POTATO REVOLUTION

Vicampro is leading the way to change the face of agriculture in Nigeria and Africa. The first indigenous fully mechanized potato farm hope to motivate young people to embrace agriculture

STRATEGIZING FOR SALE SUCCESS

It is obvious that marketing and sales goes hand in hand. Marketing is what brings about sale success. It is therefore crucial for you to consider efficient marketing strategies that can boost sales if revenue is going to be generated.

HAVE A TARGET MARKET: in business today, competition is high. This is why it is necessary to have a target market. This will increase your effectiveness in marketing and improve your sales potentials. Give your audience a sense of awareness and let it be obvious you want to do business with them.

ATTRACT YOUR AUDIENCE: after identifying your target market, it is crucial you make them know you want to do business with them. Attracting and connecting with your audience is key in marketing and sales. Identify what is important to your audience and create valuable products around it.

LEVERAGE ON TECHNOLOGY: it is no news that there is an ‘e’ to every business today. Leveraging on the internet and social media could still be the best opportunity for any entrepreneur out there. Don’t hesitate to spread the message about your business on different platforms and put efforts into creating content around your product.

BE COMFORTABLE WITH REACHING OUT: atimes, people have an idea of what they want or what they think is good for them, you cannot always impose your products on people. Don’t be scared to reach out to people, find out what they want and find a way to meet needs if possible.

DONT BE SHY TO WALK AWAY: it is not possible to meet everyone’s demand, not every potential customer is a perfect fit for your sales. Its okay to accept that and its okay to let a customer you cannot satisfy walk away. Know when to cut an unrewarding potential loose and not to feel bad about it.

Marketing is the prerequisite for sales, without sales there won’t be a business, without a business you cannot be an entrepreneur. Practical strategies must go into marketing and sales without which there is no hope for success in business.

Nigeria plans to revive the sugar industry

This month on Economic Lifelines Nigeria we look at Nigeria's Sugar Master Plan, an initiative aimed at reviving the sugar industry and a key component of the government's Industrial Revolution Plan.

Nigeria imports $18m tooth picks yearly –Minister


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Federal Government yesterday bemoaned Nigeria's over dependence on imports for its daily needs including food items.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said it was ridiculous that the country spends over $18m annually on importation of tooth picks.

Asked how he arrived at the figure, he said it was from a recent Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report, stressing that it was pathetic that Nigeria was spending its hard earned resources on non-essential items. The Minister reeled out some scary statistics on the nation's food import situation for example; where over 7 million tons of rice consumed annually in the country were imported from Thailand, India and Vietnam.

Ogbeh said: "We depended on Thailand, India and Vietnam to feed us with rice, we depend on other countries to feed us with tomato paste; we depend on others even for tooth picks at the cost of 18 million dollars per annum. We depend on Brazil for sugar; and we also depend even now on other countries for pepper and so on. We import 5million eggs per a day from South Africa. We bring sliced potatoes from South Africa. We spend $600 hundred million in importing fish a year. There's no reason why we can't grow our fish here.

"We bring in milk and milk products to the tune of $1 billion dollars per annum because our cows don't yield enough milk. One litre per a day and the meat you eat is as good as plastic because the cows walk too much. To walk from Maidugiri to Lagos is a bit of excessive exercise and when we spoke of special grasses to feed the cows, we got all the abuse in the world on the internet because those who don't know about the subjects got involved."

While he said the Buhari government was making efforts to reverse the trend, the Minister regretted that the country lacked enough machinery for food processing."

"We don't have enough rice mills even now that rice paddy is increasing in large volumes. We are behind schedule in our capacity to mill our rice. We don't have enough mills to produce enough cassava starch for the upcoming textile industry," he lamented.
SOURCE: THE SUN

Early History of Cash Crop Agriculture in Africa 1880- 1930

Prior to colonialism, food production in Africa was in the hands of African farmers who grew crops mainly for food production. Many explorers to Africa were more focused on acquiring and shipping raw materials to the western world and considered this the most efficient use of their resources. Over time this way of conducting business became expensive and they sought to diversify ways to increase their profits. More often than not, private companies such as the Royal Niger Company, Imperial British East Africa Company, and British South Africa Company incurred high costs in trying to set up a new administration that would protect their interests. These new administrations often introduced tax systems and laws that forced local farmers to grow crops they could openly sell on the local market in order to pay their taxes. This led to the introduction of cash crop agriculture in many parts of Africa.

7 TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE


There are so many traits and theories adopted by successful people over the year that has helped them get to where they are. Different behaviours and mind-sets that people have cultivated over the years and which have helped them to achieve success in many fronts.

INQUISITIVE: successful people are mostly inquisitive people. They are not afraid to ask questions. They do not hesitate to challenge conventional wisdom. They do this is the most polite and considerate ways possible. They consider options, they think of alternatives. They are not scared to voice their thoughts and ideas.

PASSION: there is hardly success without passion. To be successful, you have to be passionate about whatever it is you do. This doesn’t mean they are not open to objections or criticism. Their passion drives them to do better and get better.

GREAT THINKERS: successful people are great thinkers. No matter how high your IQ is, you’re not going to be successful if you can’t think outside of the proverbial box. On the other hand, you need rational thinking skills to correctly judge whether your ideas have merit. Therefore the ability to think critically is necessary.

