Paylink partners Google to train 15,000 MSMEs in Nigeria

To help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and reposition them to take advantage of opportunities of a post-COVID future, Paylink, a payment and ecommerce solution for individuals, businesses and non-profits, has partnered with tech giant, Google.

READ ALSO: Elumelu advocates strategic long-term investment to tackle poverty in Africa

The partnership is particularly geared towards empowering MSMEs with the digital expertise they require to thrive through the Paylink MSME Digital Bootcamp.

The organiser of the bootcamp, SystemSpecs, providers of Paylink, made this disclosure during the formal announcement of the expression of participation to MSMEs across Nigeria for the free seminar supported by Google.

Through a series of online trainings, MSMEs in Nigeria will be equipped with the relevant digital skills necessary to drive and scale their businesses in the digital era, recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as sustain their business on a long term.

As a developing country, MSMEs form the bedrock of enterprise and employment in Nigeria.

A statement by the Ministry of Trade and Investment says Nigeria’s over 37.07 million MSMEs account for more than 84 per cent jobs in the country.

MSMEs also account for about 48.5 per cent of the gross domestic product as well as about 7.27 per cent of goods and services exported out of the country.

The Ministry of Trade and Investment further stated that micro-enterprises, which are the smallest businesses, account for the bulk of the MSMEs in Nigeria with 36,994,578 enterprises (about 99.8 per cent).

Commenting on the partnership, SystemSpecs’ Executive Director, Corporate Strategy, ‘Deremi Atanda, said: “With more than 41 million MSMEs spread across the length and breadth of the country, it is clear that if these enterprises are empowered to attain their true potentials, they would significantly impact all strata of our economy and society at large.

“This is one of the reasons we have partnered with Google, a reputable organisation that deals with businesses across various segments of the Nigerian marketplace, to equip enterprises in the micro, small and medium-scale cadre with key requirements to thrive in a post-COVID economy.

“It is our conviction that MSMEs are an essential stakeholder group in the Nigerian project and we are committed to advancing their causes.”

Covering themes that include brand building, business growth and tools for business management and to hold on selected days in the months of March, April and May, 2021, the training leverages Google’s Digital Skills Africa programme for existing and prospective Paylink subscribers.

“COVID-19 forced many businesses to re-think their strategies and challenged long-standing entrepreneurial approaches. Among others, it brought forth the need to adopt a digital-first strategy in order to reach an extensive and largely unexplored market and ultimately grow bottom-line,” said Google Nigeria’s Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan.

“While a number of MSMEs are aware of this progressive direction, many are not. As with our other trainings, partnering with SystemSpecs to train current and prospective Paylink customers will go a long way in empowering more stakeholders in Nigeria’s MSMEs space,” Ehimuan added.

Paylink.NG is a secure and seamless solution that helps individuals, MSMEs, religious organisations, not-for-profits, social media sellers, crowd funders, event planners, freelancers and others, to receive payments through multiple means, by sharing a customised link.


Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

TEF to prioritise economic recovery of SMEs in 2021

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) entrepreneurship programme says the seventh edition will prioritise the economic recovery of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) following the global disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: We want to partner with skilled artisans within Enugu

Somachi Chris-Asoluka, director of partnerships and communications at TEF, who disclosed this, equally wants applicants for the 7th edition of the programme to ensure that their applications reach the foundation before the March 31 deadline. Application for the programme commended on January 1, hosted on the Tefconnect digital platform (

According to Chris-Asoluka, entrepreneurs’ full participation would create a pathway to economic prosperity.

“This year, we have the capacity to empower more African entrepreneurs than ever, further ensuring that they have adequate training, funding, and mentorship to boost their performance.

It is time for young African entrepreneurs to embrace this much-needed support system to enable thriving and sustainable economic activity. We believe we will continue to see an exponential change in sectors across the continent,” she said.

Chris-Asoluka said that the programme would empower over 3,500 young African entrepreneurs in collaboration with global partners in order to address the challenges arising from the pandemic, adding that the goal was to lift millions out of poverty and create sustainable employment across the continent.



How SMEs can scale up under the AfCFTA

SMEs can to take advantage of the incentives provided under the new Finance Act to scale up under the AfCFTA.

