Osinbajo To Launch MSME Clinic In Kwara

MSME Clinic, Yemi Osinbajo, KwaraActing President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is set to launch a three-day Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) clinic on Thursday, February 23 for viable enterprises in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

Recall that Acting President Osinbajo commissioned the Aba MSME clinic on January 26.

Aba is the commercial hub of Abia State in southeast Nigeria.

The Chief Operating Officer of the Kwara State MSME Bureau, Mr Segun Soewu, who made the disclosure in a statement on Monday, informed that the event would hold at the Banquet Hall, Ilorin by 10:00AM daily.

He described the clinic as an opportunity for MSME operators in the state to discuss the opportunities and challenges confronting their businesses.

The MSME Bureau boss added that business owners can also make inquiries about policies and regulations regarding their businesses from the Federal agencies that would be present at the programme.

He listed the agencies to include the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Export-Import Bank and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Others are Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Projects Development Institute, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure.

Mr Soewu asked intending participants to contact the office of the Chief Operating Officer of the Kwara State MSME Bureau at the Ministry of Commerce and Cooperatives, Gambari Road in Ilorin.

 

How Senators View Nigeria’s 2017 Budget

Senate on 2017 budgetAt least 30 Senators on Wednesday gave their views on areas they feel the Executive Arm of Government needs to focus on if the nation is to attain some level of socio-economic development.

It was the second plenary in the week presided over by Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President and the 2017 Budget was one major bill that deliberations focused on.

Some of the areas the senators want the government to prioritise are infrastructure and agriculture.

After the Senate President led the lawmakers into plenary, he demanded that Senators should make their individual contributions to the 2017 Budget.

Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso spoke on the need to have at least one per cent allocation of the budget to the Health Sector. The Senator also harped on the need for increased personnel provisions for salaries to avoid incessant strikes in the health sector in 2017.

Senator Nelson Effiong identified what he called the focus of the budget on local workforce and commended the five per cent VAT which he believes will build investor confidence.

He also commended the increase in budgetary allocations of the Amnesty Programme from 45 billion Naira in 2016 to 65 billion in 2017.

The low capital expenditure in the budget, was of concern to Senator George Sekibo, who warned that Nigeria was indeed broke and had no money.

He pointed out that there was an increase personnel cost in the 2017 Budget “even when we say we are saving costs” and demanded that contractors should be paid.

While Senator Bassey Akpan lamented the high budget deficit and the poor management of foreign exchange rates, fiscal and monetary policies, he also commended the increased budget allocation towards increasing agricultural production.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa commended the Executive for bringing the MTEF in good time as well as keying-into the revamp of railways.

“We must compare the 2016 Budget’s performance with the estimated allocations in the 2017 Budget,” he said, demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari should tell Nigerians how much funds they had recovered in order to ensure transparency.

Senator Shehu Sani expressed hopes that the allocation to Education in the budget would address the basic issues in the sector while Senator Yele Omogunwa spoke on the factual data and statistics of unemployed, widows and others for National Planning and budget implementation.

Senator Omogunwa further highlighted that Nigeria’s budgets do not have maximal impact due to corruption and mockingly called for the legalisation and liberalisation of corruption.

Senator Jide Omoworare spoke on the need to reduce recurrent and increase capital expenditure. “Government has to spend more.  The allocations for Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture should be increased as the nation moves move towards diversification, PPP and Concessioning.

“The Peace in the Niger Delta Region should be sustained and the time line on MTEF and Budgets be reviewed,” he requested.

The Senator further stressed that there was a need to look at developmental planning from the past and improve on it for the future.

On his part, Senator Dino Melaye told the Senate that “truth be told, the 2017 Budget is too ambitious” and that “we borrow to swagger”, harping on the need to develop Agriculture to liberate the economy.

Senator John Enoh, like a professional in developmental economics, focused on the need to increase salaries and wages; high personnel costs; deficit budget; borrowing and revenue projections towards the implementation of the budget.

Senator Biodun Olujimi questioned the success or otherwise of the Treasury Savings Account. She said the Federal Government was paying lip service to diversification.

Senator Matthew Urhoghide spoke on the non-implementation of the Abuja Declaration on allocations to the Health Sector.