ENERGETIC YET CALM: successful people are mostly strong and energetic people. They are goal getters and they know how to put their strength in the right directions. They know how to stay energetic and focus and how to avoid being unnecessarily hyperactive.

AMBIVERTS: they know how to balance being an introvert and extrovert. They know when to listen and when to talk. They have the crucial understanding of exhibiting the right attitude at the right time.

SMARTNESS: it is normal to expect that smartness is a crucial trait for success. Successful people are not limited by what they see or what people tell them is possible. They are intelligent and they are capable of seeing things everyone around them isn’t seeing yet.

WORK LIFE BALANCE: successful people know what makes them happy and what is important to them. They know how to balance work and life. They don’t hesitate to do what makes them happy and still find a way to balance this with achieving success at work.

Adopting the following attitudes and traits can help you improve the quality of your life and the way to reason and see things generally. They are attributes that can gear a brilliant mind to success.

Growing More Food: West African Agriculture Shows the Way

The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) works with farmers, agribusinesses and researchers across 13 West African countries to develop and distribute agriculture innovations and build a sustainable food system for the region

PZWilmar, NIFOR sign MoU on oil palm research


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

THE Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, NIFOR, and PZWilmar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, towards the country's self-sufficiency in oil palm production in Abuja.

The MoU, signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, and Chairman, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, Chief Kola Jamodu, for and on behalf of the two institutions, covers capacity building and knowledge sharing for the research institute.

According to the MoU, the collaboration will devote attention to developing Nigerian climate-specific high yield variety through joint development of early maturing, high yielding, drought-tolerant and disease-resistant hybrids.

The scope also includes study visit by NIFOR on biotechnology approach to elite oil palm planting material development in Wilmar facilities in Asia.

The exchange of visit will also explore end-uses of palm oil and palm kernel oil through isolation of nutraceuticals from palm oil and bio-energy development from waste products.
SOURCE: VANGUARD

7 THINGS PREVENTING YOU FROM BEING A MILLIONAIRE


 
When you talk about millions, some people have wild imaginations. They believe it is unachievable. Whereas, some other people count millions daily, not because they are extraordinarily brilliant or because they have something you do not possess. You can hit your first million too, and many more if you can just think outside the box. It is very possible for you never to go broke again after you hit your first million. It all depends on how you choose to take control of your finances. If you want to grow wealthier, you must learn to think above the average person.

THE WAY YOU THINK: this is the number one setback most people have in life. They don’t believe in themselves, they don’t believe they can make it beyond certain point, they don’t believe they are good enough. If you belong to this category of people, you are likely never to achieve beyond the average. You are not more than the goals you set for yourself. Your reasoning is the first thing that can catapult you to where you need to be. If you want to be successful, change the way you think.

OBSESSION WITH PERFECTION: this is another huge hindrance to success. You have to accept that nothing in life is perfect. The time you waste trying to perfect the things you do is the time you need to make your money. Time wasters always arrive late. Get into action and do what you have to do to make what you want to make.

LIVING IN LUXURY: most people that are addicted to luxury never get enough to sustain their lifestyle. You would admit that the wealthiest people in the world are modest people. Mark Zukerberg, the CEO of Facebook flew to Nigeria in a T-shirt, so many broke people walk about in items they cannot afford. This is why they keep getting poorer and modest people keep getting richer. They do not waste their money on ventures that do not bring in more money.

SETTING UNREALISTIC GOALS: While the wealthy definitely dream big, they also set realistic expectations. They’re well aware that they’re not going to become millionaires overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and patience to achieve their goals. Consider possibilities when setting goals, don’t build your castle in the air.

DOING WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING: its easy to think of trendy ventures or the business in vogue, yet this might not be what is going to work for you. Define yourself, know what you are passionate about, know what works for you and set your own goals. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something that works for someone else. Just make sure you stay true to yourself.

WRONG ASSOCIATIONS: you are as inclined as the people you choose to associate yourself with. When you roll with redundant people, you are likely never to be exceptional. Associating yourself with the kind of people that would help your understanding and open your eyes to the ideas of possibilities is the best approach to becoming exceptional.

THINKING YOU CAN DO IT ALL: it’s impossible to do everything on your own. Let’s say that you just launched a startup. You need to hire talented individuals who enhance your strengths and pick up the slack in your weaker areas. Know how to source and delegate task for people. This is the best way to grow and make good money in no time.

The only thing holding you back from your success and millions is you and your reasoning.

Talk Africa: Agricultural transformation in Africa

As countries across Sub-Saharan Africa grapple with the challenges of sustaining high levels of economic growth, plunging commo
dity prices, and the effects of climate change, revitalizing agriculture must become a priority on the continent. Africa is home to nearly half of the world’s arable land, and farming provides up to 60 percent of all jobs on the continent. But experts predict that food production in Sub-Saharan Africa needs to increase by 60 percent over the next decade to feed a bulging population.
So how can the continent capitalize on one of its biggest assets? And what steps are needed to transform Africa’s agriculture?

7 HINDRANCES BETWEEN YOU AND SUCCESS


People get paranoid and confused when it comes to achieving their desires in life. Be it business, career or life goals, there are several hindrances that hold people back from achieving what they so desire, even atimes what they are already aiming for.

Here are few roadblocks between you and your success. They are more of mental holdbacks which could keep you redundant for years if you don’t work past them.

OVERTHINKING: many people take too long to think and consider the next step to take that they eventually end up not doing it well enough or even at the right time. Procrastination is a dream killer. Successful people are go getters.