READ ALSO: Access Bank unveils SwiftPay to boost Digital Payments for SMEs

Independent of the AfCFTA, the Federal Government of Nigeria has in recent times embarked on some far-reaching reforms aimed at enhancing ease of doing business both for the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (“SMEs”) and across other strata of business in Nigeria. Some of these reforms can be seen in the areas of policies, laws, business formation and registration, post-incorporation filings and taxation. Two of the legislative instruments which are critical to these reforms deserve some mention here:

Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA, 2020)

The signing of CAMA, 2020 into law by President Muhammad Buhari on 7th August 2020 came as a very cheering news to the SMEs community. Some of the provisions which impact directly on SMEs include but not limited to the following (i) a single member/shareholder for a private company (ii) minimum share capital in place of authorized share capital. This allows promoters of business to pay for only shares that are needed at the point of incorporation; (iii) exemption of SMEs, small companies or companies with single shareholders from the requirement of appointing Auditors to audit their financial records (iv) filing, share transfer and meetings can be done electronically by private companies (v) Statement of compliance which was hitherto signed by legal practitioners can now be signed by the business owner or his agent (vi) introduction of Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnership thereby providing options for promoters who may want to incorporate partnership instead of limited liability companies (vii) Appointment of company secretary now optional for private companies (viii) AGMs and other company meetings can now be held virtually, amongst other reforms.

Finance Act, 2020

Complementing the reforms under the CAMA 2020 is the Finance Act. Enacted first in 2019, the Act was further expanded and re-enacted to among other things address the negative impacts of COVID 19 on small businesses and this led to the new Finance Act, 2020. The new Finance Act was signed into law on 31 December 2020 and took effect from 1st January 2021. It introduced over 80 amendments to 14 different laws such as the Personal Income Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act, Capital Gains Tax Act, Value Added Tax Act, Customs & Excise Tariff Act, Tertiary Education Trust (TET) Fund Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act, Public Procurement Act, CAMA, Nigerian Export Processing Zone Act and Oil and Gas Export Processing Free Zone Act. SMEs are expected to take advantage of the incentives provided under the new Act. SMEs with a turnover of less than N25 Million are exempted from Companies Income Tax and TET tax amongst other incentives. SMEs engaged in primary agricultural production are qualified for pioneer status for an initial period of four years and an additional two years.

MSME Survival Fund

In a bid to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses, the Federal Government of Nigeria launched the N75 Billion Survival Fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). The Fund which was touted as part of the economic sustainability Plan of the Federal government is meant to support small businesses to meet basic operational needs and provide funding in order to boost the production capacity of MSMEs in Nigeria.


The aforementioned reforms and policy interventions provide the needed environment for small businesses in Nigeria and the coming of the AfCFTA could not have been at a better time. The critical question remains, how SMEs can leverage the opportunities provided under the AfCFTA to scale up their operations. SMEs are often considered the economic backbones particularly in developing countries as they account as major contributors to the GDP and in the area of job creation. Nigeria has a vibrant SME ecosystem. Out of the 95 Million SMEs in Africa, over 45 Million of them are in Nigeria. Thus, on the continent Nigeria plays a huge role, accounting for close to 50% of SMEs. In terms of economic impact, SMEs contribute 48% of national GDP in Nigeria, make up the 96% of businesses and contribute 84% of employment. Despite the contribution to the economy, SMEs in Nigeria in particular, have continued to grapple with the challenges of high cost of capital and lack of access to funding as well the inability to compete globally. Due to the largely informal nature of SMEs in Nigeria, obtaining data for the purpose of planning has also been difficult. On this, the role of Small & Media Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in amongst other things, formalization of SMEs in Nigeria should be encouraged.

One of the objectives of AfCFTA is providing free movement of goods and services on the continent and it is expected that the new trade bloc will afford SMEs the opportunities to scale up and lead to value chain aggregation across Africa. In addition to the limitations identified above, poor infrastructure, multiplicity of regulations and taxes and lack of skills in international trade equally militate against the growth of SMEs. To make matters worse, most SMEs often fail to appreciate the role of professional advisors such as lawyers in the formative stage of their business. The role of trusted professional advisors in navigating the regulatory bottlenecks should not be a trade-off for cost-saving measures as the value of these technical and professional services to SMEs cannot be over-emphasized.

To increase global competitiveness of the SMEs, harmonization of business rules and regulations across Africa is required. Governments in the member States should invest heavily not only in physical infrastructures but in digital technology as most SMEs particularly those in service sector rely on internet and digital platforms to drive their operations. For instance, the expected gains under the CAMA, 2020 have not been fully actualized as recent experience has shown that SMEs still face challenges accessing and using the Corporate Affairs Commission’s online platform because of slow and poor services. Related to this is the need for patient capital to encourage start-ups in order to drive innovations amongst the teaming youths.



