Heritage Bank on Challenges SMEs Face

HERITAGE Bank Limited has advised small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs, in the country to focus greatly on innovation in order to access the unfolding opportunities for growth and development in the economy. Ifie Sekibo, managing director/chief executive officer, of the bank, said although SMEs were vital for economic growth and employment generation, their activities were being hampered by lack of adequate finance.

He attributed the challenges facing SME promoters in the country to inadequate capacity building and education. He listed other factors to include inadequate financial record keeping, poor managerial skills, lack of access to international markets, inability to provide collateral and poor access to infrastructure.

Sekibo added that for Nigeria to achieve its goal of being one of the 20 most developed countries by 2020, stakeholders in the SME sector must collaborate through the establishment of a solid framework supported by a clearly articulated government policy. “SMEs enhance competition and entrepreneurship, and their proper development has a positive impact on innovation and productivity growth. Developing the SME sector, therefore, requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, ACAMS, has commended Heritage Bank over its commitment to anti-money laundering by employing professionally-certified anti-money laundering experts. The commendation was contained in a letter by Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, ACAMS, communications manager, following the certification of Okenwa Akamadu of Heritage Bank as a full member of the association.

Monterrosa-Yancey described the certification of Akamadu as a merit that not only positively reflected his status as a global professional, but also conferred on his employer an objective confirmation of its proficiency and capability in the dynamic anti-money laundering field.

The Gang of 10 Economies

THE International Monetary Fund, IMF, has released preliminary results of its 2012 Coordinated Direct Investment Survey, CDIS, the fund’s worldwide survey of bilateral direct investment positions. The results, published as an online database, comprise preliminary direct investment positions data for end of 2012 and a revised data for 2009-2011. The survey has been conducted annually since 2009, with revised data released semi-annually. The 2012 survey includes data from 88 economies, two more than in the 2011 preliminary results. New CDIS participants are Burkina Faso and Tanzania.

Christine Lagarde, IMF President
Christine Lagarde, IMF President

The IMF said in a press statement  that in 2012, 64 percent of the total inward direct investment of US$26 trillion was concentrated in the 10 economies with the largest inward direct investment, and 78 percent of the total outward direct investment of US$26.6 trillion originated from the 10 economies with the largest outward direct investment. For the 86 economies that reported data in both 2011 and 2012, inward direct investment positions increased from US$24.1 trillion in 2011 to US$26.0 trillion in 2012, up 7.9 percent.

According to the statement, “the CDIS database presents detailed data on ‘inward’ direct investment (direct investment positions with a non-resident foreign direct investor) cross-classified by economy of investor, and data on ‘outward’ direct investment (direct investment positions abroad by a resident foreign direct investor) cross-classified by economy of investment. All participants in the CDIS provided data on inward direct investment and most participants (more than two-thirds) also provided data on outward direct investment.”

The CDIS database also contains breakdowns of direct investment positions including, in most instances, separate data on net equity and net debt positions, as well as tables that present “mirror” data, in which data from the reporting economy are shown side-by-side with the data obtained from all other counterpart reporting economies.

The IMF explained in the statement that, “Mirror data may be compared to an economy’s own estimates vis-à-vis the counterpart. Mirror data are useful in highlighting data gaps or errors, and therefore where follow-up efforts may prove beneficial. The CDIS website also allows users access to metadata reports (which provide information on the characteristics of the data reported in the CDIS by a given country, including its data coverage and compilation methodology).”

Revision of Nigeria’s Economic Statistics

NIGERIA is preparing to rebase its economy next year. Kingsley Moghalu, deputy governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, financial system stability, says that the planned rebasing of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is very necessary and would helpful to the economy. The rebased GDP figures were initially meant to be released in January 2012, but were shifted to August 2012 following the petrol subsidy strike at the beginning of last year. Thereafter, it was extended to October and the new date now is first quarter of 2014.


The GDP rebasing is expected to increase the estimated size of the Nigerian economy by 40 percent this would boost the economy from about $250 billion, to about $350 billion. That would bring it very close to South Africa’s which currently stand at $385 billion economy. Specifically, the initiative is to change the base year for the country’s GDP computation from 1990 to 2008.

But Moghalu who spoke at a recent forum in Lagos, pointed out that although the exercise was necessary and helpful, Nigerians should not just put their hope on the figures that would come out from the exercise, “and begin to feel that we have arrived because our GDP now approximates that of South Africa. That would be a mirage.”

He insisted that there was need for everybody in the country, especially policy makers, to work towards improving the quality of life in the country, the country’s ranking in human development index, and reduce the poverty level which he put at about 60 per cent. “So, those are the real things we need to work on. When we rebase our GDP, it becomes so huge, but it doesn’t mean that the infrastructure that I see in South Africa whenever I go there, exists in Nigeria. It is creating those infrastructures here and not just having an absolute GDP figures that brings development.

“I agree that rebasing is essential because countries rebase their GDP every five years and at most, 10 years. But we haven’t done that in 20 years. Therefore, our economic statistics are totally out of place as far as GDP growth and output are concerned. What is happening is a healthy competition within African countries. The best way for Africa to grow is for countries to look at what their neighbours are doing. So, in that context, it is not inappropriate for Nigeria to aspire to become a bigger economy than South Africa,” he said.

Compiled By Anayo Ezugwu 

— Dec. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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