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Global investment flows rebound after COVID-19, reaches $852bn in 2021

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After a big drop in 2021 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, global Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, reached an estimated 852 billion dollars in the first half of 2021, showing a stronger than expected rebound.

The latest Investment Trends Monitor released on Tuesday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, showed an increase in the first two quarters.

It shows the increase in the first two quarters in FDI, recovered more than 70 per cent of the losses stemming from the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.

For UNCTAD’s director of investment and enterprise, James Zhan, the good news “masks the growing divergence in FDI flows between developed and developing economies, as well as the lag in a broad-based recovery of the greenfield investment in productive capacity”.

Zhan however warns that “uncertainties remain abundant”.

The duration of the health crisis, the pace of vaccinations, especially in developing countries, and the speed of implementation of infrastructure stimulus, remain important factors of uncertainty.

Other important risk factors are labour and supply chain bottlenecks, rising energy prices and inflationary pressures.

Despite these challenges, the global outlook for the full year has improved from earlier projections.

The growth in the next few months should be more muted than in the first half of the year, but it should still take FDI flows to beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Between January and June, developed economies saw the biggest rise, with FDI reaching an estimated 424 billion dollars, more than three times the exceptionally low level in 2020.

In Europe, several large economies saw sizeable increases, on average remaining only five per cent below pre-pandemic quarterly levels.

Inflows in the United States were up by 90 per cent, driven by a surge in cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

FDI flows in developing economies also increased significantly, totalling 427 billion dollars in the first half of the year.

There was a growth acceleration in the east and southeast Asia (25 per cent), a recovery to near pre-pandemic levels in Central and South America, and upticks in several other regional economies across Africa,  and West and Central Asia.

Of the total recovery increase, 75 per cent was recorded in developed economies.

High-income countries more than doubled quarterly FDI inflows from rock bottom 2020 levels, middle-income economies saw a 30 per cent increase, and low-income economies a further nine per cent decline.

Growing investor confidence is most apparent in infrastructure, boosted by favourable long-term financing conditions, recovery stimulus packages and overseas investment programmes.

International project finance deals were up 32 per cent in number, and 74 per cent in value terms. Sizeable increases happened in most high-income regions, and in Asia and South America.

In contrast, UNCTAD says investor confidence in industry and value chains remains shaky. Greenfield investment project announcements continued their downward path, decreasing 13 per cent in number and 11 per cent in value until the end of September.

After suffering double-digit declines across almost all sectors, the recovery in areas relevant to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries remains fragile.

The combined value of announced greenfield investments and project finance deals rose by 60 per cent, but mostly because of a small number of very large deals in the power sector.

International project finance in renewable energy and utilities continues to be the strongest growth sector.

The investment in projects relevant to the SDGs in the least developed countries continued to decline precipitously.

New greenfield project announcements fell by 51 per cent and infrastructure project finance deals by 47 per cent. Both had already fallen 28 per cent last year.

NAN

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Nigeria Customs modernisation project to check extortion of traders

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The Trade Modernisation Project (TMP) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), will check the extortion of traders by facilitating the comprehensive tracking of their goods from the beginning of the trade process until delivery.

This is through its Unified Customs Management System(UCMS), a software that would be deployed to monitor all stages of the transactions by traders.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the TMP is the automation of the business processes of the NCS, to simplify and enhance the experience of stakeholders in the trade value chain.

It is also aimed at making it easy to obtain export and import clearances, and in paying duties and obtaining release of goods.

NAN further reports that the customs modernisation project, which has three phases, is a 20-year concession agreement.

It was signed on May 27, 2023, between the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the NCS Board, and The Trade Modernisation Project Ltd.

Chief Superintendent of Customs, Usman Abba, Head, Business Analyst for the project, told NAN in an interview on Thursday in Abuja that by using the software traders would be able to know when and where there were hitches in their transactions for redress.

Abba said the system would eliminate fraudulent intent and expose those who take advantage of clients who cannot properly track their goods with the current system to extort them.

“This is the platform where the trader has access and is able to track all the stages of transactions and know where the challenge or exactly the issue is until the goods are delivered,“ he said.

He said that the service had received numerous reports of agents attempting to extract additional funds from their clients, by falsely claiming that their goods had not been cleared by customs when the process had already been completed.

According to him, the software, which will soon be inaugurated, is designed to have information on all transactions, including payments and goods clearance, to enable the trader to act as required.