DOUBTING: many people self impose fears and doubts in their minds. They keep giving themselves reasons why they can’t do it or why they are not good enough. It’s important to believe in yourself. Successful people are fearless people, well at least they do well in hiding their fears.

FUTURE FAILURES: just because someone failed at something doesn’t make them a failure in life. Don’t let failure at something tag you a failure in life. Don’t foresee disasters that will keep you from trying. Successful people are persistent people.

DATALESS DECISIONS: Like my boss would say, if it’s not making sense on papers, it wouldn’t make sense in reality. Pick up a sheet and do the maths, don’t make dataless decisions, it’s okay to take risk but take calculated risk, don’t go in blind. Success people are factual people

DISTRACTIONS: a distracted mind can never attain the best they can do. It is important to find clarity, compartmentalizing is crucial to avoid mix up or distractions. Focusing fully at every point in time is a major requirement for success. Spend different times figuring out different things. Do a thing at a time. Successful people are focused people.

COMPLICATIONS: so many people complicate things for themselves. They put too many things on their plate at a time.  This is quite similar to being distracted. Complicating the situation will get you nowhere. Clarity is key if you are going to do well. Successful people are simple people.

OVERCONFIDENCE: this unlike the others is a tricky and not straightforward hindrance. It’s even sometimes hard to identify that you have this mental situation yet they keep you from achieving goals you can easily achieve. Don’t give in to motivational manipulation. Stay motivated but not arrogant. Successful people are mostly humble people.

Your mind cannot be fully controlled but you can do everything possible to stay optimistic and positive. What you think of yourself is basically what you are.

13 Small Business Ideas with Small Capital

Here are 13 business ideas you can start with little capital and grow into something huge eventually.

Lagos State Govt signs agreement for women entrepreneurs to access $300m AfDB fund


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Lagos State Government says it has signed a partnership agreement with an NGO -the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) - to access the 300 million dollar African Development Bank (AfDB) Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa.

According to the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Akinyemi Ashade, the government will nominate qualified candidates from among the over two million businesswomen in the state to access the fund.

Ashade, who spoke shortly after signing the agreement in Ikeja, on Tuesday expressed optimism that the partnership would relieve female entrepreneurs in the state of the stress associated with accessing finance for their businesses.

"The State Government will nominate qualified candidates from among the over two million businesswomen, while the NGO will provide training in the areas of technology transfer and business coaching."

Interested women, he said, would be encouraged to form cooperative societies for easy disbursement and monitoring of the funds.

He noted that accessing the fund would attract foreign investment into the country and also boost the economy through increased Gross Domestic Product especially during the current recession.

The founder of the NGO, Mrs Irene Ochem, said women in all the business sectors, especially the medium and small businesses were eligible to apply.

Ochem identified lack of access to funds as a major hindrance to the growth of businesses run by women entrepreneurs.

She thanked the state government for its commitment to the course of women in the state.

"Zambia has already accessed the AfDB fund to empower women."

AWIEF, is a Pan-Africa initiative which has the goal of ensuring entrepreneurial capacity building, business skills as well as to facilitating access to finance among others.

 SOURCE: VANGUARD

5 BUSINESS MISTAKES TO AVOID


Many people are in business but things doesn’t seem to be going rightly for them, they keep wondering why but hardly do they ever figure things out on time. There are so many common avoidable mistakes that people make while they run their business. Recognising that something is wrong is the first approach to getting a solution to the problem. Your approach to business and how you choose present yourself is key in business. As a business owner, your customers are the most important factor for business success. Strategizing and figuring out the right ways to reach out to your potential customers is the most efficient way to do business. Here are some mistakes business owners make.

SPENDING TOO MUCH ON ADVERTS: advert is key in business yet many people make the mistake of paying too much on advert that they hardly even break even after covering expenses. The trick for start up is getting to know each customers need and trying to satisfy them. Referrals are more valuable than paid adverts for business start ups.

NEGLECTING YOUR TARGET MARKET: for any business, there is a target market. For a baby wears business, nursing mothers could be your target market. For the sales of stationary, offices and schools are your target market. The inability to identify your target customers and go in their direction is a mistake many businesses make.

THINKING YOU CAN DO IT ALL: it’s alright to think you are smart, infact it is essential to be smart but never assume you can do it all. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of experts in any area in which you need help. If you need the service of a lawyer, get one, if it’s that of a broker, get one. Don’t accept every responsibility when setting out.

ABUSING SOCIAL MEDIA: everyone knows social media is a platform to brand yourself and create awareness about your business, this doesn’t mean that there is no limit to what you do on social platforms. When you have too much to say and broadcast on social media, your contents might get thrashed and no longer effective. Avoid misusing your social media if you want to be taken important.

EXPECTING RESULTS IN A HASTE: as a business owner, especially as a starter, it’s convenient to want to get results in a day. It might seem like efforts are taking forever to yield results, it is important to stay patient and know waiting doesn’t kill.
Avoiding the above mistakes as negligible as they seem may improve your business and make you successful in no time

Potential, but no momentum, for Nigeria's dairy industry

Some economists believe that Nigeria's dairy industry has the potential to be a major source of jobs and revenue for the country. Dairy farmers, however, say the government isn't doing enough to develop the industry. Farmers complain of facing major problems getting their products to the market.

