Fidelity, NEPC, LBS partner on non-oil export financing

Fidelity-Bank-PlcFidelity Bank Plc said it has earmarked about N30 billion as financing support for exporters of the nation’s numerous agriculture products, especially those with value addition.

The bank, though admitted that there is no limit to its export portfolio, added that its financing support is dependent on product development, noting that export business requires knowledge about the nitty-gritty involved.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, made the disclosure at the unveiling of the export management programme, an initiative of the bank, in collaboration with the Lagos Business School (LBS) and Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

He said the bank has been in the business of supporting small business, which has earned it several awards, as at date, it has disbursed N2 billion from the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund to 120 customers and over N60 billion to Small and Medium Enterprises.

He said the goal of the programme is to deliver impactful and world-class export management education to equip Nigerian MSMEs with the knowledge and business know-how required to compete effectively in international markets.

“There are lots of opportunities for us to diversify the economy. We have fertile land, so why would we import what we should export? In this partnership, LBS has enough research work and expertise. NEPC has the legal framework and government backing. The initiative will surely impact the national economy,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, Segun Awolowo, who underscored the importance of capacity building for exporters, said training once took the number of Australian exporters from 4,000 to 50,000.

Noting that there is so much money to be made from export in Nigeria, he said that a well-harnessed export business will bring down the yearly import bill estimated at about $50 billion.

“Nigerian export progress and potentials are phenomenal. We have so many products to offer. We need to scale up production and capacity. Over $300 million was generated from cashew exports in 2015 alone and the demand is still higher than we can produce,” he said.

The Dean of LBS. Dr. Enase Okonedo said oil is never a curse, but what has been done with its proceeds, is the cause of the troubles.

Okonedo, who was represented by Dr. Frank Ojadi, cited the United Arab Emirates as an example of a country that got its oil proceeds right and diversified its revenue base away from it, to the point that it is no longer dependent on it.



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