He added that other agencies were also being integrated into the system to examine goods according to their constitutional mandates

On the current stage of the development of the software, Abba said that all internal systems had been completed, and final touches were being done on stakeholder integration.

NAN reports that the TMP is targeting to generate more than 250 billion Dollars in revenue over the 20-year concession.

The project is aimed at bringing Nigeria to par with the rest of the world in the deployment of technology to facilitate international trade.

It would also assist the Federal Government in achieving economic diversification by facilitating easier cross-border trading.

(NAN)

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SMEDAN introduces business pitch competition to enhance financial literacy

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SMEDAN introduces business pitch competition to enhance financial literacy

SMEDAN introduces business pitch competition to enhance financial literacy

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has introduced a business pitch competition known as “SMEDAN Speed Pitch”.

The Director-General of SMEDAN, Charles Odii, in a statement, said the initiative was designed to enhance financial literacy and provide small businesses with opportunities to access funds for growth.

Odii said the participants would receive training and support to develop and clearly articulate unique business innovations, viability, and potential to unlock opportunities.

According to him, this will include private investments in the country and across the globe.

He said: “The first edition of the pitch competition will take place on May 1, at the Eko Convention Center in Lagos as part of the Nano Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (NMSME) Engagement Series.

“It will be hosted by Ms Jennifer Adighije, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Entrepreneurship and Innovation/Digital Economy.

“This initiative is part of SMEDAN’s ‘GROW Nigerian’ strategy, which focuses on boosting local production.

“It does this by providing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with financial and non-financial resources, including markets, knowledge, mentorship, and tools, to grow sustainably and spread prosperity.’’

Odii said to participate in the first edition, businesses must be female-owned, registered, and in operation for at least three years.

He said: “Applications will open on April 24 and close on April 27.

“Shortlisted applicants will undergo a test to determine the top five performers who will get the chance to present their pitch at the main event in Lagos.

“The winner will receive a prize of one million naira for workforce support, procurement of work tools, and business expansion.

“ Runners-up will receive 300,000 and 200,000 respectively, along with free Business Development support.”

On how to apply, the Director-General urged applicants to upload a three-minute video pitch to social media.

Odii said: “Introduce yourself in the video and showcase your product/service and the problem it solves, and make a case for why you should be enlisted.

“Follow and Tag SMEDAN’s official pages (@smedaninfo, use the hashtag #SMEDANSpeedPitch), and remember that the application deadline is April 27.

“For pitch criteria, you must possess a clear vision and concept, understanding of the target audience, unique selling proposition (USP), short-term and long-term goals and utilisation of the prize (money).

“The judging criteria will include, clarity, market potential, innovation and differentiation and presentation skills.”

(NAN)

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We generated N30.2 bn revenue in three months – Kano NCS Comptroller

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Nigeria Customs Service deepens ties with Benin Republic to facilitate trade

We generated N30.2 bn revenue in three months – Kano NCS Comptroller

The Kano Area command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says it generated N30.2 billion in revenue between January and March 2024.

The Area Comptroller, Mr Dauda Chana, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Kano.

NAN reports that the Kano area command covers Kano State and Jigawa.

Chana said there was a significant increase in the revenue generation profile of the command when compared to the same period in 2023 when N9.5 billion was realised within the same period.

The comptroller said already the area command has introduced more sensitive security measures to prevent all forms of smuggling in the area.

“We have already positioned our officers at strategic locations to deal decisively with all those involved in the illegal smuggling of materials.

“The area command has deployed officers at border posts in Maigatari, Gumel Local Government Area, Jigawa, to intensify efforts at mitigating activities of smugglers.

Read Also: Kano NCS generated N6.9bn in November – Comptroller

“The same applied to officers at the Jeke outpost in Babura Local Government Area of Jigawa.

“We are battle-ready to end smuggling through our various strategies to pave the way for arrest and prosecution of those involved in illegal businesses,” he said.

Chana appealed to traditional rulers and stakeholders, especially those in border areas, for their support and sensitisation of their residents on the negative effects of smuggling on the nation’s economy.

“We have also reached out to youths in the border communities, to assist our field officers with required intelligence that will assist in curbing all forms of smuggling activities.

“The command’s area of coverage is a no-go area for smugglers as officers have been stationed at identified illegal smuggling routes to ensure arrests and prosecution of offenders,’’ Chana said.

The area commander, however, solicited the support of stakeholders in encouraging residents to shun smuggling and embrace the export of locally produced goods.

(NAN)

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