4 WAYS TO SURVIVE YOUR START UP YEAR


People love the idea of business, almost everyone thinks there is an entrepreneurial skill in them, which they feel is enough to gear them up to success. This ofcourse, isn’t always the reality when people come into business. They discover business goes beyond the capabilities of their skills and what they think they know. Here are four strategies to survive your start up years.

CUSTOMERS ARE KEY: this is the basis on which any business should be built on. Without customers, there is no business. You need your customers, they pay the bills, you need them to keep coming back, and they sustain the business. Without the customers, your business is as good as dead. Build your customers right, they are key to your business’ survival.

SALES ABILITY: mastering the art of sales is a must for a start up. Your art of sales reflects in your business performance. If you can’t strategise and understand how to target your audience and make them pay for your product or service, you might never be able to do business successfully.

CONTROL YOUR SPENDING: your start up year is the year to be frugal. Control the way you spend and don’t invest on irrelevant items when you are still waiting for your business to pick up. If you are not a disciplined spender, you might not be able to do business successfully.

KEEP RECORDS: as a start up business, its easy to get too busy fixing things up. It is even very possible to think you are too small to start keeping a record but this is not true. Keep a record of every purchase and every sale, measure your metrics and be certain to consider better options for the metrics that are not efficient enough.

Starting up is challenging but it is possible to overcome the challenges of a start up if you consider the above points.

Nigeria explores alternative sources of revenue

Nigeria Going Beyond Oil brings you efforts by the Nigerian government to explore alternative sources of revenue as it looks to de-emphasise its reliance on oil.

Honeywell Flourmills grows total asset by 12% despite recession


Monday, September 26, 2016

HONEYWELL Flour Mills Plc, a market leader in the Nigerian foods industry, has defied the tough operating environment to record a four per cent revenue growth and total assets of growth of 12 per cent from N67.94 billion reported in 2015 to N76.05 billion.

Asset growth in the review period was largely determined by the company’s capacity expansion projects.

During the year under review, the company recorded a loss for the first time in its 20-year history, amounting to N2.87 billion before taxes. This situation was driven by adverse effects of forex fluctuations which impacted input costs.

Besides, the company has also embarked upon several strategic initiatives to grow revenues and reduce costs. A key revenue growth strategy, according to the company, is anchored on backward integration that will result in the production of more products from locally grown crops.

According to a statement by the company shortly after its Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Tuesday, it stated that “the new state-of-the-art, multi-billion Naira facilities in our foods and agro-allied industrial complex in Sagamu, Ogun State, nearing completion, will go a long way in supporting us to actualise our backward integration plans.”

The company will also continue to invest in new product research and development to enable the production of more varieties of food products for its teeming consumers.

Speaking during the seventh AGM, the Chairman of the company, Dr Oba Otudeko CFR, while reviewing the macroeconomic and operating environment said: “There were series of challenging factors that led to increased uncertainty and rising cost pressures in the Nigerian economy.”

He went further to state that “Consumer spending progressively dropped throughout the operating period under review. Prices of most consumer goods rose sharply in response to higher input costs. In our case, we have only taken modest price increases to ensure our brands remain affordable and to sustain food security.”

He, however, reassured all that the board and management team of the company are determined to do their best to prevent a reoccurrence of this unanticipated dip in the company’s earnings and steer the company back to the path of profitability.

Also speaking at the AGM, the Managing Director of the company, Olanrewaju Jaiyeola said, “The Company developed some strength in operational efficiency in the financial year ended March 2016. We have found even greater strength in controlling costs. We embarked on several strategic projects to reduce cost. One of the most important steps we took was to begin the process of developing local sources and partnerships for raw materials within the context of our backward integration strategy.”

He concluded by reiterating that the company has been able to navigate through this turbulent period by streamlining cost structure while several projects have commenced to entrench continuous improvement and innovations across the business.

A shareholder, Sir Sunny Nwosu, commended the company on the progress of work at the new, ultra-modern Sagamu factory. He described the on-going Sagamu project as a strategic initiative that will help the Company further grow market share; increase revenue significantly and support the realisation of its backward integration strategy.

Shareholders of the company also commended the board of directors and its management for being able to steer the affairs of the company during the financial year ended March 31, 2016, despite the tough economic challenges rocking the country.
SOURCE: VANGUARD

4 WAYS TO ENSURE YOU ARE NOT HIRING WRONG


For well established companies, hiring is specified and easy but for start-up businesses, this is not always the case and the type of people you hire would have an effect on your total output and the way your business is perceived.

When it comes to increasing your workforce, there are some ways to identify and work with new hires that will become an integral of your business.

HIRE PASSION: passion is key and as a start-up, passion is a needed attribute for anyone who is going to be a member of your team. Don’t rate skill over passion when considering a new hire. Consider honesty, zeal and drive even over skills.

LOOK BEYOND RÉSUMÉ: most of the time, people get carried away by things they see on the résumé that they forget to test for skills and initiatives. In a more practical world, it is better to hire someone who knows what they know well, even if they don’t have the exact skills needed for a role.

LOOK FOR RELEVANT TRAITS: While skill and experience are obvious requirements, having a team member who fits the company culture is just as, if not more, important. Try to understand candidate’s interpersonal abilities and how well they can co exist, communicate and adapt to situations.

ASK FOR A TEST DRIVE: there is no rule stopping you from asking for a test run. You can ask for a freelance service at first or hire on a temporary term to evaluate performance and make a decision if you are ready to commit and work permanently with the employee.