Senator Urhoghide further told the 8th Senate that they owed Nigerians a duty to do the right thing by allocating for basic health infrastructures budget.

Senator Sola Adeyeye decried the allocation to the education sector, saying “Nigeria is a pathetically poor country with an entire education budget of 448 billion Naira being 20% of that of Harvard University”.

Senator Adeyeye further identified an increased debt servicing in the 2017 Budget and demanded that cost of government must be reduced.

He said: “We must strengthen our private sector. Power, Road, Railway and Refinery Infrastructure must be developed”.

Senator Abu Ibrahim appreciated President Buhari for plans towards stabilising the country, commending the Social Intervention Plans.

For Senator Ali Ndume, the budget passed annually by the Senate so far lacks details. He says Senators need to know the sub-heads.

Senator Ndume further stressed the need for the allocations towards the humanitarian crisis in the North East to be increased.

After several other Senators took turn to give their views on the budget, the Senate Leader moved that the plenary should be adjourned to the next legislative day, Thursday, to continue the debate on the budget.

Fitch Ratings Reviews Nigerian Banks’ Support Rating

Fitch Ratings, First Bank, seven energyFitch Ratings has revised down the Support Rating Floors (SRF) of 10 Nigerian banks to ‘no floor’ and downgraded nine banks’ Support Ratings (SR) to ‘5’ following a reassessment of potential sovereign support for the banking sector.

As a consequence, the long-term issuer default ratings of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, FBN Holdings PLC, Diamond Bank PLC, Fidelity Bank PLC, First City Monument Bank Limited and Union Bank of Nigeria PLC are downgraded to ‘B-‘ from ‘B’, in line with their stand-alone creditworthiness as defined by their viability ratings.

The agency has affirmed the long-term IDRS of Zenith Bank PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, Access Bank PLC, United Bank for Africa PLC, Wema Bank PLC and Bank of Industry (BOI).

The downgrade of the nine banks’ SRS and the revision of 10 banks’  SRFs to ‘no floor’ reflects Fitch’s view that senior creditors can no longer rely on receiving full and timely extraordinary support from the Nigerian sovereign if any of the banks become non-viable.

BOI, House Of Oduduwa Sign 1bln Naira Loan Agreement To Aid SMEs

oba-adeyeye-ogunwusi-and-waheed-olagunjuThe Bank of Industry in Nigeria and the House of Oduduwa in Osun State have signed a one billion Naira agreement that will make loan facilities available to both women and youths in Ile-Ife.

The loan was secured by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.

‎‎Prominent among the features of the Memorandum of Understanding is the 7.5% interest rate to the beneficiaries.

Oba Ogunwusi signed for the House of Oduduwa while the Acting Managing Director of ‎Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr Waheed Olagunju, represented the financial institution.

The monarch emphasised the need to get youths empowered, saying it was necessary for the nation’s continuous growth.

Reducing Youth Unemployment

He urged ‎other monarchs across the globe to be dedicated in developing the youths in their various communities so as to reduce the rate of unemployment in Nigeria.

“I challenge monarchs across the country to be dedicated to developing youths in their communities.

“I won’t mind going hungry to empower the youths. If the youths of today are empowered, many generations will benefit from them and poverty will be abolished.

“Today’s event is another giant step in the history of Ile-Ife. We are moulding the future of our youths in the areas of agriculture and agro-allied industry.

“I put a challenge to other monarch’s to engage in community partnership. We should stop relying on the government. There are so many initiatives that community leaders can tap into.

“Community leaders should go into partnership with multinational companies and financial institutions to benefit their people.

“This one billion Naira funding will obviously help the youth of the entire House of Oduduwa and beyond. This is a very good template that should be emulated by others. As monarchs, we should think of what we can do for our people and support the government in its empowerment moves,” he emphasised.

The Ooni further advised governments at all levels to set up a body that will particularly focus on local contents initiative.

“The body should also be responsible for quality assurance and‎ control. With this, over 60 per cent contracts will have local input,” he says.

On his part, Mr Olagunju explained that the initiative was aimed at reducing youth unemployment in communities.

