Worried by the disruption on the global business community by the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, has called on women to leverage on several opportunities inherent in export to grow their businesses.
Speaking during the virtual conference held recently by the association, Chinwe Ezenwa, a former managing director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said women need to explore automation and also restructure their businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ezenwa, who encouraged women to source for new markets by embracing the export drive of the Federal Government, pointed out the need for women to fight their competitors with innovation and better products and services.
Citing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as a viable tool to utilise in exporting to the United States of America (USA), she noted that the platform has existed for more than a decade yet many businesses are unaware of the opportunity.
“If you’re going to be successful in the post Covid-19 era, you must be innovative, reimage your businesses and reappraise yourself. Be responsible, train yourself and your members of staff to be conversant with global time zones and essential issues for global businesses,” she advised.
Dabney Shall-Holma, chairperson, Sealink Implementation Committee said there is need for Nigeria to balance its trade via export.
According to her, there are numerous opportunities for export of cashew nuts, ginger, and sesame seeds, among others.
She pointed out that products should be harnessed with added value that would enhance the quality of items while providing the much needed employment opportunities in the country.
Shall-Holma however said that unless the nation attains better transport connectivity, it would be impossible to attain cheaper freight to make Nigerian products competitive in the global market.
Jean-Chiazor Anishere, co-chairperson, Nigeria Admiralty Law and Procedure Reform Committee, said the pandemic has reinforced the need for digital technology at the ports, adding that women should leverage on innovation to network with their customers and clients.
Stating that the pandemic has also increased the demand for items like hand sanitizers, face masks, hand wash, she advised WISTA members to explore opportunities in soap making, production of sanitizers and the textile industry for products to meet the new demands as well as export.
She however commended the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for taking the initiative to address policy issues for seafarers’ certification and remuneration.