You can’t do it all alone and hiring of employee is inevitable if you plan to improve your work scale. Considering the above points could be useful when hiring a new hand.

CNN - Mobile toilets big business in Nigeria

CNN's Christian Purefoy talks with an entrepreneur who provides quality portable toilet units in Nigeria.

4 SMART WAYS TO AVOID GOING BROKE


Many people have once been rich but something happened along the way and becoming broke becomes inevitable. It’s quite important to pay attention to where things went wrong and know how to fix it. More importantly, it is better to learn from other people’s mistakes so as to avoid making such yourself. Here are few ways to avoid going broke as a business man or entrepreneur.

SEPARATE BUSINESS AND PERSONAL FINANCE: the easiest way to go broke is to solve personal finances with business asset. Mixing business with pleasure is detrimental to success. Keep separate accounts for different ventures, avoid borrowing from one for another and maintain good discipline when it comes to financial situations.

STAY FRUGAL: learn to stay in check and don’t live beyond your budget if you don’t want to go broke. Set financial limits for yourself and don’t exceed them unnecessarily. This will help you maintain a healthy finance.

HAVE A TEAM IN PLACE: it’s important to have someone or people you talk to, people that can help you through financial situations and help you make the tough choices. They are your financial advisers and backbones and they must be able to give you good advice to prevent you from making mistakes or putting your money in the wrong places.

IDENTIFY YOUR WEAKNESS: it is crucial to identify your weakness and know what drags your savings down all the time. We all have it in us, for some people, its unhealthy junks, for some others, its clothing items they can live without. You need to stay in check, you cannot always trust your instinct when it comes to spending rightly. Staying disciplined is important if you are trying to avoid always being broke.

Many people have had financial issues in the past, some have been able to learn and rebuild their businesses and all they lost, some others couldn’t. Whichever way it is, lessons have been learnt. Making good or maybe better choices is the only option left.

7 MOVIES Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

7 MOVIES Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

Naira to begin recovery next week – ABCON


Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria says it foresees the naira on the path of recovery by Monday due to the introduction of Travelex, a licensed Forex dealer.

The President of ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said on Thursday in Lagos that a licensed Forex dealer would enhance transparency in the distribution network.

Travelex, an international money transfer organisation, was officially directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to distribute Forex to Bureaux De Change operators by Monday.

Gwadabe saidthat a licensed Forex dealer would enhance transparency in the distribution network.

Hesaid that Forex distribution would be efficient and uniformed across ABCON members unlike what was obtainable in the past.

According to him, Travelex has the technology to sell Forex to about a 1,000 BDCs within a couple of hours, which is a major advantage.

He said, “Against this background, the naira is expected to be on a recovery path from Monday as the distribution of Forex to BDCs will boost liquidity in the market.

“The boosting of liquidity in the market will dampen the fears of investors and market speculators, thereby raising their confidence in the market.

“This is a purely ABCON and Travelex arrangement, and has the capacity of removing the bottlenecks in the Forex distribution chain.

“Travelex has the technology to pay about 1,000 BDCs within two hours.

“The new arrangement also eliminates relating with bank account officers”

On the CBN's retention of the Monetary Policy Ratio at 14 per cent, Gwadabe said, “I agree totally with the decision of the apex bank to retain the rate.”

He said that there was an inverse relationship between inflation and interest rate, adding that an increase in liquidity in the economy could put pressure on the exchange rate.

He said, “The more naira at the disposal of Nigerians, the more they want to convert it to dollars for speculation purposes.”

The coming of Travelex into the Forex distribution chain was a response to easing liquidity challenges in the market.

The Nigerian currency has had scarcity of Forex challenges leading to a sustained depreciation of the naira in almost all the segments of the market.

The liquidity challenge moved the apex bank to reconsider the sale of Forex to BDCs when it was apparent it could not sustain the ban.

Since the resumption of Forex to BDCs, ABCON had complained of poor distribution of Forex to its members which led the association to plead for an independent body to take over the distribution.

Stakeholders in the Forex market believed that the latest development would see the naira mounting the wheel of recovery.

(NAN)
SOURCE: PUNCH

5 EASY WAYS TO MAKE MONEY


Everyone needs to make a little extra income, regardless of how much they earn. Having a good alternative income source is relieving and it makes you financially independent. It could mean developing a new idea or doing something alongside whatever you have going. Here are some ideas of how to make money easily.

CONSULTANCY: most people have a good year of experience in what they do. Some people have worked for years and gathered quite a number of exposures and acquired relevant skills to build aspiring persons. Considering a consultancy firm isn’t such a bad idea. You can make money by teaching other people the things you know and ideas applicable to becoming a success in your career. This is a good money making option for older youths and retirees.

FREELANCING: there is a skill you have that people somewhere would be happy to pay for.  Writing contents, becoming a virtual assistance, freelance photography and so many other stuffs can be done to make money without much stress. This is a very easy way to make money alongside whatever you do.

SALES REPRESENTATIVE: connecting buyers and sellers is another lucrative way to make money. You can develop a way of showcasing items for sales and make money by connecting people for business. There is always someone somewhere who needs to get rid of an item, there is also someone somewhere else who would gladly pay for these items. Connect them and make money off the sales.

PROGRAMMING: so many people are familiar with software development and programming, they have a good understanding of the use of a computer and how to make different applications out of it. This skills can be channelled as a good income source from anywhere in the world.

