Business

Business (10)

The People’s Republic of China has pledged to increase the number of Chinese visas issued to Nigerian businessmen willing to travel to China as the country intensifies efforts to contain COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjiang, made this known, while making his remarks, during a forum on sub-national cooperation between China and Nigeria, in Abuja on Friday. He said that the sub- national cooperation has been playing a unique role in the whole picture of collaboration with Nigeria and definitely has great potential in the future.

The envoy said the move is to strengthen the bilateral trade ties between both countries stressing that China has made the visa procurement process easier as genuine businessmen people and investors can now get visa through the recommendations of the state governments.

He noted that China takes pride in its partnership with Nigeria, which is the biggest economy in Africa, describing it as a high quality bilateral cooperation and a pacesetter in China Africa cooperation.

“In 2019 the bilateral trade between China and Nigeria reached a historic high of 19.27 billion dollars and the growth rate between China and Nigeria last year reached 23.6 %. China’s import from Nigeria last year increased to 43.1 % with numerous achievements,” the envoy said.

He disclosed that the COVID -19 outbreak is a major public health emergency that has spread with the fastest speed, causing the most infection and the most difficult to contain in China since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949.

He disclosed that as of Thursday, the death toll from the virus, has reached 2,788, while 36,117 have been discharged from hospitals after recovery.

 

“At the end of yesterday, the reported confirmed cases in the China mainland are 78,824 cases. Among the confirmed case, 65,914 cases were in Hubei Province,” he disclosed.

He however, noted that the Chinese government under the leadership of President XI Jinping has taken “the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures,” which have surpassed even the requirements of World Health Organisation and the international community.

“Through all these efforts the epidemic is generally under control and the positive trend in the prevention and control of the virus is now expanding,’’ he said.

He also expressed solidarity with Nigeria, which just recorded the first positive case of the Coronavirus, when an Italian national, who flew into the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, via Turkish airline, was discovered to have contacted the virus.

He said the war against the epidemic is a joint fight where comrades- in- arms work closer to fight the menace, stressing that “together we shall prevail.”

Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi, while making his remarks praised the resilience of China in fighting the epidemic and enjoined authorities in Nigeria to emulate the efforts and sacrifices that China has made to combat the menace.

Represented by Abdullateef Shittu, said the governor said that Nigeria will continue to engage China to strengthen bilateral ties.

Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Sunny Tyoden, who also graced the occasion, lauded China for relaxing visa requirements for Nigerians, adding that Nigerians will take advantage of the situation.

On the COVID -19, Tyoden praised the Chinese for standing up to the challenge. He said “we heard that the Chinese built a hospital in six days, we need to follow the Chinese foot steps to learn how they are addressing this vicious attack from Coronavirus.”

Saturday, 29 February 2020 09:27

'Illegal Tax Activities' - 8 Arrested in Benue

Written by

The Benue Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), taskforce on illegal road blocks this week arrested eight suspected impostors for allegedly defrauding unsuspecting tax payers.

 

The suspects, Mnder Terlumun, Terese Tumase and Gandepuun Agabi were arrested at Gbanyam in Buruku LGA.

 

8 arrested in Benue for illegal tax activity

 

Two others, Liambee Asange and Yisa Zegeiya were arrested at Sati Ikyov in Ushongo LGA and Terhemba Ordue alongside Terna Akosu at GRA Kwande LGA.

 

Also apprehended was one Abugh Gondo who was found operating at Wannune, Mbaagwa, Kwande Local Government Area.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ramona Hood was a 19-year-old single mother when she started as a receptionist at what is now FedEx Custom Critical in Green. Nearly three decades later, she is president and chief executive officer of the subsidiary.

“I wasn’t thinking this was going to be my career and I'd be here for 28 years,” she said. “I was a young mother. I wanted a job that had a stable shift that would allow me to do (college) courses as appropriate.”

 

Talent, grit and hard work have all played a role in Hood’s becoming the first African American to head a FedEx subsidiary in the company’s 47-year history, when she assumed her duties in January.

Mentors also were crucial in her rare career path from receptionist to CEO of the 600-employee subsidiary, which focuses on business clients, such as wholesalers, hospitals and retailers, she said during a presentation at a Mentoring Monday event on Feb. 24 at Cuyahoga Community College’s Metro Campus.

