Fidelity Bank Plc, has restated its determination to help businesses run profitably as it recently partnered with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to host a conference to discuss solutions to challenges bedeviling the growth of businesses in the country.
Held at the LCCI office in Lagos recently, the event featured a panel session comprising several top functionaries across the Nigerian economy.
Giving her keynote address at the event titled, “Promoting Trade and Industry in Nigeria: Government Initiatives and Opportunities for Business Growth”, the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, who was represented by the Managing Director, Tafawa Balewa Square Managing Board, Mrs. Lucia Shittu, said:
“As a government, our responsibility is to provide the environment for ease of doing business that allows corporations to thrive similarly in other countries where they have representation. The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) was specifically constituted to achieve this with the primary objective of removing critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria. As part of the ministry’s commitment to achieving this, our vision board is “Reposition Nigeria for business and investment, to attract FDIs by improving the ease of doing business” and I’m proud to announce that as of the last Ease of Doing Business report, one of the agencies supervised by my ministry – the Standards Organisation of Nigeria – is ranked as the most performant with a score of 98.09%. However, we still have a long way to go in strengthening weaker government institutions.
“Some of the upcoming initiatives from the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization, among other initiatives, include: upskilling, global-focused certification and licensing of artisans – with a view to export readiness and pipelining for both local businesses and cross-national corporations; creating a robust Agri-market system – one that ensures farmers get the most value for their hard work, provides farmers with more reliable access to credit through instruments like warehouse receipts, reduces the current multi-layered arbitrage system in the markets, introduces standards for warehousing, value addition and exports; standardising and promoting deeper technology and knowledge transfer across all our programmes including the free trade zones.”
Welcoming guests to the event, the MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, who was represented by the Divisional Head, Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc and Chairman, Financial Services Group of the LCCI, Mr. Osita Ede, made a case for effective partnerships between the public and private sectors to drive economic growth.
In her words, “In the face of economic uncertainties, it is crucial that we embrace a mindset of resilience, adaptability, and collaboration. Together, we can identify opportunities that will not only sustain our businesses but also drive collective prosperity.
“Fidelity Bank is committed to being a catalyst for positive change, empowering businesses, and driving economic growth. We believe that by working together, in the face of the current economic realities, we can unlock the full potential of our nation’s businesses and create a future that is both sustainable and prosperous”.
Similarly, the President of the LCCI, Asiwaju (Dr) Michael Olawale-Cole championed the cause of business owners at the event, explaining that, “As business owners, we are faced with high operating costs and weak consumer demand due to high inflation and declining purchasing power. To explore growth opportunities, businesses must realise they have foreign exchange exposures and adopt hedging strategies to mitigate the impact of high inflation as well as leverage digital technologies to streamline operations, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and reach new customers.”
Advising the government, Olawale-Cole noted that with a huge debt profile, the government must seek alternative funding sources to improve the country’s infrastructure.
Panelists at the session, which was themed “Powering Nigerian Businesses for Growth”, include: MD/CEO, KSBC Knowledge Resources Ltd, Mr. Chika Mbonu; CEO, Helf Africa, Mr. Yemi Osinubi, CFA; Principal, Sahel Capital, Ms. Tosin Ojo, CFA; Deputy National President of the Nigeria Cargo Airport Chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Segun Musa; MD/CEO Zevis Pharmaceutical Ltd, Sir Elvis Emecheta; and MD, Super Audio Ind. Nigeria Limited, Mr. Keshab Vaswani.