“Feeding The Whole Nation”

A substantial part of the loan will be disbursed to women and businesses that show high sustainability, agriculture, solid minerals and services especially those who deal in Made in Nigeria Goods, he says.

“We have been partnering with multinational and corporate companies, but today we are collaborating with traditional rulers.

“These are people who have access to the grassroots. Partnering with them is a way of ‎democratising entrepreneurship. We identify areas in which communities have comparative advantages and invest in them.

“The beneficiaries will be selected using the world best practices.

“For this edition, about 15 to 20 per cent of them will be those who deal in local products. ‎

“We are working with the Entrepreneurship Centre of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. Applications are expected to be submitted and a joint committee of BoI team, the Oduduwa House and OAU team would access it.

“They are to be monitored by members of the committee and elders, especially the traditional rulers. We estimate that about 5,000 youths will benefit from this,” he explained.

Also at the signing ceremony was the Chief Executive Officer of Hephzibah Network, Olamide Awosunle‎. He estimated that with the loan, Ile-Ife would begin to supply food to South-West states.

“This is to complement the Agro-prenuership Summit and it will help to grow Ile-Ife and south western Nigeria.

“In a short time, Ile-Ife will be ‎feeding the whole nation and South-west states especially will depend on Ile-Ife to get food,” an optimistic ‎Olamide, who is the project director, added.

Ooni of Ife Urges Traditional Leaders To Support Youth Empowerment

Ooni of Ife, youth empowermentThe Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has challenged ‎other monarchs across the globe to be dedicated towards youth empowerment in their various communities, so as to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country.

Oba Ogunwusi said this at the signing of a one billion Naira Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between the ‎House of Oduduwa and the Bank of Industry, (BoI), which would provide loan facilities to both women and youths in Ile-Ife. Osun state.
‎‎
Prominent among the features of the MoU is the provision of one billion Naira loan at an interest rate of 7.5 % to the beneficiaries.

Oba Ogunwusi signed for the House of Oduduwa, while the Acting Managing Director of ‎BoI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, represented the financial institution.

The monarch emphasized the need to get youths empowered, saying that it was necessary for the nation’s continuous growth.

According to him, “I challenge monarchs across the country to be dedicated to developing youths in their communities.”

He said, “I won’t mind going hungry to empower the youths. If the youths of today are empowered, many generations will benefit from them and poverty will be abolished.

“Today’s event is another giant step in the history of Ile-Ife. We are moulding the future of our youths in the areas of agriculture and agro-allied industry.

Therefore, “I put a challenge to other monarch’s to engage in community partnership. We should stop relying on government. There are so many initiatives that community leaders can tap into.

ooni-of-ife-mou“Community leaders should go into partnership with multinational companies and financial institutions to benefit these people.

“This one billion Naira funding will obviously help the youth of the entire House of Oduduwa and beyond. This is a very good template that should be emulated by others. As monarchs, we should think of what we can do for our people and support government in its empowerment moves.

“Government at all levels should set up a body that will particularly focus on local contents initiative. The body should also be responsible for quality assurance and‎ control. With this, over 60% contracts will have local input.”

On his part, Waheed Olagunju explained that the initiative was aimed at reducing youth unemployment in communities.

According to him, a substantial part of the loan would be disbursed to women and businesses that show high sustainability, agriculture, solid minerals and services, especially those who deal in Made in Nigeria Goods.

He said, “We have been partnering with multinational and corporate companies, but today we are collaborating with traditional rulers. These are people who have access to the grassroots.

He stressed that partnering with them is a way of ‎democratizing entrepreneurship.

“We identify areas in which communities have comparative advantages and invest in them.

Explaining further he said: “The beneficiaries will be selected using the world best practices. For this edition, about 15 to 20% of them will be those who deal in local products. ‎We are working with the entrepreneurship centre of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

“Applications are expected to be submitted and a joint committee of BoI team, the Oduduwa House and OAU team would assess it.

“They are to be monitored by members of the committee and elders, especially the traditional rulers. We estimate that about 5,000 youths will benefit from this,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Hephzibah Network, Olamide Awosunle‎, estimated that with the loan, Ile-Ife would begin to supply food to South-West states.