About 300 registered for the local event, one of many held throughout the United States, to stress the importance that mentoring plays in women achieving career goals. Many attendees, like Mercedes Prodan, were younger women seeking professional advice and inspiration. The executive assistant, who sees herself rising through the ranks at PRADCO, the human resource consulting firm where she works, listened attentively as Hood told how she climbed the corporate ladder with the direction of advocates.

 
One-on-one speed mentoring sessions held during Mentoring Monday

One-on-one speed mentoring sessions held during Mentoring Monday at the Tri-C campus in downtown Cleveland. (Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer)The Plain Dealer

Hood explained how she consistently sought the advice and guidance of mentors. In an industry dominated by white men, Hood frequently was a trailblazer in terms of race or gender, and sometimes both. She recounted how seeking the support of Virginia Addicott, who retired as president and CEO in December, was crucial to her ascent. Hood recalled how she was the only African American on the executive leadership team several years ago.

“For whatever reason, I started to have issues with being the only African American,” she said. “I got the whole head trash, ‘Am I worthy? Did I deserve the seat I’m seating in?’”

Hood said she shared such thoughts with then CEO Addicott, who told Hood, “I’m a woman, but I don’t know what it means to be an African American person.” Still, she was confident she could help her mentee. About a month later, she scheduled a meeting between Hood and some African American female executives, including one who owns her own marketing company.

“I had nothing to do with marketing, but it was a way for her [Addicott] to connect me with someone at a high level, who looked like me,” Hood said, adding that she gained a new mentor and friend from the introduction.

 

"It is that level of intentionality that you have to have,” she said. Hood seeks to head the subsidiary in the same spirit of being deliberate about diversity.

“I know what I need to do to move the organization further ahead is be even more intentional,” she said. “I now have a team that has no women on it. I have one African American man. As I add positions to the team, I need to focus on the diversity I’m talking about.”

Ramona Hood, President and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical, standing second from left, leads a roundtable discussion at Mentoring Monday

Ramona Hood, president and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical, standing second from left, leads a roundtable discussion at Mentoring Monday. (Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer)The Plain Dealer

Hood felt comfortable confiding in Addicott. When she met her, Hood had little work experience and no college degree. Hood would later earn an undergraduate degree from Walsh University and an Executive MBA from Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management while working at FedEx. But the young woman had already shown promise, including taking the initiative to cross-train and fill-in on other jobs. Early on it was evident Hood had a “good strategic mind,” wasn’t “afraid to tackle hard things” and took “100% accountability for the outcome of the work,” Addicott said.

“People come into your work life and sometimes you just see things in them,” said Addicott. "It is very clear that the person has the ability, the aptitude to do these things, but they hadn’t been graced with the opportunity. Ramona was one of those people.

“I’ve had great people in my life who have put me into jobs, where other people would have said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” Addicott said. “She doesn’t have this. She doesn’t have that. But they (supporters) still believed in me.”

 

She said mentoring is one way she pays it forward. Hood has done the same.

Mentoring Monday held at the Tri-C campus in downtown Cleveland, OH

Mentoring Monday held at the Tri-C campus in downtown Cleveland, on Feb. 24. (Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer)The Plain Dealer

Kelli Thomas, now a FedEx supervisor in operations, had admired Hood’s leadership style, which she describes as “very assertive,” from a far. She wanted Hood to be her mentor but thought Hood would be too busy. Thomas finally got up the nerve to send an email making the request.

“And I got the email back saying, ‘Absolutely,’” she said.

For more than seven years, Hood has mentored Thomas. For example, Hood has helped her make connections to learn more about the financial side of the business, often required to move into senior management.

“One of the big things she has done is to get me out of my comfort zone and to be open to taking risks,” Thomas said. “She’s encouraged me to have a strategic plan (for my career) and to be agile in that plan.”

Hood told event goers that they would need a “personal board of directors,” which not only include mentors, but other supporters she terms “coaches” and “sponsors.” Coaches have helped her hone skills by understanding “what my strengths are, my liabilities are, even (what) my blind spots are.” Hood describes sponsors as employees with “authority and a title much higher than yours,” who can advocate for you. She said sponsors became increasingly important as she moved into management.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 06:53

Jumia Shuts Down Operations In Cameroon

Written by

E-commerce company, Jumia Technologies on Monday, November 18 shut down its operations in Cameroon without notice just as it did in Gabon and Congo Republic; sparking fears and anxiety on the state of its health in other African countries.