TAX: Oman to cut income tax on SMEs

According to state television, Oman will reduce income tax for small and medium enterprises in 2020 and 2021, as well as give long-term residency permits to foreign investors.

READ ALSO: NSE completes demutualisation

The proposals, which were reported on state television, are part of Oman’s Vision 2040, which aims to diversify the economy away from oil, which accounts for the majority of the country’s revenue.

Oman’s economy is one of the poorest in the Gulf, having been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices. Last month, the International Monetary Fund predicted that the economy will contract by 6.4 percent in 2020, with a moderate rebound to 1.8 percent growth this year.

Income tax will also be lowered for businesses that will start operating this year in sectors aimed at economic diversification.

Until the end of 2022, Oman will also reduce rent in the Duqm Special Economic Zone and industrial areas.

It said granting longer residencies for foreign investors would be done “in accordance with specific controls and conditions that will be announced later after their study is completed by the Council of Ministers, in addition to incentives related to the market.”

The cabinet also approved a long-term urban growth strategy that “is considered a key enabler for achieving Oman Vision 2040,” state TV said citing Oman’s ruler, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said.



Policies, Taxes Killing SMEs in Nigeria—Expert

Executive Director of Jos Business School, Mr Ezekiel Gomos, has disclosed that with the tough operating environment and high taxes in Nigeria, SMEs can never survive to propel national development.

READ ALSO: Insurance Plan for SMEs in Nigeria

Mr Gomos, speaking on Tuesday in Abuja at the 22nd Annual Conference of Certified National Accountants organised by the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), stated that small businesses were failing at the moment due to tough operating environment, including infrastructure, regulation, policy and taxes.

In his presentation titled ‘SMEs as Engine of Economic Development in Nigeria,’ the business school boss urged government to create business friendly laws, taxes, policies and regulations that would needed to encourage SMEs by needed to encourage SMEs by needed to encourage Small and Medium-scaled Enterprises by encourage SMEs in the country.

He noted that by doing this, the country’s economy would boom and more Nigerians will want to explore their God-given talents for national development.

At the conference themed ‘Sustainable Economic Management in a Recession: Issues, Strategies and Options,’ Mr Gomos said, “Nigerian SMEs cannot drive economic development in the 21st century with 20th century infrastructure. There is need to develop clusters or industrial parks with basic infrastructure for Small and Medium-scaled Enterprises.

“Also, on access to finance, there is need to make the processes and procedures to access finance less cumbersome and complex.

“We must find innovative solutions to unlock sources of capital, while the need for SME Credit Guarantee Scheme is long overdue.”


Insurance Plan SME

Insurance Plan for SMEs in Nigeria

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) tend to cycle outside the insurance loop for reasons ranging from ignorance to cost.

READ ALSO: Nigeria to reward every diaspora dollar inflow with N5

Corporate calculations at the lower part of the enterprise ladder appear to be different from calculations nearer the top, resulting in smaller enterprises preferring to take bigger uncovered risk.

Insurance for small firms is like dashing into the rain without an umbrella the consequence could be uncomfortable, but the choice is more the result of the lack of knowledge than the lack of money.

 Analysts in growing numbers are beginning to realise that small businesses do not insure their assets not because they do not want to, but because they cannot afford to, or so they think.

The problem with small enterprise insurance appears to be a perception of cost rather than an understanding of loss.

Smaller-sized entrepreneurs tend to cost their goods or services without considering cost of insurance, thereby undervaluing the cost of their goods or services.

The consequence is that in a time of crisis they end up sorry rather than safe.

Data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that local SMEs contributed about 48% of the national GDP in the last five years.

With a total number of about 17.4 million, they account for about 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of the manufacturing sector, by number of enterprises.

The NBS report suggests that SMEs support industrialization and employment.  

More advanced economies have equally used SMEs to grow industries and promote development.

What is an SME? Running The Numbers

SMEs may look trivial, but they are the bedrock of several stable global economies.

Base research data indicates that the total cost of starting a micro enterprise (including working capital but excluding cost of land) is N5m but not exceeding N50m, with a labour size of 10 workers.

