COVID-19: Kano Govt Secures EU, Japan Grants To Help Individuals, SMEs

Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, spoke to reporters on Friday, February 7, 2020.
Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje


Kano state has secured Japan and the European Union (EU) Grants targeted at specific individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which would go along way in supporting communities badly affected by the pandemic.

Facilitated by Office of the Special Adviser to Governor Ganduje on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Habibu Yahaya Hotoro, who also happens to be the Coordinating Focal Person of the Northwest Zonal SDGs Hub, the programme would alleviate some fears of what people could face in POST-COVID-19 period.

In a statement signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary Abba Anwar said, “A total sum of $1.1m is slated for the exercise. In a Cash-For-Work arrangement, the total number of 1,600 individuals will benefit. While 630 SMEs will also be part of the beneficiaries in the grant distribution process.”

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in a letter referenced ORG/4071 and dated 3rd of August, 2020, signed by Lealem Dinku, Officer in Charge, UNDP Nigeria and captioned “Support to communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Kano state,” it is stated that, “the United Nations has undertaken several initiatives to support the communities affected by the pandemic.”

It earlier stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic has caused infections, deaths and untold hardships to the most vulnerable particularly the urban poor in hotspots locations across the nation.”

Mr. Anwar further stated that The letter sent to the governor continued that, “It is in this regard that UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria in collaboration with the government of Japan, has initiated a project to support selected vulnerable communities affected by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 to minimise the impact of job and livelihood losses and to also help contain the spread of the Virus.”

“We have identified Kano state as a key target state and will be working closely with your office and selected communities in implementing this initiative,” concludes the letter.

Meanwhile, the statement added that Governor Ganduje has already directed that, the most vulnerable people should be the target. As hinted by Hotoro,  “Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, after directing that our target should be the most vulnerable, he also made us open 500 new bank accounts for those who never benefited in any form of intervention in the past.”

Explaining that, governor Ganduje directed that all bank charges must be paid on behalf of those identified and selected beneficiaries, “All in an effort to effectively cushion the effect of the hardships caused by the pandemic,” he concludes.

CBN Resumes Dollar Sales For SMEs, School Fees


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has resumed the provision of foreign exchange to banks to enable parents to pay for school fees and to allow Small and Medium Enterprises to make essential imports.

This was announced in a statement by the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, on Wednesday.

“In view of the gradual easing of the COVID-19 lockdown both globally and in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has resumed provision of foreign exchange to all commercial banks for onward sales to parents wishing to pay school fees and SMEs wishing to make essential imports needed to revamp economic activities across the country,” the statement read in part.

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Based on the decision, the Central Bank will provide over US$100 million to banks.

In addition to the supply of dollars for the payment of school fees and essential imports by SME’s, the CBN says it has also “made complete arrangements to resume foreign exchange sales to the BDC segment of the market for business travels, personal travels, and other designated retail uses, as soon as international flights resume”.

This comes two days after President Muhammdu Buhari announced that there would be a phased easing of the lockdown in Lagos and Ogun states as well as the Federal Capital territory from Monday, May 4. The five-week lockdown was imposed to help halt the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The CBN’s decision also follows a decline in the value of the naira with the currency going for above 460 per dollar on the parallel market.

The country’s top bank, however, stressed that there is no need for panic or a resort to patronising illegitimate sources of foreign exchange as it is meeting dollar needs by end-users.

“With these actions, the CBN wishes to reiterate that it is adequately meeting the needs of all legitimate users, and our continued capacity to do so should not be in doubt,” the statement said.

“There is, therefore, no need for panic by an end-user that could necessitate recourse to illegitimate sources and spike in foreign exchange rates.”

To complement the measures in place, the bank plans to go after speculators and launch a crackdown on illegal activities in the foreign exchange market.

“Given this, the Bank has ramped up its surveillance of the foreign exchange markets for speculators, smugglers, and other illegal users, and will take decisive actions against anyone/institutions involved in such nefarious activities,” the CBN added.