Rebecca Enonchong, a Cameroonian-based tech entrepreneur, disclosed that the development is emblematic of Jumia; which she described as a badly-run business which is only in Africa to rip off Africans.

‘Beyond #JumiaIsNotAfrican, Jumia is simply a badly run business that is incapable of understanding its market, refuses to act as a good corporate citizen and thinks Africans are simply a commodity, a means to an end. No business with that attitude can succeed in the long term,’ Enonchong disclosed.

Likewise, an ex-employee of Jumia affirmed that the company is not much different from a Ponzi scheme. The former staff, who pleaded anonymity, noted that most ex-Jumia staff are not surprised at the development in Cameroon, even as he noted that it could happen even in Nigeria.

‘Jumia is run like a Ponzi scheme. Some of us were poached from rival companies with mouth-watering salary offers and laid off after six months. It is a standard Jumia practice to destabilize its competitors. What happened in Cameroon can happen anywhere, even in Nigeria. When it does, you cannot hold anyone there to account. The owners of the business are foreigners. Right from the period, it went public, I knew it was just a matter of time before the fraud that is Jumia would be uncovered.’

Meanwhile, Jumia revealed in a statement that its e-commerce platform activities in Cameroon were not suitable for the African state.

“We came to the conclusion that our transactional portal as it is run today is not suitable to the current context in Cameroon,” Jumia said in a statement to announce that its e-commerce operations in that country had been suspended.

However, the company said it would continue supporting buyers and vendors in Cameroon using its classified portal Jumia Deals.

The shut-down of its Cameroon operations makes it the third African country in which Jumia has folded up operations. It had earlier closed shop in Gabon and Congo Republic.

Meanwhile, a source at the company in Cameroon told Reuters that Jumia had chosen to prioritize growth over profitability; a move that had back-fired.

“We wanted to see how the business evolved. We can come back, but for now we’re closing to have time to study the market,” the source; who chose to remain anonymous, disclosed to Reuters.

The announcement of the suspension of its operations in Cameroon sent Jumia’s share price tumbling. Specifically, the shares hit a record low of $4.96.

Jumia had seen off a much-publicised listing on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2019. However, the company’s shares nose-dived after a report by US research firm, Citroen which declared the shares ‘worthless’. Equally, Citroen had claimed that Jumia had inflated the figures quoted in its prospectus.

‘“In 18 years of publishing, Citron has never seen such an obvious fraud as Jumia. “That is the Jumia way. To cover up and to commit fraud,” the report said.

Meanwhile, analysts and e-commerce watchers have reacted with dismay and shock to the Jumia shut-down in Cameroon. There are concerns that the same issues that had plagued Jumia in the three African countries it closed shop in were still ever-present in its other operational locations.

‘The Jumia strategy is one that has serious question marks hanging over it,’ disclosed Bode Akinpelu, an e-commerce enthusiast. ‘It has consistently prioritized growth over profitability and this has been touted as the reason for its failure in Cameroon. But the problem is the same in other countries in which Jumia operates, including Nigeria.

‘In fact, no one knows where the next shut-down will happen. It could be Nigeria, its biggest market or Ghana or Egypt. The situation is approaching critical, especially when one considers the impact on its investors, merchants, staff, creditors, suppliers and other stakeholders in the markets where Jumia folds up without warning.’

Jumia Technologies AG is a German-based e-commerce outfit. It was founded in 2012 in Berlin, Germany, and shareholders include the Berlin-based incubator and venture-capital firm Rocket Internet SE. Other early investors include French insurer Axa AXAHY, +0.04% and French telecoms company Orange ORA, +1.86%.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB), a leading financial services provider, in collaboration with SystemSpecs Limited, has launched a solution that is focused on aiding different aspects of business operation.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony held in Lagos on October 24, 2019, the Bank said the product is a payroll solution, designed to meet the yearnings of thousands of its SME customers seeking more efficient, easy-to-use and affordable business tools to seamlessly operate their businesses. This, it was disclosed, will be very useful to individuals in business, small and medium enterprises as well as corporate organisations.

Tagged “FCMB Payroll”, the solution comes with exciting features that enable SME owners to easily process payroll; pay employees’ salaries into commercial/micro-finance bank accounts or wallets and issue them regular pay slips. To all staff of any customer or registered SME, the solution also over-rides collateral requirements, even without the traditional documentation to access loans from FCMB. The product enables these customers easily maintain historical personal and payment records of all employees, including items such as their taxes, pensions and other possible transactions. 

