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SMEs And Harsh Economic Situation ln Education Industry

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The harsh economic situation in the country has become a source of worry to Nigerians, as many now live below the poverty line.
To many families, only those who are alive think of education, so parents prioritise between sending their children and wards to school to learn and become future leaders and feeding to live till the future comes.
The Tide’s went to town to see how Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the education industry are coping with the situation.
Read on .

The Proprietress of Brave-Brain Academy, Mrs Nwaichi Princess Daberechi said, “there is massive withdraw of children from the private schools to government schools due to the inability of  parents to meet up with financial demands.
“Also, so many children are in their houses not attending private nor government schools because things are generally very difficult”.
Mrs Nwaichi noted that parents that formally pay their children fees with ease only survive the strategy of paying many times throughout the term.
To the proprietress, there is need for government’s intervention to alleviate the suffering of the masses. “The leaders should do something about the devastated economy of the country.
“Government should also upgrade our curriculum, hunt the out of school children making sure that they are back to school, put good policies in place that will better the education sector”. 
Brave-brain proprietress who said she has been in the system for over ten years now, noted that one cannot compare the present rate of progress in the school system to what it has been before.

To the Proprietress of  Biddi International School, Mrs Bridget Eze, “comparing the growth of the school in the time past and now, it is very obvious that the time past is better than  today. Most parents cannot conveniently feed their families twice a day let alone paying their children’s school fees.   
“I started teaching as far back as 1988 as a classroom teacher. I have also headed both the nursery and primary sections as an employee before establishing my own school ten years ago. Things are difficult now.
“ The economic situation makes it almost impossible for school owners  to make profit. As a medium enterprise I want to say that we are not making profit as supposed. 
“The reason is because the parents who are our number one customers are adversely affected by the economic situation in the country”.
She said that some  parents lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic and those of them in different businesses are not making gains  like before, “while some shops are even closed down”.
On the way forward for the school system, she said, “talking about what should be done as a solution, there should be a general overhaul of the entire system starting from the top.
“security situation of the nation should be properly addressed,  devaluation of naira and high level of corruption in the society should be dealtwith by leaders who must become sincere themselves”.
The Proprietress noted that the economic situation of the country has affected every sector, not only the school system.

A teacher in one of the private schools, Excel Education Centre, Mrs. Azubuike Joy Chimezie said that the poor economic situationin in the country has affected the rate of the growth  of the schools.
“The growth rate has dropped drastically due to poor economy and low income of  some families compared to when the situation was better. Some parents even withdrew their children or wards from good schools to quacks not minding if they are getting the basic knowledge or not due to financial constraints. 
“We know generally that the times are hard but it is heartbreaking that only the politicians and highly connected business persons are making it, while the poor are getting poorer. It affects the payment of school fees, she added.
She said the “situation affected their school once like that, so the school used a strategy of reducing the school fees and advertised a free registration of students. This opened a door for inflow of pupils. This brought more students into the school as they pay  for other fees and school fees. It went a long way to boost the number.
Mrs. Azubuike who has been in the school system for 21 years now said school owners no longer make gains like before and this accounts for why some private schools owe their teachers, adding that even some parents are heavily indebted to their children’s schools.
“I suggest that government should pity the poor masses and find a way of cubbing poverty rate in the country. The leaders should ensure that both private and government schools are properly equipped . The country has all it takes to do that but their selfish interest would not allow them use the God given Nigerian natural resources to benefit the poor masses”, she said.

My Business with Lilian Peters

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SMEs

NASME Tasks Entrepreneurs To Use AfCFTA To Grow Businesses

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The Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises Association (NASME) has called on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to explore the benefits that the Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) offers to grow their businesses.
NASME National President Dr. Abdulrashid Yerima made the appeal in an interview with The Tide source in Abuja.
It also commissioned entrepreneurs to explore the 18th MSME Summit and Expo positioned to provide a powerful platform to expose MSME operators to opportunities to do business within and outside Nigeria, especially within African countries.
The theme of *the summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Abuja is “Positioning MSMEs* for the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.”
“While the event would provide an avenue for industry experts to discuss a regulatory framework for full participation in AfCFTA, it would expose MSMEs to various financing windows for development projects.
It would also stimulate an efficient synergy that could drive the growth and development of MSMEs in Nigeria, as well as create marketing opportunities for products made in Nigeria,” Yerima said.
We gathered that no less than 300 MSMEs are expected to exhibit their products and services, among others.

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PH Co-Operative Floats Microfinance Bank, Next Year

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The President of iEBS-Matrixx Co-operative, Amb Larry Goodwill Ajiola, says the group has concluded plans to float a Microfinance Bank in Port Harcourt in 2022.
Ajiola said this during the Co-operative’s last general meeting for the year at L A Kings in Port Harcourt over the weekend.
iEBS President said the Co-operative members would have their passbooks and identity cards, stating that the group would launch into, “real estate ownership, home appliance ownership and transportation business ownership”.
He also noted that other co-operatives are affiliating with iEBS-Matrixx on the federal government loan and other investment which would kick-off next year.
Ajiola reiterated that the group has met all the requirements for the disbursement of some of the loans, which he said maybe accessed before the end of the year.
He expressed worry over what he called impatient and insulting attitude of some members towards federal government loans and grants, adding that most times some leaders frustrate what is expected to benefit the masses.
The secretary of the Co-operative, Mr. Ifeanyi …….. stated the need for the members to be prayerful, adding that the leaders need the grace of God to execute the investment plans.
He noted that most times those at the herm of affairs sits on approvals that have already been given, adding that it takes prayers for such approvals go through.
In his contribution, the chairman of one of the affiliated group, ‘Crested Wealth co-operative’, Mr. Homfrey Ogebek, expressed satisfaction for affiliating with iEBS-Matrixx.
Ogebek noted that his group has generated over 250 members within two weeks for some of the Co-operative programmes, adding that his group has members across the nine states of the South South and South East zones.
Referring to the tension in the members, he said, “it is not easy to lead people. The challenges are much, so there is a great need for members to keep faith alive because iEBS-Matrixx has a huge investment at hand”

By: Lilian Peters

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SMEs

BoI Honoured For Financial Inclusion Initiatives

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The Bank of Industry (BoI) has been honoured at the just-concluded Sust-ainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards also known as the SERAS CSR Awards 2021.
Specifically, BoI won the award for the ‘Best Company in Financial Inclusion’ in recognition of its development impact in providing solutions to ensure that financial services are more accessible to unbanked and under-served groups. The Bank also received the award for ‘Best New Entry.’
Speaking on the awards, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan, said “We are honoured to be recognised for our continuous efforts and strategic investments aimed at improving financial health and inclusion within Nigeria’s business landscape and economy.
“We remain committed to galvanizing more resources to scale up impact for economic, environmental and social responsibility, in line with our business strategy for sustainable development.
“These awards align with our mission of transforming Nigeria’s industrial sector through sustainable business practices as Africa’s leading Development Finance Institution operating under global best practices.”

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