As part of efforts to promote activities in the non-oil sector and also empower exporters in the country, Fidelity Bank Plc has gone into a partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Lagos Business School (LBS) to establish the Export Leadership Institute.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, the Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the initiative would also help support the federal government’s drive towards diversifying the economy.
According to the Fidelity boss, the goal of the Export Management 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.
Okonkwo, pointed out that long before the global oil price debacle, Fidelity Bank had seen the need for the diversification of the economy and the opportunities it portend for micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) and to that end, had renewed its focus on that segment of the market.
“Nigeria’s economy is facing severe headwinds on account of the falling crude oil prices and the direct consequence of increasing value erosion of the naira. This is further heightened by the current international trade paradigm which is mostly import driven.
“Foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria are largely from oil exports which account for over 90 per cent of total export receipts. The current currency debacle hinges on supply side dynamics as we have lost over 70 per cent of our dollar revenues in the last 18 months due to the falling crude oil prices. Hence, it is quite obvious that the key to growing the value of the naira is the diversification of Nigeria’s dollar revenue base via non-oil exports.
As further proof of our strong commitment to the growth of the Nigerian economy, we are collaborating with the NEPC and LBS to establish the Export Leadership Institute, the platform under which the Export Management Programme, a flagship export capacity development programme, will run,” he added.
Beyond this, he said the bank would also support MSMEs that goes through the programme with appropriate financing solutions to enable them meet their export financing needs.
In addition, he said the bank will also assist exporters in the area of market access through expansive linkages and partnerships with various multilateral Institutions.
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, NEPZ, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, commended the bank for conceiving the idea.
According to him, there is need for import-substitution to guarantee sustainable growth in the country.
“It is really delightful that the country is talking about diversification. There is a saying that you never let a good crisis waste. We must use the opportunity of this crisis to diversify our economy. This is about building capacity, and that is what has been lacking. This partnership is really key for us, and I am really thrilled,” he added.
Also, the Dean of LBS, Dr. Enase Okonedo, who was represented by Dr. Frank Ojadi, expressed optimism that the partnership would help raise the volume of export in Nigeria.