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Why 2021 MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs holds promise for Africa — President, Harvest Foundation 

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The MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE)2021 report, released at the end of March, 2022, has continued to attract reviews from key institutions within the African continent.

The latest of such reactions emerged Tuesday, as the President, Harvest Foundation, Mrs Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, spoke against the backdrop of MIWE 2021 report which highlighted 13 best African countries for women entrepreneurs.

In the 118-page report, Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, Madagascar, Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Angola, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Malawi and Egypt were named as top destinations for people seeking a safe haven for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

MIWE 2021 involved a survey of 65 countries, and Botswana at 35 was Africa’s best performing country. The top positions, expectedly, were occupied by entities from North America, West and Eastern Europe, and Asia.

According to MasterCard, its sample size of 65 economies represents 82.4% of the world’s female labour force.

Speaking to the report on Tuesday, Mrs Ugo-Ngadi said that though the revelations showed a comparatively weak performance by African economies, they should be regarded as a challenge to managers of the continent’s economies.

“The MIWE report is, no doubt, an incisive and compelling read. Africa’s best performance standing at 35 out of 65 indicates that a lot more work needs to be done to redress the narrative.

“The reason for this weak performance is not far-fetched. African governments are more guilty of United Nations findings which note that only 10% of all policy measures put in place globally are gender sensitive and are geared towards addressing women’s needs,”Ugo-Ngadi noted in a statement.

The release added: “Reworking the African narrative must be deliberate and well thought out. African leaders, from Cape to Cairo, must open up themselves to fresh understanding of where the global economy is headed. The reality is that across the entrepreneurial landscape, women have become one of the essential elements defining the global economy’s most valuable assets.

“African leaders must come to a realization that African women entrepreneurs hold the key to a regeneration of the continent’s economy, and this is why the Harvest Foundation has committed to piloting the first-ever African Woman International Trade Fair.

Ugo-Ngadi also called for the urgent removal of the barriers stopping African women from reaching their full potential saying, “Women have the numbers. There is an immediate need to factor that into policy making if African female entrepreneurs hope to increasingly occupy an improved place in the 37% accounting for global GDP.”

 

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Nigeria’s finance ministry unveils system to monitor tax exemptions

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Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance has unveiled the Incentive Monitoring and Evaluation Platform (IMEP), a cutting-edge computer system meant to make it easier to keep an eye on the tax costs connected to import duty exemption certificates.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, said it was part of a larger plan to cut down on tax spending and make sure that fiscal policies were helping the country’s economy grow.

Edun said the IMEP was meant to change how the Federal Ministry of Finance figures out how much the tax breaks for businesses, non-governmental organizations, and foreign groups affect the economy.

Since President Bola Tinubu took office, Nigeria’s government has been trying to change the country’s fiscal and monetary policies. This has led to bold moves by both the central bank and the tax advisory committee run by Taiwo Oyedele.

Edun said the ministry wanted to improve the monitoring and review of these exemptions by putting in place a strong automated tool. He talked about how the IMEP has many useful features, such as a mechanism for clawing back duties, electronic report generation, a central database for tracking, factory geo-location tagging, industry qualification status validation, integration with many government agencies, and sending demand notices to people who don’t pay their taxes.

“One of the critical objectives of the IMEP is to provide a framework that will prevent ineligible applicants from receiving tax benefits, enforce compliance with fiscal policy measures, and offer a comprehensive analysis of the economic impact of tax incentives.

“By doing so, the ministry hopes to curb the misuse of tax expenditures, support the realisation of economic outcomes from fiscal incentives, and enhance the direct measurement of tax incentives’ effects on the economy,” he noted.

Edun says the system is meant to give a framework to checkmate and limit applicants who aren’t qualified, make sure that strict fiscal policy measures are followed, and give a strong analysis of how tax incentives affect the economy.

“Overall, the introduction of the IMEP represents a significant step towards reducing the cost of tax expenditure and ensuring that tax incentives have a positive impact on the Nigerian economy. This initiative is part of the government’s commitment to fostering transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the management of the nation’s resources,” he explained.

In December, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) said it granted three years of tax exemption to 34 companies in 2023.

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Nigeria’s inflation hits 28-year high of 33.20%

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The recent gains of Nigeria’s Naira as the best-performing currency worldwide in the last month have had little or no impact on the consumer price index in the West African country as its inflation rate reached a 28-year high of 33.20%.

According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s inflation has continued its 15-month-a-row surge driven by soaring food and energy costs despite the central bank’s rate hikes aimed at halting its ascent.

This was 10.37% more than the 21.9% inflation rate seen in March 2023. Year-over-year, rural inflation was 31.45% in March 2024. Rural inflation fell from 2.9% in February 2024 to 2.87 % in March 2024, which was a 0.20 percentage point drop from February 2024.

It went up by 5.71% points from March 2023 to March 2024, when it was 19.79%. The average rural inflation rate for the twelve months finishing in March 2024 was 25.50%.

Food prices went up by 40.1% a year in March 2024, which was 15.56 percentage points more than the rate of 24.45% a year earlier. The statistics office said food and non-alcoholic beverages were the biggest contributors to the pickup in inflation. Food inflation rose to 40.01% year-on-year, from 37.92% a month earlier.

Since President Bola Tinubu ended an expensive gasoline subsidy and devalued the naira twice in his first year in office, price pressures have grown. To get the economy off of subsidies that have hurt the government’s finances, the government recently raised energy rates for people who use the most electricity.

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