collaborate in the oil and gas sector to execute projects and considering the inability to develop some marginal fields in the past, the DPR hopes this approach will improve the chances of the fields being developed.

The difference between this forced merger and what commonly obtains in the sector is the absence of consent. Partnerships and collaborations are forged with those pursuing similar outcomes based on agreements on how to share resources as well as profits.

The DPR is compelling people who may have different plans, ideas, and resources, and do not know each other to work on a project.

“I haven’t seen the exact terms of such relationships but I am not sure that’s the best approach in light of the experiences from past Marginal Fields bid rounds, where even partners fell out and successful bidders fell out with their technical partners they had strong arrangements with.

“If those could happen then you can imagine a scenario where companies with different strategies, ethos, and outlooks are forced to do business in common,” Oni said.

Dozens of fields awarded in different bid rounds have been undeveloped; this is why oil production from these fields accounts for about 2.14 percent of Nigeria’s total production.

According to a report by African Oil Gas Report, a third award letter that specifies the percentage awarded to the recipient and the signature bonus expected of it by the government has been issued.

The letters were emailed on March 2, 2021, and the authorities expect the signature bonus to be paid in 45 days, and it could be paid in either the local currency naira or in dollars, the magazine said in an editorial.

It further said the total signature bonus per field ranges from $5 million to $20 million, but since no single field is assigned to a single company, the signature bonus demanded from each company correlates with the percentage interest in the field offered to the company. If the entire signature bonus charged to Field A is $5 million, a company assigned 20 percent equity in that field is asked to pay a signature bonus of $1 million.

The DPR is seeking to raise $500 million from the signature bonuses to be awarded for 57 marginal oilfields in the bid round processes for the oilfields, which began in June 2020 and would be concluded by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Sarki Auwalu, the DPR boss, said the objective of the exercise was to deepen the participation of indigenous companies in the upstream segment of the industry and provide opportunities for technical and financial partnerships for investors.

Out of the over 600 companies that applied for pre-qualification, 161 were successful and shortlisted to advance to the next and final stage of the bid round process, Auwalu said.

The department had decided to join different bidders in a single field to raise the prospects that the fields would not be abandoned. Several marginal fields awarded in the past have been abandoned largely due to the financial and technical incompetence of the bidders.

Auwalu said the $500 million would be different from the monies already generated by the agency through the applications and data leasing by applicants.


GTB Flutterwave

GTBank to challenge Flutterwave, Paystack

On Wednesday, as the fintech ecosystem in Nigeria was busy celebrating Flutterwave $170 million Series C funding raise, GTBank was out hunting for fintech talents.

READ ALSO: Flutterwave Closes USD $170m Funding

The bank is shopping for talents for its soon-to-be payment company, Habari Pay. In a vacancy advert BusinessDay found on LinkedIn, GTBank described HabariPay as a young start-up on the path to building a truly pan-African payments unicorn.

“We know we can do it – with a high-impact founding team and the backing from a multinational financial services company,” the bank noted.

Interestingly, Flutterwave’s $170 million raise shoot up its valuation above $1 billion making it the second unicorn fintech company in Africa after Interswitch.

Paystack is also among the startups in the eye-sight of GTBank. The payment gateway was acquired in 2020 by global payment company Stripe in a deal valued at $200 million.

GTBank, Sterling Bank, and Access Bank have all applied for a holding company structure licence and they are expected to take-off at least by the second quarter of 2021.

When approved, the three banks will be joining the likes of UBA, First Bank, and Stanbic IBTC which already operate holding company structures. The difference will be in the individual objectives of the institutions.

Segun Agbaje, CEO of GTBank has never made a secret of the bank’s ambitions for the payment services in Nigeria. Hence, the licence is expected to unlock the tap for big investments in payment services.

For Agbaje there is no limit to how far GTBank is willing to go to secure a prime share of the payment market in Nigeria and Africa. This is likely to include acquiring the top-of-the-class technology equipment to ensure that HabariPay hits the ground running from day 1.

“You will have access to best-in-class engineering tools and resources to enable you to solve truly complex problems and develop game-changing payments solutions for the African market. We prioritise agility, we fail fast, we invest faster and we drive value for customers,” GTBank noted in the vacancy position for Product Owner.

Some experts however say the bank’s ambitions and willingness to deploy enormous resources may not necessarily see it through to unicorn status nor controlling the major share in the payment market in Africa.

One major barrier is Agbaje saying Habari will go it alone which could test GTBank’s ability to deploy quickly and meet high customer expectations doing so. Traditional banks do not have the best record for moving quickly and getting things done as fast customers demand them.

GTBank does not have an impressive record in managing customer expectations. Its bank branches across the country still overflow with customers who often leave with different experiences. But the bank has had a long experience in growing electronic payments.



Women in Business

Nonos Catering empowers women in business

Nonos Catering Service, a fast growing catering company in Lagos, is set to empower women in catering and events business via a one-day summit with successful female professionals in the Industry.

READ ALSO: M36 redefines digital investment in Nigeria

Organised by Nonos Catering Mentoring Initiative (NCMI), the summit tagged ‘Spend the Day with Successful Business Women in Catering and Events,’ holding on March 10, 2021 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, and would have notable successful women in the industry interact and teach the upcoming ones on how to build their businesses to become profit making ventures.

According to the managing director of NCMI, Abumere Uto’ the idea is for successful women who have reputable profit making businesses in catering and events to share their growth story to; inspire, motivate, empower and encourage the women who register to be NCMI mentees.

“By becoming a mentee, we hope that their businesses will gain more visibility, increase profit, employ better marketing strategies as well as reduce loss and wastage,” she said.

Buttressing on the vision which she birthed three years ago, Abumere pointed out that being a trainer and mentor to many women, she realised that there was a strong need to bridge the gap by bringing women at the business start-up stage to meet with established and successful women in the same line of business together.

She said: “I saw the eagerness to learn and hear the success stories of these women who inspired them on a daily basis.

“So on the 9th of March, 2018, I launched the NCMI by inviting 20 women that engage in the business of catering and events to understudy me for a day. The idea of the ‘meet and greet’ was to share my start up story, weaknesses and strengths, success stories and failures in the hope of; inspiring, correcting, motivating and empowering.

“It is my vision that the mentees of NCMI become women who network, collaborate, share business opportunities and increase the quality of their service and productivity. I want them to be women who will also increase their visibility through adverts and social media activities to create more business profitability and sales.

“Most importantly, I would want them to become mentees who will make better business decisions, reduce their cost prices and risks which in turn will guarantee the growth of their business from the time they joined NCMI.

“Through these benefits they are empowered to excel in their businesses as catering and events professionals in the Industry.”

Commenting on meeting the goals of the annual Summit, Uto who holds a Master Degree in Globalisation and Development from the University of Manchester, United kingdom, said her organising team observed the growth and keen interest of participants and decided to host a larger group as it received over 180 applications for the last mentoring initiative held on the 5th of September 2019.