[Nigeria Business Week] Andrea Ayemoba: Telecoms slide into banking, Central Bank ups interest rates
The last few days have shown us developments and setbacks, statistics that show growth on the one hand and room for improvement on the other. What has stood out is the glaring inequality of women versus men in the Nigerian credit market. A new report has revealed that nearly the entire female population is excluded from formal acquisition, also highlighting just how much of the Nigerian population makes use of the formal credit market. On a more positive note, the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers has broken a 30-year tradition, electing this year its first female candidate into a top leadership position.
As businesses are increasingly leaning on technology to guarantee safety and survival, a top-tier bank this week forged a partnership to enhance its trade finance operations and the SEC is in like manner taking steps to eliminate fraudulent practices.
MTN is knee-deep in business trainings for SMEs in the country, a project carried out in partnership with Google and Microsoft. Together with Airtel, both telecom giants have launched their respective new payment service banks, MoMo and SmartCash respectively. However, the entirety of telecom companies of Nigeria are united in their protest of a few mandates laid out by the federal government, such as the phone tax on subscribers’ calls. And this shortly after the SIM-NIN requirement imposed by the Executive, which has revealed a substantial number of mobile users without national identification numbers.
On a more soothing note, the Federal Government has approved tax reliefs and other incentives for the benefit of tech startups in Nigeria. With one of the most thriving startup ecosystems in Africa, this is a move long awaited that could only bring positive outcomes. Nigeria’s large economy generated billions of Naira in tax in Q1 and grew its GDP (though modestly) in the same time period. Independent are taking up the charge of nurturing SMEs and startups into globally competitive entities.