…As 2023 PH International Trade Fair targets SME drive, partnerships
It is now clear that the Rivers State is to work closely with the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in accomplishing its drive to build a database of small and micro, medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Already, the scheme for the database harvesting around the 23 local council areas of the state has been flagged off at the large auditorium of the PHCCIMA in the presence of two permanent secretaries so far heading their ministries (Agriculture and Commerce).
The PHCCIMA President, Mike Elechi, a monarch and Knight, also used the event to unveil the 2023 Port Harcourt International Trade Fair.
The President said the Database is now to be carried out at PHCCIMA so that businesses can come forward and register. He said the same exercise was to start at all the local councils through various strategies and wings, all aimed at capturing the accurate number of people involved in MSMEs.
He appealed to the people to embrace the scheme because it is a big economic policy implementation by the new administration in the state.
He hinted that the database would enable the new administration to plan for the MSMEs and create funding support pillars for them.
On the Port Harcourt International Trade Fair, the President said the focus would be SMEs and international partnerships. He showed how boosting the MSMEs would turn around the economy of Rivers State.
He also said the PHCCIMA was making aggressive inroads into diplomatic circles to create partnerships that would promote businesses in the state especially the MSMEs that were being captured.
It was at the monthly members’ forum where the President addressed members and other stakeholders and gave account of stewardship for the current month.
He said: “The monthly members’ forum helps to look at the past and prepare for the future. It helps for cross-fertilisation of ideas. The September forum is dedicated to looking at export financing and how members can explore export business, with NEXIM Bank as finance partner.
“We will also use the forum to unveil the SME and MSME database scheme in partnership with the Rivers State government. The other is the unveiling of the 2023 Port Harcourt International Trade Fair from December 6 to 20 at Isaac Boro Park, which is being handled by a consultant, t-MATH Limited.
The South-South Regional head office of the Nigerian Export Promotions Council (NEPC) was fully represented at the PHCCIMA forum to press for more participation in export business. Most City Chamber members in Nigeria seem to focus on import rather than export.
The Regional Coordinator, Ganiyu Ahmid Gbolagade, in his goodwill message, urged the people of the south-south to work harder on the products each state submitted long ago on the One-State-One-Product (OSOP) scheme.
He urged the city chambers in the region to explore all the support facilities so far made available to promote non-oil export in the region.
The NEXIM (Nigerian Export-Import Bank) South-South Regional Manager, Soni A. Oseghale, delivered the key presentation which focused on funding export and the role of NEXIM.
He said foreign exchange scarcity is hitting Nigeria hard but there is nothing the country can do except to boost export trade. “You cannot print dollar in Nigeria. You must earn it. You export to earn dollar or any foreign currency. If inflation rate is too high, and growth rate is low, many more people will go into poverty. Non-oil export is the way to go because relying on oil export is dangerous.
“All regions have products to export, and NEXIM is here to boost export financing. Our major focus is to de-risk sectors that are not attractive to business people. Exporters cannot afford commercial loan interest rates because cost of production is already very high. If they add about 30 per cent interest on capital, their products will not sell abroad.”