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CBN Bars 18 Banks SME FX Funds

CBN Mandates Banks On PTAs, School FeesThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sanctioned 18 commercial banks, for their failure to “utilise any portion of funds allocated by the CBN, under the Small and Medium Enterprises window, since its inception four weeks ago”.

The ban which took effect from May 2, 2017, sees 18 banking firms barred from participating in the weekly wholesale spot and forward forex intervention exercises.

The CBN says it would not be lifted until all the affected banks have shown evidence of ”significant utilisation of the funds”.

Only eight commercial banks – Access, Zenith, Jaiz, Fidelity, Diamond, Heritage, Unity and Sterling banks have reportedly sold portions of the 100 million dollar per week payment by the CBN, for onward sale to SMES.

Bankers’ Committee To Support Small Business Holders

Bankers' Committee To Support Small Business HoldersThe Nigerian Bankers Committee is looking to increase funding support to infrastructure and Small and Medium Enterprises in 2017.

Some of the sectors mulled for such support include manufacturing and agriculture.

Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, outlined the plans at the final meeting of the bankers committee for 2016 in Lagos.

Mr emefiele explained that the facility would be generated from banks profit after tax.

CBN To Ease Access To Funds For SMEs

Godwin-Emefiele-Governor-of-Central-Bank-NigeriaThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has promised to streamline logistics and mechanisms to ease access to funds for the development of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs).

The Governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who announced the plan on Tuesday, said that of the 220 billion Naira earmarked for the sector in 2014 only about 80 billion Naira had been accessed so far.

He gave the update during the fact finding mission of the Presidential Task Force on Agricultural Commodity and Production led by the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu.

Also at the meeting was the Governor of Ogun State, Mr Ibikunle Amosun, who asked for more funds for cooperative societies in the agricultural sector to grow the state’s economy.

Earlier, the task force was taken round some of the farms in the state, where the farmers laid bare their demands, with access to financing topping their list.

The coordinator of Eriwe Fish Farm Village, Professor Olanipekun Alausa, spoke on behalf of some fish farmers in the state before they moved from farm to farm in Ijebu Ode, Kotopo Greenhouse Farm in Abeokuta and Eweje Farm Settlement.

The task force members were conducted round the farms where the CBN governor assured the farmers of easy access to SMEs funds.

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, also reeled out some of the plans of the Federal Government for the sector for cooperative societies in the state.

Findings by this task force is expected to form the fulcrum for the extended Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Federal Government for the state.

International Development Agency Empowers 5,000 SME’s In Osun

rauf-aregbesola-mouA UK agency, Department For International Development (DFID), in collaboration with the Osun state government is set to empower about 5,000 small scale business women and youth in the state.

This empowerment plan was made known at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between both parties, at the governor’s office in Osogbo, the capital of the state.

SME's, Osun
Team Leader, DFID

The leader of the team, David Joyner, said the scheme under the Growth and Empowerment in States (GEMS) arm of the DFID is aimed at providing jobs, creating wealth and in turn eradicating poverty.

He says the programme will also facilitate better connection between small and medium enterprises.

To achieve this, he said the public sectors’ Ministry of Industry and Ministry of Agriculture would be in full partnership.

‎Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, added that the collaboration between the state and the subsidiary agency of DFID is a veritable framework for development of small scale business enterprises to create wealth and banish poverty in the state.

Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola

According to him, “it is not for lack of opportunities that we are poor, but our inability to creatively engage our people”.

He therefore asserted that human development was what Nigeria must do to help its people out of the current economic recession.

The scheme is targeted towards empowering soap makers, livestock rearers, local plantain chip makers and traditional mat weavers among others.

Awka Residents Protest Against Poor Electricity Supply

EEDC, Awka, Protest, electricityElectricity consumers in Awka the Anambra state capital, have called on the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company to speed up the installation of transformers, that would aid in the improvement of power supply in the area.

