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Yuguda advocates use of technology to deepen financial inclusion

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The Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, has called on policy makers and capital market stakeholders to leverage on technology to expand access to financial services and deepen financial inclusion.

Yuguda, who stated this at the weekend in his keynote address at the 2021 workshop of Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria(CAMCAN) in Lagos, noted that technology would continue to play a critical role in expanding access to affordable financial services.

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The SEC boss, represented by Executive Commissioner, Operations, Mr Temidayo Obisan, said aside expanding access to affordable financial services, it also provides cost effective means of reaching the untapped market, especially in the rural areas.

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According to him, there are over 191 million and 140 million active mobile subscribers and active data subscribers in Nigeria as at October 3, 2021.

Yuguda stressed he need for participants in the market to leverage technology to close the huge financial inclusion gap that currently exist in tha market and bring the unbanked into the financial space.

He pointed out that closing this gap would help reduce the cost of providing financial transactions as it involves little or no infrastructure cost and offers the highest outreach.

“Leveraging technology to offer financial service has advantage over traditional means because it breaks down geographical constraints.

“It also simplifies the means of serving existing customers for example through the use of mobile banking agents to perform banking transactions.

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“Financial institutions are increasingly using electronic channels to onboard clients and address customers queries and bring financial product offerings to the prospective users,” he said.

On measures adopted so far by the commission to boost financial inclusion in Nigeria, Yuguda said SEC is currently working with the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria ( FMAN) to accelerate financial inclusion to collective investment schemes.

He added said the commission is proposing a hackathon challenge to help develop a comprehensive suite of mobile internet-based services targeted at having an end-to-end processes of the entire capital market.

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Director, HOD Securities and Investment Services of SEC, Mr Abdulkadir Abbas, said there was a need for an active collaboration of all market stakeholders to help drive the initiative. According to him, adoption of technology can help open up the capital market and bridge the gap of the unbanked which has created room for the proliferation of unregistered outlets that have continued to swindle investors of their resources in the market.

He said: “Average age of participation in capital market is 53 years where as the power is in the youths. We need to bring these youths to play on the capital market.

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“We need market infrastructure to drive this initiative and some tools to help onboard people in the rural areas. We have these requirements, it is the starting point,” Abbas said.

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Forex: BDC operators plan automation to tackle street trading, others

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The Association of Bureau De’Change Operators of Nigeria has concluded plans to automate its trading operations to eliminate the activities of market speculators and street traders.

This was as the association backed the recent clampdown by the government on persons selling and buying foreign currencies on the streets.

Since the year started, Nigeria’s local currency has depreciated severely, sliding down to N1,900 on Wednesday owing to low liquidity and surging demand for the US dollar.

The ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, speaking in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, said the association has developed an automation platform, which, if okayed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, would help revolutionise the retail FX market.

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He noted that the automation process will be launched in three weeks pending a “no objection” approval from the CBN.

Gwadabe said, “We have now put a lot of recommendations on how we can at least utilise technology, innovation, and automation in our operations.

“In three weeks, we will automate the system. We already have the automation system in place just for the CBN to give us the approval for “No Objection” that is all we asking.

“We can entirely automate the industry of any retail trader, we will automate them in three weeks, we already built the automation platform it is there for them. We have sent it to them, and we are only waiting for ‘no objection’ approval. This innovation will also eliminate street trading.”

Gwadabe further advised that the ongoing raids and arrests of traders should not be misconstrued, revealing that FX street traders ambush customers of licensed operators, thereby causing a lull in their operations.

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He added, “What is happening is not targeted at licenced Bureau De’Change but the operators of FX street trading.

“For us, we are against street trading and support any action that will remove FX street traders. Their activities affect me also. I have an office but my clients cannot come to my office because of the menace of street traders.”

On the volatility in the FX market, Gwadabe explained that various factors, including the imbalance between supply and demand and liquidity, were responsible.

He urged members of the association to strictly adhere to all FX regulations and conduct their operations within their offices.

On Wednesday, the naira depreciated further to N1,900 against the dollar in the parallel market.

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According to currency operators, the naira exchange declined by 9.83 per cent from the N1,730 recorded at the beginning of the week and N170 or 9.82 per cent from the trading rate on Tuesday.

This is even as Bureau de Change operators battle for liquidity to meet the surging demands for the greenback.

On Wednesday, BDC operators quoted the buying rate at N1,850 and the selling rate at N1,900, leaving a profit margin of N50.

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Moniepoint MfB, CAC partner to boost SMEs development, target 30 million businesses in 5 years

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In line with a critical mandate, of the Federal Government to unleash Nigeria’s full economic potential by focusing on job creation, access to capital for small and large businesses and inclusiveness, the definitive bank for small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria, as well as their customers and employees, Moniepoint Microfinance Bank Limited and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have joined forces to digitize and formalize operations for over 2 million small and medium businesses across Nigeria.

