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Small and Medium Businesses can catalyze Nigeria’s growth via digital financial services

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With financial services driving 27 percent of GDP growth in Nigeria’s Q2 numbers, small and medium enterprises have been urged to leverage digital financial services in deepening value for improved productivity and business performance even as the nation’s economy continues to confront several head winds.

This counsel was shared on the sidelines of the recently held Lagos International Trade Fair with the theme, Navigating Economic Challenges, Forging a Path to Prosperity, where leading digital financial services provider, Moniepoint Inc served as the official fintech partner at the 37th edition which was organized by the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Speaking with journalists at the 10-day event which ended on Sunday, Vice President, Sales and Partnerships, Moniepoint Inc, Ifeanyi Duru noted that the Fair’s theme was apt and relevant to all businesses operating in Nigeria at this critical juncture of the nation’s socio-economic development.

“This year’s fair is significant because it coincides with the LCCI’s 135th anniversary and we are proud to be associated with such an illustrious brand. We recognize the importance of fostering connections and forging paths to prosperity, especially in the face of economic challenges that confront businesses and consumers. We remain resolute and committed to powering the dreams of millions of individuals and businesses. This event aligns with our mission to drive financial inclusion and economic empowerment, and we are delighted to be contributing to its overall success,” Duru said.

He furthermore stressed that digital financial services can have a tangible impact on financial inclusion and the economy at large. DFS enhances the financial capabilities of consumers, catering to underserved segments of the population, and leveraging high mobile phone availability in Nigeria to foster economic growth by enabling new business models.

Asiwaju Dr Michael Olawale-Cole, LCCI President/Chairman of Council, who noted that this year’s trade fair, which is the last he’d be conducting as chair is the largest exhibition for businesses across Africa, has held for an unbroken chain of 37 years and remained pivotal for networking businesses for wealth creation in the diverse eco-system.

“Over the years, the trade fair has grown to be another significant milestone in the economic life of Nigeria and the broader African continent. There is need to acknowledge the challenging economic environment that Nigeria has been facing in recent times, saying that “though some are necessary, these challenges have tested our resilience and have called for innovative solutions to foster economic growth and prosperity for our nation and for our people,” he said.

He thanked Moniepoint Inc and other organizations who supported the fair for coming through for the Chambers and lauded members of the LCCI Trade Promotion Board under the Chairmanship of Engr. Leye Kupoluyi for an outstanding performance. He noted that the organizers have taken note of the feedback vis-a-vis areas that require improvement, assuring that this will reflect in the 2024 LITF edition.

Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, who spoke virtually at the closing ceremony said that “To navigate the economic challenges and forge a path to prosperity, the Lagos State Government, particularly through the Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment is willing and ready to interface with you all, as we push the agenda of the present administration to support businesses by fostering a conducive environment and enhancing the ease of doing business in Lagos State.”

Business

See Reason banks are asking customers to renew BVN and NIN linkage

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The Nigerian banks are currently pushing their customers to  link their National Identification Number (NIN) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) as the March deadline fixed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approaches.

 

This has caused a lot of uproar amongst customers who received messages from their banks. Complaining that the exercise is a repetition as they had linked all the details before now.

According to Nairametrics report, it was gathered that many may have linked their BVN but not the NIN as required by the new directive.

 

For tier 2 and 3 accounts and wallets, the CBN’s directive said they must be linked with both BVN and NIN, while only tier 1 accounts have the option of BVN and/or NIN.

 

According to bank sources, some customers who had linked their BVN have also been discovered to have irregularities in their details and they would be required to perfect their records with the banks to avoid being blocked.

 

Why banks are sending messages

 

Some bank officials who spoke with Nairametrics under the condition of anonymity said they were only sending messages to tier 2 and 3 customers, who have not linked the two numbers to their accounts.

 

“This is a directive from the Central Bank, and we have to ensure that our customers are well informed and that is why we are sending messages to those that have not fulfilled these requirements.

“In most cases, you have customers with tier 2 and tier 3 accounts, who have only linked their BVN and not NIN. But the directive is that they must be linked and that is why those who have linked their BVN will still get the same message for BVN and NIN. But what they will need to do is to just link their NIN,” one of the sources said.

“In some cases, you found out that the information in the BVN submitted by the customers and that of their NIN do not tally. This set of customers will need to redo the exercise to regularize their details,” another official added.

Customers lament

 

Meanwhile, bank customers in Nigeria have been lamenting as they receive messages from their banks asking them to link their NIN and BVN. Many of the customers said this exercise has been done and wondered why the banks are asking them to repeat the same.

 

To worsen the case, the customers are required to visit their nearest bank branch to do the linkage. Many of the customers who believed they had done the linking in the past expressed worry that they would have to go through the rigors of queueing at the bank again.

 

The CBN’s directive

 

The CBN on December 1, 2023, announced that all bank accounts without Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identification Number (NIN) will be placed on “Post no Debit” effective April 2024.

 

The new directive was contained in a circular issued by the central bank and sent to all deposit money banks. The central bank also stated that all the BVN or NIN attached to and associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by 31 January 2024.

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CBN begins sale of dollars at N1,301 per USD 

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the sale of foreign exchange to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

 

This was contained in a memo signed by Hassan Mahmud, the director of Trade and Exchange Department at the apex bank.

 

According to the memo,  the move is part of CBN’s “strategic step” to increase liquidity and strengthen the naira against “manipulators”.

 

Mahmud noted that the CBN will sell the United States dollars to BDC operators at N1,301 per USD.

 

The BDC operators are expected to sell to customers at not more than 1% above the purchase rate from the CBN.

 

Recall that the naira recently traded as high as N1,800 to the dollar.

 

The statement reads: “Following the on-going reforms in the foreign exchange market, aimed at achieving an appropriate market determined exchange rate for the Naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has observed the continued price distortions at the retail end of the market, which is feeding into the parallel market and further widening the exchange rate premium.

 

“To this end, the CBN has approved the sale of foreign exchange to eligible Bureau De Change (BDCs) to meet the demand for invisible transactions. The sum of $20,000 is to be sold to each BDC at the rate of N1,301/$ – (representing the lower band rate of executed spot transactions at NAFEM for the previous trading day, as at today, 27th February 2024).

 

“All BCs are allowed to sell to end-users at a margin NOT MORE THAN one percent (1 %) above the purchase rate from CBN.

 

“All eligible BDCs are directed to make the Naira payment to the designated CB ForeignCurrency Deposit Naira Accounts and submit confirmation of payment, with other necessary documentations, for disbursement at the appropriate CBN Branches – ABUJA, AWKA, LAGOS and KANO)”

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Nigerian Breweries releases new prices of drinks

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The Nigerian Breweries Plc recently announced an upward price change for its Stock-Keeping Units (STUs) with effect from February 19.

 

A letter dated February 12 titled: ‘Price review notification,’ by the Zonal Business Manager (West), Lekan Awosanya, reads in part: “This is to inform you that we are constrained to review the prices of some of our SKUs effective from Monday, 19th February 2024. This review has become necessary because of the continued rising input cost and the need to mitigate the impact.

 

“In appreciation of our great partnership and your commitment, we will deliver at the current prices all open orders that are fully funded and created in our system before 00.00hrs on Monday, 19th February 2024.

 

“While thanking you for your commitment to our great partnership, be rest assured that we will continue to support your sales/distribution efforts as always. For further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Business Manager.”

 

Here is the new price list

 

1. GULDER – N950

 

2. STAR – N850

 

3. 33 EXTRA – N850

 

4. HEINEKEN – N1300

 

5. LIFE – N850

 

6. LEGEND – N1250

 

7. TIGER – N750

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