AFFILIATE MARKETING: This involves plugging the link for a product or service to your website. This would make you money if any buyer goes through your link to make a purchase. Many people have made a lot of residual income through a business option like this.

Any of the above business option can help you become financially independent and make you a business owner.

 

4 PILLARS OF BUSINESS SUCCESS


For any business venture or aspiring business set up, the most important factors to be considered which are the direct success motivators include skill, technology, capital and market. Without any of these factors being intact, there is likely not to be a successful business venture. It is mostly impossible for any of them to work without the others.

SKILL: finding the right skill is important for any set up. Every ambitious entrepreneur must understand this. Recognising the type of skills needed to efficiently carry out a job or business in yourself and in your potential hires is a huge factor that cannot be taken likely, if you are working towards succeeding. Identifying skills and talents is the first step to any venture success.

TECHNOLOGY: in the world of today, technology has taken over. It is hardly impossible to do a business without the use of a computer. Either for taking of records or for branding yourself. The use of technology is always applicable. There is hardly a business success without a technology side to it. There is always going to be innovation and ways to do things better. Being on top of your game is important if your business is going to be a success.

CAPITAL: it is hardly possible to build a career or business with no funds. Knowing how to source for fund and being able to put money in the right investments that is most likely to be profitable is the best way to utilise resources.

MARKETING: being able to market your product is the last but not the least necessary factor.  The ability to look for customers, suppliers, distributors and sales representatives are ways towards efficient marketing. Without proper marketing, there is no profitability and there is definitely no business growth. Proper marketing skills can even make a small town business a worldwide brand.

The ability to put together these factors properly is the best way to achieve business success.

Fearless entrepreneurs dreaming big in Nigeria

Media entrepreneurs Mo Abudu and Kene Mkparu are turning their dreams into reality in Africa's most populous country. CNN's Jim Stenman reports.

Nigeria's tech entrepreneurs

A lack of funding and low levels of computer education are underminding the potential for Nigeria's tech industry to create jobs, but an organization called Enspire has plans to improve the sector. Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege reports from Abuja.

Italian firm seeks local partners to improve Nigerian market


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nigeria's design and decoration services sub-sector has attracted a new foreign entrant with a focus on top grade architectural fabrications.

Extravega, an Italian company with its branches in New York, Sydney, among other developed economies, said it came with readiness to partner with local companies that can install and manage its after-sells requirement to reach the market.

The company said it has carried out projects in many countries of the world, specialising in designing, manufacturing and installation of exclusive custom-made design works and project.

According to CEO, Antonio Rillosi, "After 30 years of activity and dynamic presence, it has evolved into an operational multidimensionality, dealing with the construction of architectural works, furnishing of exhibition spaces, production of furniture, works of art and design, saying further that the company's eclectic nature led it to develop countless projects in collaboration with world renowned architects and designers.

Continuing, Rillosi said that projects range from luxury brand shops, offices and showrooms, exhibition stands, hotels renovations, buildings and residence and we make special designs for VIP's offices. We have done it in several countries of the world, we are in Nigeria to do it the same way.

"The market is a rich one, I think Africa is not small because there are thousands of rich companies and people that can achieve this kind of taste, quality but they don't know they can achieve it with their budget. What we deliver is quality, on time and give the customer something beyond his expectation. My goal is to make beautiful things even if they are small.

"I'm ready to partner local companies even though I don't know them yet, but I would partner only with companies who can save, respect exactly the schedules, procedures, process. We are here to teach them and to find this kind of companies".

In addition, Country Representative, Francis Okechukwu Amaechi, said, "we are driving home with a new sensation of a quality revelation in the area of interior and exterior designs as far as the Nigerian real estate sector is concern.

"We came to network with real estate experts, architect and other professionals. I believe this product and service will succeed in Nigeria, my country Nigeria has taste for quality luxury and at every given time the potential to have it is there.

"It is a good quality product and services that the high income class would cherish. Also it goes for hotels, real estate companies that are into major luxury apartment construction and the financial sectors as well. Our product and service is affordable because we don't detect what your budget should be, but we actually give you what you want basically on your budget and dream."
SOURCE: VANGUARD

RETAINING CUSTOMERS IN BUSINESS


For every business owner, your customer base is the strength of your business. The numbers of customers you have and the necessary efforts you put in place to keep them coming back is a determinant of how likely your business is going to grow. The economic meltdown is a perfect determinant that establishment of small and medium scale enterprises is the right direction to go for people who are looking to become financially stable and who are smart enough to know that the economy is not thriving enough to secure everyone a white collar job. Depending on the branch of the economic chain you are, keeping your customer base might be challenging and difficult at some point. Competition keeps rising and new people keep coming into business everyday.

Here are some tips to keep your business base intact despite the competition.

MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS ACCESSIBLE: either online or conventionally, making your business easily accessible for intending customers is a good strategy towards keeping customers coming back. Having your website easy to navigate and having reliable payment options is a good way to retain customers. Commercial locations are advisable for conventional stores.

GOOD VALUE PRODUCTS: in the world of today, there are so many adulterated products in almost every corner of the market. Having consistent valuable products with good quality will help keep your business and customers intact regardless of what the economy is saying.

DISCOUNTS AND PROMOS: this is another easy way to keep your customer base attracted and tempted to come back for more. Every buyer gets excited at the sound of bonus and discounts on products they are purchasing.

GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE: having a good customer service base with good communication skills and well trained customer service skill is also a good way to keep a good customer relationship and keep them coming back to do business with you.

Your customers are the life line of your business and the more you pay attention into making sure your customers are satisfied and happy, the more they are likely to do business with you.

EASY WAYS TO NETWORKING


If you want to go fast,  go alone if you want to go far,  go together. This is a very literal way to explain networking. In the world of today, there is hardly really a career or business that can be built by someone independently. Networking is crucial, either in a business career or other aspects of life. Having the knowledge of proper networking is a skill that is beneficial for every career. Your contacts are your helping hands and it is important to know that every contact is valuable and important and should be treated with the respect. When setting up a new business, the type of people you meet, the contacts you gather, the help you can get and even that informal person somewhere that helped with something trivial are your entire network. Easy ways to have a strong viable network includes:

CONTINUOUSLY GROWING YOUR NETWORK: stay conscious of the fact that for you to build your career or run a profitable business successfully, you have to keep growing your network. Keep making contacts and building a list of people that can make your daily activities more efficiently and less intimidating.

BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR NETWORK: you have to know that building a network and having a huge number of contacts is never enough, you need to take time to build a relationship with your network. Know who they are, what they represent and how to deal with them.

SHOWCASE YOURSELF TO YOUR NETWORK: growing your network and figuring out what most of them represent isn’t enough if you cannot impact on your network and be a strong part of the system. Become a subject matter, showcase and emphasize what you do and what they can benefit from you too. Build something for yourself and make yourself valuable to be networked with.

BENEFIT FROM YOUR NETWORK: after putting all tips in place, be sure to benefit from your contact, be certain they can patronise you and put money in your pocket. A network cannot be considered an efficient one till you can generate income from them and their referrals.

In the world of today, right networking and referrals is enough to make you what you need in the first years of start up. Treat your network right and know that every contact and every referral is important.

 

Agribusiness in Africa: Rice in Ghana

Agribusiness and value chain development in Africa, illustrated agribusiness and value chain concepts through the example of rice in northern Ghana

Cassava Flour Production

The mechanized method is processing cassava into cassava flour.


Furore over sale of Nigerian Coal Corporation


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The sale of Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC), Enugu, by the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) for the sum of N160 million, has come under scrutiny. Hundreds of angry villagers from Enugu communities gathered at the premises of the corporation recently with placards, protesting what they termed the frittering away of assets of the corporation and urging President Muhammadu Buhari to revoke the sale.

Petition demanding a thorough investigation of the said transaction was reviewed recently by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, chaired by Prof Itse Sagay, and forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for necessary action. Indeed, a human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights Initiative (SERI), led by the Chief Executive Officer, Raymond Onyegu, had, in a petition to the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, demanded the cancellation of the purported sale. The group noted that underthe sale of non-core assets of the Corporation, the BPE transferred the entire core and non-core assets of the corporation for a paltry sum of N160 million. The land, according to the group, covers an entire area of 55.99 hectares or 996 plots of land in the state capital.

"Therefore, the land was sold at N150, 000 per plot in an area where the going price for land is N10 million per plot. Besides, the claim of sale of non-core asset is misleading because what was sold was 56 hectares, which included all the core assets of the corporation," the group alleged.

The Socio-Economic Rights Initiative, which has an observer status at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and also collaborates with the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, alleged that the sale of the corporation was bereft of due process and openness as required by the law, establishing the Bureau for Public Enterprises.

In an interview with Daily Sun, Onyegu alleged that the buyer of the property, Mr. Eric Chime was producing table water, instead of investing in coal mining. He also accused the investor of massive cannibalisation and asset stripping of the property of the corporation.

Onyegu said the consent of the Minister of Solid Minerals Development was not obtained, prior to the transaction, as required by Section 12 (4) of the Nigerian Coal Corporation Act, 1950, Cap 299, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

A former staff of Nigerian Railway Corporation, ChiefReuben Ozonnadi, regretted that the corporation and its mines had been turned to a table water company. He said the facility had coal washing plant; the largest in Asia and African continents, which was installed by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, to revive the sector. He claimed that thecoal washing plant had been vandalised.

"This area is a core asset of the Nigerian Coal Corporation. Government never advertised for the sale of core assets. The mines are still there. Nobody sold the mines. We have mines in the northern part of the country. This is the first mining site in Enugu. Westill have coal reserves in this area. I worked here as head of department. I championed the research on coal brickate, which was launched in the year 2000."

He said coal could still be mined in Enugu if government takes the required step to revive the sector. Aside from the coal reserve, he explained that the area had huge deposits of refractory crates, the only place where such treasure could be found in the entire southeast.

Ozonnadi, an engineer by profession, said he joined the Nigerian Coal Corporation in 1975 and worked till 2015.

"Nobody is happy with what is going on. Go to the northern part of the country and you will see that all the property and assets of Nigerian Coal Corporation are still intact. Why should they sell the one in Enugu? It is only in the eastern part that people are vandalising the property of NCC," he explained.

Ozonnadi urged Nigerian government to borrow a leaf from South Africa, China and India that had maintained profitable coal mining industry. He expressed disappointment that such an important sector, which could have been an economic lifeline, was jettisoned and auctioned off at a ridiculous price. He said coal could be used to generate power at reduced cost. The Oji River Power Station, he said, had been vandalised, while the Ijora Power Station that was fired by coal has also been abandoned.