The total cost of starting a small enterprise (including working capital but excluding cost of land) is between N5m and N100m, but not exceeding N200 million, with a labour size of between 11 and 50 workers, while the total cost of starting a medium-sized enterprise (including working capital but excluding cost of land) is between N100m and N500m, with a labour size of between 51 and 200 workers.

Funding SMEs; The Search for Longevity and Stability

SMEs are usually faced with financial dark holes which have persistently led to their failure.

Despite a few federal and state-sponsored funding schemes for smaller businesses, several SMEs have hit the deck as they quickly run out of cash or find themselves buried under a heap of commercial debt.

Funding has been a key operational problem for SMEs as poor management capacity, weak record keeping, lack of operational transparency and no collateral conspire to keep SMEs out of the formal banking sector credit market.

Aside the lack of funds, other challenges that face SMEs include the lack of skilled manpower, multiplicity of taxes, high cost of doing business, and the low threshold for absorbing economic shocks.

…The Other Problems

Additionally, SMEs are confronted with risk-related issues ranging from, changing taste and preferences of consumers, economic vulnerability, infrastructural constraints such as poor power supply, inadequate supply of potable water, poor access roads, high cost of equipment, high rate of domestic inflation, management risk, marketing risk, reputation risk, natural disasters such as earthquakes, fire outbreak, and floods (especially in the farm belts), social unrest, and arson (like during the EndSARS protests).  

As an entrepreneur the best way to manage risk associated with a business (asides risks associated with managerial or operational competence) is by getting an insurance cover.

It is important to note that risks might be the reason why a venture capitalist would not invest in a business.

Nevertheless, before getting an insurance cover it would be reasonable to profile the business’s risk to determine the appropriate insurance policy to buy.

Admittedly, some of the risks of businesses are unforeseeable (‘black swans’) while others are known but the timing is unpredictable (‘grey swans’).

In identifying risks, it is important to understand that SMEs are businesses in the private sector, and they cut across all industries so, the nature of risk varies according to the industry.

The responsibility falls on the business owner to identify the risk associated with the industry and purchase insurance that reflect those industry-specific risks.

Some risks are uninsurable, in this situation the entrepreneur would do well to still approach an insurance professional to help in assessing the impact of an unforeseeable loss on the type of business the entrepreneur is engaged in and review the best risk-protection strategy.

In such situations, small businesses could self-insure by saving money for possible future losses.

A variety of insurance schemes or plans are critical to risk protection of SME businesses the kinds of risk protection arrangements include: Liability Insurance, Business Property Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance, Health Insurance, Life Insurance and so on.

All About the Plans

SMEs require standard fare insurance protection schemes some of which include the following:

Fire and Risk Insurance Plan

Fire and Risk Insurance is a vital insurance plan for SME in Nigeria.

It covers your business against, earthquakes, fire outbreak, tsunami, flood, social unrest, intentionally inflicted damages that may occur in the line of your business.

An example was what happened during the end SARS protest that affected business premises and markets.

This insurance plan will protect your business against loss or damage because of rain, flood, and storm. 

Under this plan, your insurer will pay back all your losses, giving you the capital, you need to resuscitate your SME. 



Nigeria’s SMEs Get FSD Africa Lifeline For Financial Inclusion

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on businesses across countries, the UKaid has announced an incentive package to support the growth and stability of small and medium enterprises in Africa including Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Highlights Strength of SMEs

The UK aid-funded financial inclusion organisation FSD Africa made the announcement according to a statement by FSD Africa.

With COVID-19 impacting on small and medium sized businesses in Nigeria, a new Private Equity and Private Debt Programme from FSD Africa and the Private Equity and Venture Capital Association of Nigeria will aim to improve the long-term financing available for SMEs in key sectors of Nigeria’s economy, including agriculture and healthcare, the statement said.

It said that given the significant contribution of SMEs to Nigeria’s economy, FSD Africa’s programme hopes to address the obstacles to this sector’s growth.

While quoting a report by PwC, the statement noted that SMEs in Nigeria contribute 48% of national GDP, accounting for 96% of businesses and 84% of employment.

“Long term financing options are essential to ensuring that the SME sector can continue to play a significant role in providing employment opportunities and adding value to Nigeria’s economy.

“The programme will support the development of private capital markets to help SMEs to access long-term financing through technical assistance, grants and investment capital,” the statement said.

The statement added that FSD Africa and its partners will also be conducting sessions where key players in Nigerian investment, business and regulation will be invited to provide their specialised knowledge about the local private equity and debt environment.