This unprecedented move will foster economic growth, ensure alignment with regulatory compliance whilst providing SMEs with access to capital that will enable them unlock their potentials, contribute significantly to job creation and drive shared prosperity.

In a brief ceremony which was held at the Bank of Industry, BOI office in Abuja, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, while describing the initiative as monumental, reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to catalyzing economic development by supporting small and medium businesses with funding, thus creating a conducive environment for them to flourish and generate more opportunities.

Acknowledging Moniepoint’s innovative strides, Dr. Uzoka-Anite pledged greater collaboration towards formalizing additional MSMEs. She noted that the Federal Government was prepared to deepen its engagement with the company, adding that it would consider its request for provision of cheaper funding and grants to enable it draw more small businesses into the formal space, as well as create an enabling environment for them to thrive.

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“The current administration is excited and passionate about creating jobs, ensuring financial inclusion and poverty alleviation. These things add up towards economic development. A lot of people have ideas but are impeded by lack of access to the right learning environment and education. Which is why we are happy to collaborate and support players like Moniepoint to bring more people into the financial sector and help the government achieve its mandate,”, the Minister said.

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On his part, Managing Director, Moniepoint MFB, Mr. Babatunde Olofin expressed delight at the partnership and said that the engagement was in furtherance of the organization’s mantra of powering dreams while creating a society where everyone experiences financial happiness.

He said, “”We recognize that these businesses are the lifeblood of economies, so their growth directly supports the entire economy, essentially extending our ability to positively impact everyone else. We are heavily invested in super charging Nigeria’s economic ambitions so that enormous employment opportunities can be created and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty. This initiative is in strong alignment with the Federal Government’s agenda – financial inclusion, job and wealth creation and economic growth. Our target is that in 5 years, we will onboard 30 million businesses in collaboration with the CAC as we leverage technology to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.”

Registrar-General/Chief Executive, CAC, Hussaini Ishaq Magaji, SAN lauded the Minister for her visionary strides since assumption of office, noting that the feats recorded by the agency were results of the robust support and guidance she has consistently provided. He stated that the commission’s objective of formalizing 20 million small businesses while describing the 2 million businesses sign-up with Moniepoint MFB as a watershed moment in Nigeria’s economic trajectory which heralds a transformative shift that will lay a sturdy foundation for sustained growth and prosperity in Nigeria.

“Mr. President has promised 50 million jobs for the youths. This ground-breaking ceremony will set the target off. What we are witnessing today has never happened before in Nigeria. The participation of all these stakeholders underscores the profound significance of this occasion, symbolizing a unified resolve to propel Nigeria’s economic landscape towards unprecedented heights of progress and promise,” said the CAC boss.

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The registration of businesses and organizations across the nation has been a core mandate of the CAC over the years. This mandate which confers legal identities on businesses has been instrumental to connecting enterprises to essential opportunities that have facilitated access to financial facilities, and enabled them to increase their revenue streams.

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Shell supplies 475,000 barrels of crude oil to P’Harcourt refinery

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said it has completed the supply of 475,000 barrels of crude oil to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited.

The SPDC said this was in furtherance of the Federal Government’s commitment to increase domestic refining capacity and make petroleum products more readily available in the country.

A statement by Shell Nigeria’s Media Relations Manager, Abimbola Essien-Nelson, on Monday disclosed that the company, “through its Bonny Oil & Gas Terminal has completed the supply of over 475,000bbls of crude oil to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited.”

According to Essien-Nelson, BOGT resumed the supply last week after a prolonged outage of over five years, during which time the Port Harcourt refinery underwent rehabilitation and integrity activities on its supply pipeline from Bonny Oil & Gas Termina.

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Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Dr Osagie Okunbor, had said, “Teams from BOGT and PHRC worked through intensive preparations, collaboration, and dedication to make the project successful.

“This is indeed a significant step in the nation’s renewed efforts to utilise key infrastructures to assure the steady supply of products from the refining company to the Nigerian market.”

Okunbor added, “Future supplies from BOGT would be guided by the demand for the product.”

Also, the Bonny Terminal Installation Manager, Osita Nnajiofor, was quoted as saying that before implementing the supplies of the product to the refining company, the project teams first assured the integrity of pipelines relevant to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited subsidiaries, as well as the integrity and maintenance activities on the BOGT refinery export pumps, which had been shut down for an extended period.

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Nnajiofor explained, “These actions resulted in the successful and safe completion of the refinery supply with no harm to people, environment, or equipment.

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“The recommencement of crude oil supply from the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited is a significant achievement and a game-changer for the industry and the country and will support the Federal Government’s aspiration of a steady supply of petroleum products to the downstream market and other associated benefits to the economy of the nation.”

Earlier the NNPCL has recently made known its decision to hand over the rehabilitated Port Harcourt refinery to private operators.

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