First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited has assured of its continued support, through funding and other initiatives, towards the growth of export trade business and the ongoing efforts of the government to diversify the Nigerian economy with focus on non-oil products. This, it stated, is in recognition of the huge resources available in the non-oil sector and its capacity to accelerate national development.
The assurance was given by the Bank’s Executive Director, Business Development, Mr. Adam Nuru, at the Customer Forum on Export Trade with the theme, “Enhancing Capacity for Export Growth”, held in Lagos on Thursday.
The interactive and capacity building forum was organised by FCMB in partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Bank of Industry (BoI), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), Federal Inspection Agency for Solid Minerals (FIASM).
Speaking at the forum, Mr. Nuru said that the Bank has created various windows of opportunity to assist Nigerian exporters benefit optimally from the exportation of products. He listed some of the offerings of the Bank in this regard to include pre and post-shipment financing/refinancing and discounting, provision of market information as well as advisory services.
The Executive Director explained that, ‘’the customer forum is another way we demonstrate just how much we value our customers. It is also an opportunity to inform the Market that we are truly on ground to support government and stakeholders in their efforts towards driving and growing export trade to boost non-oil revenue in the economy. Our alignment with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and other sister agencies is a proof of the commitment to go the extra mile to contribute significantly towards the realisation of the business aspirations of our customers and that of the country’’.
Nuru urged exporters to ensure that products they export meet set the standards so as to compete favourably in the international market as it would in turn, increase their income and have multiplier effect on the country. According to him, ‘’as a bank that is committed to exceptional service delivery, we will continue to engage our customers and other stakeholders in various sectors of business in an impactful way’’.
In his paper titled, ‘’Maximizing Export Opportunities in Nigeria’’, the Executive Director/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said there are several factors that work in favour of Nigerian exporters and should be explored to maximize their export potentials.
Awolowo, was represented by a Deputy Director of the Council, Mrs. Evelyn Obidike, pointed out that Nigeria’s abundant natural resources and large population remains a veritable tool that should be leveraged by exporters to enhance their competitiveness in the international market. He urged exporters, ‘’to give the best to the packaging of their products to attract both local and international consumers’’, adding that, ‘’apart from the quality of products, packaging is a silent selling strategy explored by wise exporters to achieve mileage in their business’’.
Awolowo explained that, “the partnership with FCMB in organising this forum is quite significant, because it affords us a veritable platform to bring together exporters and financial institutions and present to them the various opportunities inherent in the Nigerian export sector, especially non-oil products. It is gratifying to note that this platform has achieved that objective and we commend FCMB for this initiative and the various support it provides to exporters and other business entities’’.
Also speaking at the forum, Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at the Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said the lender is places importance to export trade and how SMEs can be effectively empowered to play active roles in the business. He added the bank lends long term funds to exporters and SMEs at single digit interest rate as part of its strategies to support them.
The FCMB customer forum on export trade is a continuation of the one organised by the Bank last year on international trade business, which focused on the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) scheme introduced by the Nigerian Customs Service to fast-track the clearance of cargo and reduce costs of business at the nation’s ports.