In a protest involving mainly traders from various communities, residents of Awka stormed the office of the EEDC carrying placards with various inscriptions.

According to them, the persistent low power supply is badly hurting their businesses.

Electricity is a basic necessity with which many businesses can thrive.

However, the absence of it has caused a lot of discomfort for business owners who compulsorily have to resort to other means to generate power or face the risk of a fallen business.

Hospitals, media organisations, SME’s such as frozen food sellers, beauty salons, cyber businesses among others have to run on generators which consume a lot of fuel and eat deep into their pockets.

With the pump price of fuel having recently gone up and the current economic situation in Nigeria, business owners continue to complain of little profit to show for their efforts.

In a bid to help the economic situation, many financial analysts have offered various suggestions on diversifying the economy of the oil-focused nation, back into areas like agriculture and manufacturing.

There are hopes that as financial institutions, the government and the private sector jointly work towards stabilising the economy, SMEs in Nigeria would soon begin to find doing business less difficult.

Recession: Obiano Suspends Minor Taxes In Anambra

Anambra, Obiano, Taxes, RecessionAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has suspended payment of numerous minor taxes in the state, announcing that the directive will take immediate effect.

In a broadcast at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia, southeast Nigeria, he said the decision followed the announcement of the Federal Government that the nation’s economy had gone into recession.

The Governor noted that his administration was aware of the difficulty the economic crisis had posed to the people of the state.

Four Intervention Stimulus

He said the state government had come up with a “four-intervention stimulus package”, to ease the pain of recession and its impact on the people in the grassroots majorly.

Governor Obiano identified the first part of the four key areas of intervention as the “Tax Relief Programme” in which various minor taxes would be suspended.

The second is the “Special Intervention Programmes for Small and Medium Enterprises and Large Enterprises” where the state government, under the Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA), would provide the agency with a minimum of three billion Naira to lend to SMEs and MSMEs at nine per cent interest rates across key sectors.

Under the third intervention, which is the “Social Intervention Programme”, the government would provide the sum of 3.6 billion Naira to fund the ongoing 20 million Naira “Choose-Your-Project Community Programme” in all the 179 communities in the state.

The last programme is the “Infrastructure Intervention for Job Creation” in which the government would fund the development of 500 hectares of land in all agrarian communities across the three senatorial zones for commercial agricultural purposes among other measures.

Governor Obiano believes that Anambra State has the manpower, the material resources and the willpower to turn the looming despair and suffering to hope and prosperity for its people.

GDP Contracted In second Quarter

Nigeria’s economic recession had become obvious few weeks ago, after a report by the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the Gross Domestic Product had contracted by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) retained all key indicators.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, read a communique, announcing decisions reached at its September meeting in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The committee agreed to keep the Monetary Policy Rate at 14 percent, the Cash Reserve Ratio at 22.50 percent and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 percent.

SON Acting DG Decries Absence Of Agency At Ports

SON, Standards OrganizationThe Acting Director General of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, says the absence of the agency at the various ports in the country has destroyed the economy, made local industries unattractive and created a lot of unemployment among the youths.

Dr. Angya was speaking to journalists at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia, when he paid a visit to Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano.

The visit was ahead of the one-day sensitization seminar organized by SON to enlighten the local population, SMEs, and big industrial holdings and manufacturers on the benefits of application of standards to their production processes and products.

He said that several representations have been made to the federal government through the supervising Ministry of Trade and Investment and through the National Assembly to ensure the return of SON to the ports.

This according to him would help curb the overwhelming importation of sub-standard products into the country.

He said that response has come from the National Assembly through a visitation to the agency’s facilities but hopes were thin on the possibility of immediate reversal of the decision by the federal government due to issues of bureaucracy.

The Platform Advocates People Driven Economic Development

Poju Oyemade-The Platform-Economic Development
The Platform Convener, Pastor Poju Oyemade.