“This is to complement the Agro-prenuership Summit and it will help to grow Ile-Ife and south Western Nigeria.

“In a short time, Ile-Ife will be ‎feeding the whole nation and South West states especially will depend on Ile-Ife to get food,” ‎Mr Awosunle stated.

BOI Signs Matching Funds’ Agreement With Benue State

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom BIO Matching fundThe Bank of Industry (BOI) has extended its aggressive plan to make funds available to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises across Nigeria to Benue State.

The bank on Tuesday signed a Matching Funds’ agreement with the state government.

So far, the BOI has signed Memorandum of Understanding with 20 states in an effort to empower small businesses and encourage local manufacturers at the state level.

Since the acting Managing Director of the bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju, mounted the saddle eight months ago, the bank has established counterpart funds with Abia, Sokoto and Katsina States.

The latest is the two billion Naira matching fund with the Benue State government, which brings the total sum of funds between BOI and different states to 18.2 billion Naira.

Benue State, which prides itself as the ‘food basket of the nation’, contributes a large per cent of Nigeria’s food production.

It sits quietly by the Benue River in Nigeria’s central region

Seventy per cent of its population embraces farming, cultivating a vast array of food and cash crops, like rice, peanuts, soybeans, citrus, yam, and palm, but many believe the food processing capacity could be further maximised.

Capacity development as well as introduction of modern techniques and equipment in farming are some aspects experts suggest must be explored, but these require huge funds to achieve.

The Governor, Samuel Ortom, who himself is a successful farmer, knows this well. He had invited the BOI to partner with the state.

Mr Ortom urged his people to maximise the opportunity.

After the dotted lines were signed, the Governor joined his colleagues from Abia, Kaduna, Katsina, and Sokoto, who have in the recent past, testified to the quality of leadership at the bank.

BOI Promises More Efforts At Wealth Creation

BOI, Financial Inclusion, EcobankThe Bank of Industry (BOI) says inspite of the nation’s challenges , it would continue to work towards enriching economic activities among Nigerians to reduce the  poverty rate.

The Divisional Head, Small and Medium Enterprises in the Southwest, Abdul-Aniyu Mohammed gave this assurance at the quarterly Customers’ Networking Forum for the Southwest region held in Osogbo the Osun State capital.

He added that the aim of the forum was  to create a proactive path and direction for small business owners and entrepreneurs‎, to interact with them and get to know what their pains were.

Other speakers also pointed out the need to redefine satisfying the customers ‎to retain the business relationship in the face of competition.

The Customers Forum was an avenue for the participants to bare their minds on issues bothering their minds and proffer possible solutions.

BoI Set To Re-Evaluate $9.8 Million Power Project In Ebonyi

Bank-of-Industry-BOIThe Acting Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Mr Rasheed Olagunju, on Wedesday said the bank will re-evaluate the viability of a $9.8 million bio-mass power project in Ebonyi State which it stopped funding a few years ago.

According to him, the Bank of Industry pulled out of that project after its initial evaluation that the cost of the project was bloated and the location was at a disadvantage to the rice processing industries the project intends to serve.

Mr Olagunju made the remarks during a meeting with the Governor of Ebonyi State in his office in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the State Governor, Mr Dave Umahi, has expressed confidence the re-evaluation of the project will lead to its completion.

He told journalists after the meeting with the management of the bank that the bio-mass project is a demonstration project that will be replicated in the state to aid rice production.

FG Flags Off 2016 Cashew Expansion Programme

cashewThe Federal Government has commenced the planting of 2,000 cashew seedlings to kick start the 2016 cashew planting season and Cashew Expansion Programme in Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

The Federal Government commenced the programme in line with its goal of reviving the agriculture sector and creating jobs for the youths,

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who flagged off the programme in Ogudu Village in Ife, Osun State said the government is determined to build the future of Nigeria by reviving cashew farming to make it earn more foreign exchange.

The Minister assured that the government will roll out two million cashew seedlings annually to sustain the programme.

Speakers at the event harped on the need for all to return to the farm especially the youths to help revive the sector as well as provide and create jobs for the unemployed.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola and others spoke about the health and financial benefits derivable from planting cashew should be the driving force to sustain the programme.

