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African SMEs Set to Benefit from USD 74M Guarantee

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The African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (AGF) on Friday entered into a re- guarantee transaction of an amount of up to USD 74 million with GuarantCo to increase its guarantee capacity for SME financing.

SME’s have a large and growing impact on GDP in emerging markets and are a key source of job creation. Strengthening Africa’s infrastructure is critical for development as it is through this that African countries become more competitive at a global level. With this increased capacity, AGF will be able to support larger local currency transactions for SMEs involved in infrastructure.

Over the past 6 years, AGF has led the guarantee market in Africa by issuing financial guarantees to a tune of USD 690 million. This has enabled its partner financial institutions to issue loans estimated at USD 729 million to about 7600 African SMEs. GuarantCo is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, (PIDG), and is a global guarantee fund that has issued over USD 900 million of guarantees since inception in 2005 with a mandate to enable local currency finance for infrastructure.

While commenting on the GuarantCo AGF partnership, Felix BIKPO, AGF’s Chief Executive Officer stated, “AGF is glad to be joined by GuarantCo in bridging the infrastructure financing gap. This partnership aims to put in place an even stronger collaboration that will work on the entire value chain of infrastructure projects in Africa. We are looking forward to supporting other SMEs that work with key players in the infrastructure sector.”

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Lasitha PERERA, GuarantCo’s Chief Executive Officer said “We are delighted to be able to partner with the African Guarantee Fund and increase support to SMEs active in the infrastructure sector in Africa. This collaboration between two local currency focussed guarantors offers the potential for us to engage local financial institutions and investors in financing the entire value chain in an African infrastructure project.”

The transaction will enable AGF and GuarantCo to explore further partnership opportunities of working together in contributing towards economic growth in Africa.

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Pay For Temporary Use of Road Setbacks or We Take Them Over’ – Oyo Govt Warns Business Organizations

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Business organizations that built on the mandatory setbacks on major roads in Oyo State for temporary usage have been warned to pay for these spaces or have them taken over by government.

 

The Executive chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYSIRS), Aremo John Adeleke disclosed this on Thursday, saying the State administration was not happy with the attitude of most organizations using these spaces for failing to meet their financial obligations to the State despite being served many demand notices by the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR).

 

Adeleke who spoke with Journalists at his office shortly after an enforcement exercise under the Management of Public Space Scheme (MOPS) embarked upon by Oyo State Internal Revenue Services (OYSIRS) and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.

 

He stated that for Government to be able to provide amenities in the State, organizations and other business owners needed to remit taxes, levies and dues to the rightful place as their civic duties.

 

He said, “Setbacks in public places are government properties and to use them, there should be payment for temporary use of such places. Most organizations have taken this for granted for so long and that is what necessitated our action at this point.

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“The focus of the first phase of the enforcement exercise is on the Banking Industry after that we will move to other sub-sectors. The government will recover the setbacks unless those affected do what is required.

 

“In the past, series of correspondence, plea and stakeholders meeting with those concerned yielded no response. Also,the second phase will come soonest and will reach others that refused to comply with the payment option.”

 

While appreciating those that complied,The Executive chairman implored other business owners and individuals with outstanding taxes,levies,charges and fees to pay up so as to forestall drastic step against them.

 

Among areas covered during the exercise are Total Garden, Agodi and Bodija all within Ibadan metropolis.

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7 habits of the luckiest people you can start copying right now | By Taylor Tobin

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  • It certainly seems that some people are born lucky, and that’s that. But even if you don’t consider yourself one of the lucky few, there are some characteristics lucky people share that you can adopt.
  • Lucky people don’t just accept where they are. They constantly forge new connections, and think outside of the box.
  • Lucky people trust their own insights, and let them guide where they go next.

 

By definition, “luck” isn’t a quality that you can develop and cultivate. Either you’re lucky or you’re not; end of story.

However, those blessed with consistent good fortune do frequently share characteristics that can elevate them to even more auspicious positions. The jury’s still out on whether these habits form because of their inherent good luck or whether the good luck comes as a result of these behaviors and choices … but either way, it couldn’t hurt to fold these actions into your regular routine.

1. They take active initiatives to achieve their goals

In a recent article, Power of Positivity shared the following piece of advice for the luck-deprived: “In order to create your own luck, go out and find it! Take extra classes if they will help you better your skills. Go out and talk to people. Become active in the charting of your own future, and luck will find you.” Their key point centers around the idea that — contrary to popular belief — lucky people don’t wait around for good things to happen. Instead, they find their own opportunities and figure out ways to use their skills and talents to bring them closer to their goals.

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2. They hone their communication skills

Lucky people understand that connecting with others can often provide access to job leads, event invitations, and training possibilities that can lead to a more positive professional and personal life. Therefore, they spend time and energy developing their communication skills and putting themselves in situations where they can meet interesting and engaging people.

3. They seek out opportunities and make necessary connections

As we mentioned previously, proactivity is a major indicator of a person’s luck quotient. So it stands to reason that a lucky person will attend networking events and industry mixers and will pay close attention to the other attendees, gathering business cards wherever possible and forging relationships that could ultimately prove beneficial to both parties.