The Nigerian government has been tasked on the need for economic growths that are driven by people and not the government.

Speakers at a press conference preceding the 11th/13th edition of a global media event, The Platform, made the appeal on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

They believe the growth is not achievable unless Nigerians begin to find capital in obvious places that have previously been overlooked and draw resources out of those things.

The Convener, Pastor Poju Oyemade, said that it was high time Nigerians were guided towards discovering the numerous opportunities they hold in their hands and tap into what was thought to be dead capital.

He added that this edition of The Platform would focus on technology, SMES as economic vehicles, arts and entertainment, as well as how to use the power of data to unlock national potentials.

In his speech, the Managing Director of Brava Energy, Harold Obasohan, said that discussions on public education and enlightenment were necessary to bring about economic changes that are people driven and not government.

He added that citizens must move ahead and dictate what government brings at every point.

An international media consultant, Linus Idahosa, also stressed that Nigerians must learn the principle of starting out work for free and building strong clientele base, irrespective of their discipline or economic disposition.

The event is designed to facilitate growth in the areas of personal capacity and productivity towards national development.

It will also examine the untapped ability in the numerous assets of the country, which are capable of growth and can generate surplus as well as encourage Nigerians to disregard obvious challenges and aim for success.

Unemployment: Nigeria Needs More Venture Capital Firms – Nweze

Austin NwezeA professor at the Pan Atlantic University, Austin Nwaeze, has urged the Nigerian government to emulate Israel’s system of funding small businesses, which will in turn create more jobs for the largely unemployed populace.

“In Israel, as small as it is, they have close to (between) 240 and 300 venture capital firms. These are the people that can understand risks,” he said, noting that conventional banks do not have the capacity to understand such risks.

Following the recent announcement by the National Bureau of Statistics, about the number of jobs created in 2014, Nweze commended the agency for its pro activeness under the current government, noting that unemployment figures are needed to help the government plan and also make policies to improve sectors providing jobs.

He noted that the informal sector, which had created more jobs in the past two quarters, needed a lot of attention as “government cannot create jobs”. He stressed that it is “entrepreneurship that creates jobs.”

According to him, small business make up the “engine growth of any economy” and if they do not thrive, the economy is headed for a fall.
“So we need to begin to make policies that would make it possible for this sector to grow”, he noted, berating government’s method of “encouraging small businesses to grow.”

He noted that funds were not available to small businesses and the problem of multiple taxation had not been eliminated.

Although President Goodluck Jonathan recently launched the National Council On Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to solve the prevailing problems, Nweze opined that the council would still demand “an arm and a leg” in exchange for loans.

“The thing is that, we are making a mistake by solving a problem by creating more problems. Now, until we begin to recognise the importance of Venture Capital firms, private equity firms.

“These are the people that will help. They have helped create finance businesses, encourage entrepreneurship.


Kaduna State, BOI, BOA Sign 2Billion Naira MoU on Agric, SMEs

Kaduna State Governor Yero

The Kaduna State Government on Wednesday signed a 2billion Naira Agriculture, SMEs development fund partnership agreement with the Bank of Industry and the Bank of Agriculture for industrial development and agricultural revolution.

Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Government House, Kaduna, Governor Muktar Yero said that SMEs remained a critical aspect in implementing the industrialization policy of his government, reduce poverty and create employment, urging the people of the state to key into the SME programme for the creation of wealth and job opportunities.

While assuring the partners of the judicious use of the funds, he maintained that Government has put in place, measures to closely monitor the would-be beneficiaries of the SME programme for effective management of the fund.

Speaking to newsmen after signing the agreement, the Managing Directors of the two banks said that the partnership with the Kaduna State Government was to encourage small scale industries and farmers in the state and also to reduce the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the country.

As part of the agreement, the Kaduna State Government would provide the sum of one billion Naira as its own counterpart fund, while the Bank of Industry and Agriculture would provide N500, 000 each.

The loan would be given to the beneficiaries at 8% interest rate.