SOURCE: The Fact

Osibanjo to NIPSS

Osinbajo Highlights Strength of SMEs

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has restated the belief of the federal government in the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises to stimulate economic activities and provide jobs.

He made the remark as the keynote speaker at the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy, where the consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) provided access to training for over 700 SMEs during.

SEE ALSO: Enugu SME Center in Partnership with iCreate Africa need ‘Experts’

According to the Vice President, “The federal government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities.

“The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses especially during this current crisis.”

The plenary session at the academy with the theme: ‘SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building,’ brought senior government and private sector leaders to discuss proven strategies that could be leveraged to drive the growth and development of local SMEs as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development.

Also, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo reiterated the need to create a favorable business environment for SMEs in Nigeria.

He said: “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs the required support and trainings needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory. “We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation. We are grateful to organisations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director, P&G Nigeria, Mr. Adil Farhat highlighted the need to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria, saying they have the potential to out rightly transform the country.

Farhat added that, “in line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialisation and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains.

“For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens”.

Furthermore, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, in his presentation reiterated the importance of the SME Academy, especially during the challenging economic situation across the globe.

“The maiden edition was held in October 2019. This second edition and first virtual event has been expanded to incorporate structured trainings. This initiative has become particularly important in this era of the covid-19 pandemic and current global economic challenges, which has left many SME businesses struggling to survive now. The Bank of Industry remains committed to transforming Nigeria’s economic sector through funding, strategic partnerships and strengthening of our technology and operations.”

This year’s SME Academy also featured key stakeholders in the industry including Ms. Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; Mrs. Bola Adesola, the Senior Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank; Mrs. Tara Fela-Durotoye, the CEO of House of Tara International; and other experts on procurement, investment facilitation, and access to finance.



Covid-19: Osinbajo, Okonjo-iweala, Kaberuka outline measures to revive the economy, boost SMEs

Yemi Osinbajo, vicepresident of Nigeria, has said the Muhammadu Buhari administration would formulate policies to aid local production of goods, while also creating the requisite environment to aid local industries.

Osinbajo said the administration plans to invest in the housing sector by building 30 million homes for Nigerians in five years, while the labour and raw material would be sourced locally to create jobs and boost local industries.

He stated this on Friday while featuring in a Covid-19 webinar interactive with the theme: ‘Economy sustainability beyond covid-19’.

The interaction was organised by the em manuel chapel methodist Church.

The interaction also featured Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala former finance minister in Nigeria and current chair- Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance, and Donald Kaberuka, former president of the African Development Bank (ADB).

Osinbajo further said that the Federal Government was planning to boost the power sector by investing more in renewable energy, liberalising the sector to encourage private investment in whose tariff would be service driven.

Speaking further, Osinbajo added that the liberalism of the power sector had reduced the subsidy regime and saved a huge significant amount of money for the federal government.

According to him, “If we have a cost effective value chain it would make the Gencos and Discos to have their value chain. The critical thing is to make the market based system work.

“NEC has proposed a system where the Gencos can go and negotiate the price with their customer on service. Through this we can reduce the subsidy regime which has consumed money in the country.

“We intend to build 30 million homes in five years it is an opportunity to grow the local industry and develop the housing programme; We thought we can generate jobs, because we intend using local materials, the engineers, architecture would all be source locally and we can give them 20 or 10 houses to build in some states.

Also speaking Donald Kaberuka advised African leaders that providing a relief package for the citizenry to cushion the effect of the covid-19 was crucial than projecting economic growth.

Kaberuka identified policy inconsistency as the reason for retarded growth witnessed in several African countries over the years, while urging Africans to take extra precautionary measures toward safe-guarding the economy and empowering their citizens because the Covid-19 may stay for long.

“This is a crisis like no other, the government has reduced lockdown because people have to survive; what is happening to families matters, providing support for households is more important than saying my country is growing at 7%,” Kaberuka said.

Also speaking , Iweala outlined the achievements of the African Union (AU) in mitigating the virus in the continent, stressing that AU was putting measures in place that make newly discovered vaccines accessible and affordable to every class of persons in the society.

“The lockdown was necessary because of the increasing number of the virus across countries in the continent and it was to tell the people the severity of the infection.

“We don’t want a situation where the vaccine, if it is discovered, is bought off by the rich countries, that is why we are taking measures so that the poor countries can see it,” Iweala said.

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