Experts advise leveraging tech, industrialization for accelerated productivity

Business experts have advised the need for businesses to increase the adoption of technology and digitalization while the country eyes industrialization using potential-filled sectors to achieve accelerated productivity.

This was discussed at the Nigerian British chamber of commerce (NBCC)’s maiden trade conference and exhibition, themed ‘fast-tracking productivity leveraging technology’ held at Eko hotel and suites, Lagos.

The experts unanimously agreed that technology and digitalization is now a means to achieving productivity, sustainability, growth, and development as economies and businesses make a rebound post-pandemic.

Ed Ubong, managing director, Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG), said over the years the use of technology has increased but following the outbreak of the pandemic, it has become increasingly necessary and plays an essential role in achieving productivity across board.

He added that in the last three decades the world has witnessed the emergence of global economic giants in Asia driven mostly, by industrialization which is proof that it is fundamental for sustainable and inclusive growth and can only happen when there is vibrant manufacturing, energy, and IT sector.

“There is no doubt that industrialization and technology are key to economic growth and development in Nigeria, across the world, experience shows that only a few countries have been able to grow their economies without deliberate, focused and considerable investment in the “tech” industry,” he said.

Lamin Manjang CEO, Standard Chartered Nigeria said the use of technology affects businesses significantly especially in terms of payments and transactions, noting that it also offers unlimited opportunities for market reach while reducing cost.

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Manjang who was represented by James Shorungbe, head of digital banking, SCB highlighted the experience of Standard Chartered bank after it launched its digital banking system in December 2019 and recorded a total retail account base growth by 200 percent in two years while revenue from the retail business increased by 300 percent.

“The opportunities available in adopting digital banking include increased market reach leveraging virtual presence, increased productivity and efficiency, cost reduction, greater cross-sell opportunities, richer and more precise data on clients, among many other things,” he said.

He said when businesses are able to boost productivity and efficiency leveraging technology are more productive, it rubs off on the economy in terms of growth and development.

Olukayode Pitan, CEO, Bank of Industry (BOI) said that Nigeria, like many countries around the world, has not been immune to the economic headwinds presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, hence it is essential that all (non-oil) sectors particularly manufacturing are utilized to boost productivity, create employment opportunities, and enable the country to be more self-sufficient and less import-dependent.

“The Manufacturing sector is the gateway to industrialization through substantial forward and backward linkages with other sectors, providing a wealth of opportunities for suppliers, distributors, retailers,” Pitan represented by Simon Aranonu, executive director of large enterprises at BOI said.

Bisi Adeyemi, President, NBCC, said in line with the new normal, the use of technology in driving productivity has become imperative and is reflective of the current realities driven by the covid-19 pandemic.

In addition, she said businesses need to promote brand divisibility, foster new partnerships and develop foreign market opportunities.