4. They maintain a positive mindset

If you’re going through a tough time on the career front, it’s easy to succumb to negative thoughts and to fall into a defeatist funk. However, lucky people prioritize positivity above all else. Of course, this could be partially because their “luck” prevents them from experiencing many major disappointments … but if luck is a self-fulfilling prophecy, then keeping your outlook optimistic can only improve your odds of finding success.

5. They use creative methods to solve problems

6. They keep themselves flexible and open-minded

Overly-rigid thought patterns, schedules, and structures can impede natural energy flows (and can therefore compromise your luck potential). But if you remain open-minded to new ideas and new means of achieving your goals, you’ll be well-positioned for exciting opportunities.

7. They trust their own insight

Lucky people have a remarkable knack for believing in their own instincts (which makes sense, since they’re naturally fortunate!). Psychology Today suggests that everyone (even those who don’t consider themselves lucky) should pay more attention to their own implicit knowledge, explaining that “we all have insight to varying degrees, yet some are better than others at being open to hearing those inner voices. Making use of this knowledge depends on your ability to access this information and trust in yourself.”

 

 

 

 

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China Retreats Globally | By Milton Ezrati

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China has retreated globally – not from its artificial islands in the South China Sea but economically and financially. It seems just yesterday that the Middle Kingdom, as China calls itself, resembled an unstoppable juggernaut, cutting constructions contracts and buying properties all over the world. That is no longer the case.

Trade war with the United States bears much of the blame (or gets the credit, depending on one’s perspective), but even if Washington and Beijing were to sign a deal tomorrow, China would not regain its old momentum.

Official Ministry of Finance (MOF) figures, not surprisingly, offer a soothing picture of moderate decline, but private sources tell a much more dramatic story. According to the American Enterprise Institute’s well-regarded China Global Investment Tracker (CGIT), Chinese overseas investments of all kinds in the first half of this year averaged only $27.5 billion, half the rate averaged during the same time in 2018 and barely a quarter the rate of 2017’s first half.  This year’s figures are lower than any time since 2008. Construction contracts, largely in the third world as part of China’s Belt and Road initiative, have fallen off, too, but less dramatically. China clearly has become much less engaged with the world than it was.

Two things have caused this retreat. One is a growing hostility among host countries toward Chinese investment. Especially developed countries, the United States in particular, have balked over the Chinese practice of extracting technology. Suspicions along these lines have held up approvals for Chinese purchases and other direct flows of funds. Some familiar with Chinese practice have gone a step further. The European Chamber of Commerce has warned against developing a dependence on China and Chinese funds. This combination of concerns and suspicions have centered primarily on China’s huge state owned enterprises and less on private Chinese investment. But if private investment has fallen off less dramatically, this growing reluctance in the West has had its effect there, too.

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More significant is China’s relative shortage of hard currency. Despite Beijing’s efforts to make the yuan a global currency, it is little used in currency transactions – no more than 2% of the total in fact – and so is of little use in overseas purchases.  Meanwhile the trade war with the United States has already begun to cut into Beijing’s supplies of foreign exchange.  Beijing actually anticipated the problem and in 2017 and began to ration foreign exchange even before the White House added any tariffs. The first major investment declines occurred in late 2018, when the While House first imposed 10% tariffs on a range of Chinese products. The next drop coincided with this past spring’s increased tensions. To be sure, Beijing’s foreign exchange hoard remains huge, but officials are wary of how rapidly it has shrunk, falling some 25% from almost $4 trillion at its peak in 2014 to barely over $3 trillion during the first half of this year.  Beijing’s rationing of these financial resources has affected the state-owned sector in particular. Private companies have a greater willingness and ability to borrow hard currencies abroad.

Within the investment pullback, North America, which historically has accounted for some 17% of China’s overseas investment flows, has seen the biggest drop. No doubt, the hostility created by trade friction has played a role.  But China has also pulled back in Europe, where British and Swiss destinations have long dominated.  Australia and Singapore, which historically have accounted for about 10% of Chinese overseas investment flows, have seen less relative shortfall but some nonetheless.

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China has concentrated its remaining financial resources on less developed countries. The reasons are two fold.  First, activities in these countries center more on construction contracting than investing. Such efforts may require subsidies, but they demand little hard currency. Indeed, China collects fees on many of these projects. Second, Beijing has clearly made its Belt and Road initiative (BRI) a political priority. This effort at land trade routes between China on one side and Europe and the Middle East on the other may not generate the secure financial returns that investments in the developed world offer, but monies spent in these projects pay Beijing huge political dividends by tying these countries to China and by advancing a project that China has touted as an alternative to U.S.-led, mostly maritime trade arrangements. BRI historically has captured more than three-fifths of China’s overseas construction volumes with almost three quarters of the monies involved in energy and transportation in such places as Pakistan and Iran, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Preliminary figures for 2019 show that as all other efforts have diminished BRI has captured a still larger proportion of China’s efforts.

Even if China and the United States were to sign a trade deal tomorrow, these trends would likely persist. Though trade would increase with a new treaty, the terms would no doubt create a more even balance than previously, making it highly unlikely that China could replenish its reserves of hard currency quickly, if at all. At the same time, suspicions of Beijing’s agenda and practices, especially China’s state-owned enterprises, will persist, trade deal or no. Political imperatives will, of course, keep China focused on BRI and its construction projects.  For the investment flows, the best to expect is stability. It seems that for better or worse, the world has already seen the high water mark of Chinese investment flows.

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Source : Forbes

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