Mr Ogbeh re-affirmed the readiness of the Buhari – led administration to improve the lives of Nigerians through agriculture.

He assured that a cocoa and banana plantation programme will also be unveiled very soon .

‎The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, while speaking blamed the nation’s ailing economy on the total abandonment of agriculture, stressing that agriculture remains the largest employer of labour in the world.

The cashew plant is expected to begin to yield it’s fruits three years from now.

The event was graced by several traditional rulers, officials of the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture‎ and a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Bank Of Industry’s Solar Power Project Lights Up 200 Homes In Kaduna

Solar-power-panelThe Bank of Industry (BoI) has commissioned a solar powered electricity in Makarfi Local Government of Kaduna State, lighting up over 200 homes that were not connect to the national grid.

The electrification project covers a six km distribution network, and is also capable of providing commercial and domestic ventures with electricity.

At the commissioning of the project at Charwa and Chakun communities, acting Managing Director of the Bank, Waheed Olagunju, said the Rural Electrification Project was financed in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme.

He stated that the Rural Electrification Project was conceived by the bank not only to improve living standards of the rural dwellers, but also to boost economic activities in such areas.

Sufficient Solar Electricity

Prior to the installation of the solar power system, the over 200 households in the two villages like other remote communities across Nigeria, only ran individual electricity generators, spending huge amounts in buying petrol.

With the commissioning of the project, each home will have sufficient solar electricity to power at least three light bulbs and other gadgets. The consumers are expected to pay for only the energy they use.

Explaining the metering model, the BoI managing Director said payment would be on a pay-as-you-go basis, with each household provided with a pre-paid meter.

The MD Arnergy Solar Limited, Femi Adeyemo, who is the project consultant, gave a background of the project and its benefit while Governor Nasir El-Rufai, said that the state government would spend about 1.5 billion Naira to complete the 30 Megawatts Gurara Power Plant, to provide reliable electricity to industrial and domestic use.

Governor el-Rufai was represented by the Director General of Kaduna Power Supply Company, Dr Abdulkarim Mayere.

With the lighting up of the two communities after about 70 years of being in darkness, the Bank of Industry said it was ready to partner with all state governments on solar electrification projects in off-grid areas.

BOI To Train NASSI On Accessing Bank Loans

Bank-of-Industry-BOI-NASSI-BankPlans are underway by officials of the Bank of Industry (BOI) to commence training for members of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) on how to access loans.

The acting Managing Director of the bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju, disclosed this on Thursday at a meeting with officials of the association in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He said that a large chunk of owners of small businesses in the country fail to get loans from banks owing to lack of expertise on how to apply for loans.

On his part, the National President of NASSI, Ezekiel Essien, commended the BOI boss for the proposed training.

He promised a close collaboration with the Bank of Industry, to enable a robust business environment for members of the association.

Kaduna Government Commences Training Of 5,000 Youths

Youths, KadunaThe Kaduna State government has commenced the training of 5,000 youths on entrepreneurship under its ‘Start UP Entrepreneurship Programme’.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the first set of beneficiaries and induction of new ones on Wednesday, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said that the programme was targeted at training youths to learn skills that would help in transforming their lives.

He challenged the beneficiaries to explore the opportunity given them to become productive in their lives, so as to enhance their economic well-being and become self-reliant.

The Governor described the intervention as very critical and a major component for economic rejuvenation and prosperity of Kaduna State.

In his speech, the acting Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BOI), Waheed Olagunju, disclosed that the BOI and Kaduna State government contributed 500 million Naira each for the training and empowerment, which was executed in partnership with the Kaduna Business School.

He stressed that the programme was organised to support the accelerated development of the state through job creation, urging the beneficiaries to remain committed and responsible, in order to reap the benefit of the training.

In her address, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, said that the Federal Government has outlined quite a number of entrepreneurship programmes aimed at diversifying the economy and empowering youths in Nigeria.

She adviced the trainees to take the opportunity seriously in order to advance their lives.

The Kaduna Start UP Entrepreneurship Programme was initiated by the present administration in the state and it is aimed at creating more jobs, reducing poverty and restiveness among the youths.