The Chairman of Enugu-Ngwo community, Sir Chris Ejike Agu, told Daily Sun that the landed property of the corporation belonged to Enugu Ngwo people, an inheritance from their forefathers. He said the community entered into an agreement with the colonialists on rental basisfor the establishment of the coal corporation.

"It wasn't an outright sale. My people knew that it was a taboo for anybody to sell land. An Ngwo man regards it as a sacrilege to sell a land he inherited from his forefathers," he explained.

Agu said government could exercise the right to take land in the overriding interest of the public, but argued that such land must not be acquired and transferred to an individual.

He said during the olden days, there was a rope linefrom the Bunker to Okpara mine, which transported coal safely without any interruption. The coal would later be loaded onto the train coaches and transported through the rail to Kano, Kaduna or Lagos.

"If you go up to that point, they have started excavating the rail line. When we talk of asset stripping, the rope line has been vandalised and carted away. This impunity must stop. So far, the transaction is illegal in the sense that what was sold was non-core assets. How can you sell land by auction?" he wondered.

He said it wasn't realistic that 996 plots of land, from hill to hill, could be sold, as such could mean selling off an entire community. He alleged that the purported buyer demolished 27 buildings where several families lived. "Sadly," he said: "Teams of policemen were at the scene of the demolition to supervise the exercise."

Agu insisted that the claim by the state government that the demolished structures could collapse was barefaced lies because the area never experienced any building collapse. He urged the Federal Government to cancel the sale of the property and bring all those involved in the transaction to book.

"They should pay adequate compensation to those that they demolished their houses. How can they be deceiving people and the entire country? How can the government promise to revive the coal industry and the Oji power station, but turn back to sell off the Nigeria Coal Corporation?"

Further investigation revealed that former President Goodluck Jonathan raised the hope of resolving the prolonged crisis in the power sector when his administration signed $3.7 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a Chinese firm on coal energy. The MoU was a defining moment for most Nigerians, with the promise that the coal-to-power project would generate additional 1200 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

The project was designed to run in two phases – the development of the coal mine and the construction of the power plant. Sadly, the end of Jonathan's administration nailed this dream, while the auctioning off of the assets of the Corporation seemed to have snuffed out the additional 1200 megawatts to the national grid.

When Daily Sun contacted Mr. Chime, he denied any wrongdoing, noting that government took the decisive step to privatise the property due to the vandalisation of the assets by self-seeking individuals in the community.

"What is their interest? Are they protecting the government or do they have any stake in the property? The government had to sell the property of the corporation because people were vandalising them. The government had no option but to privatise it and sell it off," he said.

Chime explained that he never bought the coal mine, but rather the analogue and moribund coal washing plant, which cannot be used in the modern technology for coal processing. According to him, he followed due process in the buying of the property.

"We bidded and I won. I was not the only one that bidded for the property. I paid for the property. I have established six industries in the place. We are employing almost 1, 000 people. This transaction was done four years ago. We have done a lot of work in the place. These peopleare the same group that went and even vandalised my property there," he said.

Chime said some land grabbers were collecting money from some individuals and selling portions of the land to them to build residential houses, despite government's explanation that the area was prone to land slide and unfit for habitation.

On the claim that he had encroached onto the core assets of the corporation, as against the non-core assets spelt out in the initial agreement, he said: "If the government didn't sell the asset to me, they would have called me to order. But the government assigned all those property to me and gave me the certificate of occupancy. These protesting groups are the ones that want the government to lose its property. Those people are claiming that they are Enugu Ngwo people, who own the land and not the government. They collect money from people and allocate them portions of land to build residential houses."

Chime said he had the right to use the property as he desired. According to him, as an industrialist, he decided to establish industries in the area to create more employment opportunities for people.He said the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, visited the area last month to encourage the industrial development of the area.

"My own is just part of what the Coal Corporation is selling. The hospital there was sold; their head office was sold. More is being sold even now, including houses that Coal Corporation people were using. Even the one at the Express, the state government bought it from the Federal Government and they are mapping the place out now," he added.

A chieftain in the area, Chief Friday Ani, who is also the Chairman of Ngenevu Landlords Association, saidthe purportedsale of the property brought distress on Ngenevu and Bunker communities in the area. According to him, members of thecommunity were shocked when bulldozers moved into the area and started demolishing people's houses.

"We tried to stop them but they said they were sent by the government. After the demolition, we went to complain to the state government that members of the community were losing their homes and 21 of us were arrested and unlawfully detained for 14 days by the police. Even the serving Councillor then in Ngenevu was equally detained," he said.

Ani said the clampdown on poor communities was uncalled for, as he urged the relevant authorities to revisit the matter and revoke the sale of the Nigerian Coal Corporation.

Further investigation revealed that Enugu, the Coal City, still had an estimated coal reserve of two billion metric tonnes, yet, the Nigerian Coal Corporation went moribund in 1999 when it lost its monopoly over the nation's coal industry. Experts argue that the privatisation of the corporation and its assets was like killing the goose that lays the golden egg. The initial plan by the FG to sell off 40 per cent to private investors, 20 per cent to the Nigerian public, and retain 40 per cent, never yielded the desired result.

In 2002, work stopped at the NCC operated mines. Not even the technical advisory committee set up in 2003 could revive the ailing coal industry.
 
SOURCE: THE SUN