Besides other benefits, staff who are on the payroll solution will have access to payday loans after 3-6 months of enrolment. This is on the premise that salary payments are consistently done through the portal. The lender also declared the solution is open to both FCMB and non-FCMB account holders. Meanwhile, salaries can be paid from any bank account in Nigeria to any individual salary account in any other bank.



Commenting on the initiative, the Managing Director, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mr. Adam Nuru, said the introduction of the FCMB Payroll initiative is in line with the commitment of the Bank to grow the nation’s economy by providing SMEs with cutting-edge business tools to support their operations and help them build scale. Mr. Nuru further stated that, “we are excited to partner with SystemSpecs, a major solutions provider in the financial ecosystem to address some of the challenges confronting SMEs.
The FCMB Payroll platform has been designed to provide a more convenient and modern business tool for business owners and their employees. As a Bank that is consistently innovating to meet our increasingly dynamic customer base, we are confident that the FCMB Payroll initiative will go a long way to boost the operations of SMEs and improve their productivity’’.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro, said, “as an organisation, our aim is to continue to provide individuals and organisations with innovative tools to help them become more productive and take full charge of their operations. We are delighted at the opportunity to partner FCMB to extend our experience and expertise in payroll solutions to the Bank’s customers. We are convinced that FCMB Payroll would help SME customers improve their processes, maintain a satisfied workforce, boost margins and increase scale speedily.”

FCMB Payroll has offerings for SMEs at different phases of growth and these are available to all FCMB SME business account holders and a select SMEs segment that maintains business accounts with other banks.  The base option is FREE to use for all SMEs. Signing up to use FCMB Payroll is easy and fast and can be achieved from the Bank’s website. 

The Competition Authority of Kenya gave Nigeria’s biggest lender the go-ahead to acquire 93.57% of Transnational Bank Ltd., as consolidation in the East African nation’s banking industry gathers pace.

Access Bank Plc’s purchase follows the merger of NIC Group Plc and Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd., and KCB Group Ltd.’s acquisition of National Bank of Kenya Ltd. earlier this year. Access Bank joins other Nigerian lenders Guaranty Trust Bank Ltd. and United Bank of Africa Plc in operating in the Kenyan market.

The deal bodes well for the Central Bank of Kenya’s push for consolidation in an industry of more than 40 lenders and a population of almost 50 million people. Kenya has more banks per person than South Africa and Nigeria, Africa’s two largest economies.

In the past two years, SBM Holdings Ltd. of Mauritius bought up some of the assets of Chase Bank Kenya Ltd. and the entire capital of Fidelity Commercial Bank Ltd.

One of Apple's most popular products may soon be getting a high-end counterpart.

The company is expected to launch AirPods Pro, with a new metal design, advanced sound quality and a $260 price tag, at a press event later this month, according to the China Economic Daily. AirPods currently start at $159.
The company declined to comment on the rumor. .
Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said two models of the popular Bluetooth earbuds were likely to hit production by the end of the year and launch in the first quarter of 2020.
The move would be in line with Apple's strategy to roll out premium version of its most popular products, as it's done with Macs, iPhones and iPads.
But it's been years since a gadget has won over users the way AirPods have. Although the design was originally mocked--some said they looked like electronic toothbrushes dangling from ears--it's amassed a cult-like following since its 2016 debut. Countless knockoffs exist, including a pair that doesn't even play music and serves as a fashion statement.
The company declined to share how many AirPods it's sold to date, although CEO Tim Cook previously called the demand "phenomenal." Analyst Neil Cybart, founder of Above Avalon, a website focused on Apple analysis, estimates Apple has sold 59 million pairs of AirPods -- 34 million over the past 12 months alone, signaling an impressive 85% year-over-year growth.
"AirPods are literally hanging out of people's ears; they're nearly impossible to miss when worn," Cybart said. "Since the lack of wires make AirPods useful for outdoors activities, including walking and running, they are bound to be seen in people's ears while out and about."
 

We report that the governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that his administration was in partnership talk with Dangote, Coscharis and Stallion Group Industries Limited to set up a rice mill in the state.

The governor made this known yesterday at a forum, "Ekiti Youth Conversation with Mr Governor”, held at the Abiodun Adetiloye Hall of the State Trade Fair Complex, Ado Ekiti, as part of activities marking the first anniversary of his administration.

