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 bedevilling the growth of businesses in the country.
Held at the LCCI office at Commerce House, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event was themed, “Promoting Trade and Industry in Nigeria: Government Initiatives and Opportunities for Business Growth” and it featured a panel session titled “Powering Nigerian Businesses for Growth”, comprising several top functionaries across the Nigerian economy.
Doris Uzoka-Anite, minister of industry, trade, and investment, who was represented by Lucia Shittu, managing director, Tafawa Balewa Square Managing Board, 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. 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 Revitalisation, among other initiatives, include: upskilling, global-focused certification and licensing of artisans – 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.”
On the other hand, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the MD/CEO, of Fidelity Bank Plc, who was represented by Osita Ede, the Divisional Head, Product Development, Fidelity Bank Plc and Chairman, Financial Services Group of the LCCI, 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, Michael Olawale-Cole, President of LCCI, 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.