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  It’s time to look back on what has been a mixed year for business in Nigeria. Most reviews of the period will have a number of things in common. They’ll highlight how the old way of doing commerce is changing right before our eyes, thanks to contemporary technologies. And they will point to the startups at the forefront of this transformation.
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But in many ways, the year offered more of what we’ve seen in the previous years. While the country’s economy has experienced moderate growth, its industrial terrain remains challenging for the businesses that operate in it. Nevertheless, many of them have stayed resilient; some even continue to thrive in the face of adversity. Here’s our own review of the past twelve months; the top ten business highlights for the year 2022, presented in no particular order.

Nigeria’s Billion-Dollar Solar Projects

This one’s still in the works—news broke back in August that the country had secured funding for it. Nevertheless, it holds a lot of promise. If it goes according to plan, it’ll strengthen solar infrastructure in ten different locations across Nigeria. The project, which will be funded with a $1.5 billion loan from the US-EXIM bank, could significantly boost the power supply when it’s completed while aligning Nigeria with a global shift towards renewable energy use.

MTN Rolled Out 5G Network in Nigeria

Also in August, MTN launched the 5G network in Lagos, becoming the first telecoms company to do so in Nigeria. It disclosed that it would roll out the network in six other cities (Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri). The technology comes with the promise of faster download speeds and lower latency and could be a pillar upon which other innovations—such as IoT and smart cities –will be built in the coming years.
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FG Upgraded NIPOST to Drive Financial Inclusion

The Federal Government improved NIPOST’s agency banking capabilities this year, by introducing an electronic debit card, digital agency banking platform, and courier service vehicles for the organization. The debit card allows users to carry out financial transactions, including cash withdrawals, transfers, and online and offline bill payments. According to the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, these enhancements to NIPOST’s functions will drive financial inclusion in underserved communities.

Electronic Transactions Reached an All-Time High

As more Nigerians embrace electronic payments, the value of transactions carried out via e-channels has continued to rise. The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) disclosed that electronic transactions carried out in November 2022 on the NIBSS Instant Payment Platform (NIP) were worth ₦38.9 trillion—the highest for any month on record. It was also an increase of 50% on the ₦25.9 trillion recorded in November 2021.

The Finance Act 2021 Came into Effect

The Finance Act 2021, which President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law on December 31, 2021, came into effect. It contained a number of key policy changes, such as an increase in education tax payable by companies; a science and engineering levy payable by banks, ICT and telecommunications companies; a ₦10 per litre charge on non-alcoholic carbonated and sweetened beverages; and the collection of Nigerian Police Trust Fund Levy by the FIRS.

The Nigeria Startup Bill Was Signed into Law

The Nigeria Startup Bill was signed into law in October. Key provisions of the act include tax breaks for new startups, tax incentives for foreign players in the startup ecosystem, and defined requirements for the registration and licensing of startups. The law comes after a period of sustained uncertainty spurred by poor relations between startups and regulators. Analysts hope that the Startup Act will close the engagement gap between both parties.

Nigerian Startups Raised Over $1 Billion

Startups in Nigeria have continued to attract investors who seek a share of the revenues generated by fast-growing tech-driven segments. According to the newsletter Africa: The Big Deal’, Nigerian startups raised about $1.2 billion between January 1 and December 1, 2022. The biggest funding rounds were secured by Flutterwave, Interswitch, Moove, TeamApt, and Vendease, among others.

The CBN Redesigned the Naira

The CBN announced in October that it had redesigned the ₦200, ₦500, and ₦1,000 notes. It said that the new notes would begin circulating in December and that users would have to replace old notes before January 31, 2023. The apex bank gave a number of reasons for the move, including discouraging the hoarding of naira notes, tackling kidnappers who request physical cash as ransom, eliminating counterfeit notes from circulation, and improving the CBN’s ability to track the flow of cash across the economy.
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NNPC Became a Private Company

Formerly a government-owned corporation, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) became a private-sector organization in July 2022. This was the terminus of a process that commenced with the Petroleum Industry Bill getting passed into law in August 2021. According to Mele Kyari, CEO of NNPC Limited, this move could make the company the largest and potentially the most profitable commercial entity in Africa.

Oil Drilling Began in North Eastern Nigeria

Following the discovery of a billion barrels of oil in North Eastern Nigeria, the NNPC officially began drilling in the region in November. According to the Federal Government, the area in which oil was found (on the boundary between Bauchi and Gombe states) also holds 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas. It says that it has attracted investment worth $3 billion to the project.

Final Words

The year 2022 has seen change and constancy, fortunes made and value lost. The coming year will very likely serve up events and trends that are just as variegated, but they will each be unique, and worthy of our coverage. We will be here to report them as they unfold. Featured Image Source: Hub City Times
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This article was first published on 6th January 2023


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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