He said that the state has is very good at rice production and that his administration will put in place an enabling environment and other incentives that would attract investors like favourable framework, tax relief, security, among others.

Youths from different parts of the state attended the programme. Fayemi revealed that his administration had just sealed a deal with Promasidor Limited to revive Ikun Dairy Farm, set up a milk producing factory, among others.

He made it known that two cassava processing companies are setting up shops in the state to absorb cassava produce in the state, noting this will boost the state’s investment profile and create jobs for the youths.

Also, Fayemi revealed that Ekiti Development and Investment Promotion Agency (EKDIPA) has just been established to leverage on the state’s investment potential to create more jobs in the state.

Facebook’s effort to create a cryptocurrency was dealt a blow on Friday after several key partners, including MasterCard, Visa, eBay, paypal,Stripe and Mercado Pago, abandoned the project, the first company to abandon the project was paypal. The defections followed fierce criticism from global regulators and lawmakers, and have prompted some industry-watchers to question whether the Libra programme can survive.

The news comes days before the Libra Association, the group that will oversee the digital currency, prepares to convene its members and ask them to sign a charter agreement. The meeting is slated to take place on Monday in Geneva. A Libra Association spokeswoman said on Friday that the gathering will proceed as planned, and that it would announce the first list of official partners once a formal charter is signed.

Facebook Libra ExitIn a statement, the spokeswoman said the group was “focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association” as it worked to create “a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people”.

When Facebook launched plans for Libra in June, a critical part of its pitch was that major players in the payments and tech industry were supporting it. The cryptocurrency would be run out of Geneva by the organisations that comprised the Libra Association, not solely by Facebook. But now that that alliance appears to be eroding, the project’s future is uncertain.

“I don’t think Facebook can do this by itself,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities told Bloomberg TV. “Short of a big bank stepping in like JP Morgan, I don’t think this could ever happen.”

In a tweet on Friday, David Marcus, the Facebook executive spearheading the effort, said that the exit of six partners would not derail the effort. “I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update,” he wrote. “Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when this much pressure builds up.”

Whether or not Libra implodes, the exits highlight the extreme challenges that lie ahead for the project, which if successful could have a sweeping impact on the global financial system. “It may very well fail completely,” said Lisa Ellis, an analyst at MoffettNathanson. Even if it survives, progress will take much longer and “it’s likely to fall into some level of obscurity”, she added.

Facebook has faced fierce backlash since the company announced plans for Libra. Politicians and regulators around the world have called on Facebook to halt its progress, and some have suggested Libra could be used for illegal money laundering or trafficking schemes.

Despite the scrutiny from public officials and the exodus of partners, Facebook remains committed to Libra, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because they were not authorised to speak publicly. Some people inside the company think the defections are partly driven by established payments providers worrying about a new entrant encroaching on their turf, the person said.

In the months since its announcement, Facebook has frequently found itself in the spotlight over the cryptocurrency. Mr Marcus went to Washington in July to testify before Congress about Facebook’s plans. Later this month, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee to answer even more questions about Libra.

Facebook’s effort to create a cryptocurrency was dealt a blow on Friday after several key partners, including MasterCard, Visa, eBay, paypal,Stripe and Mercado Pago, abandoned the project, the first company to abandon the project was paypal. The defections followed fierce criticism from global regulators and lawmakers, and have prompted some industry-watchers to question whether the Libra programme can survive.

The news comes days before the Libra Association, the group that will oversee the digital currency, prepares to convene its members and ask them to sign a charter agreement. The meeting is slated to take place on Monday in Geneva. A Libra Association spokeswoman said on Friday that the gathering will proceed as planned, and that it would announce the first list of official partners once a formal charter is signed.

Facebook Libra ExitIn a statement, the spokeswoman said the group was “focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association” as it worked to create “a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people”.

When Facebook launched plans for Libra in June, a critical part of its pitch was that major players in the payments and tech industry were supporting it. The cryptocurrency would be run out of Geneva by the organisations that comprised the Libra Association, not solely by Facebook. But now that that alliance appears to be eroding, the project’s future is uncertain.

“I don’t think Facebook can do this by itself,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities told Bloomberg TV. “Short of a big bank stepping in like JP Morgan, I don’t think this could ever happen.”

In a tweet on Friday, David Marcus, the Facebook executive spearheading the effort, said that the exit of six partners would not derail the effort. “I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update,” he wrote. “Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when this much pressure builds up.”