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Fidelity Bank pushes for non-oil export

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BY EMEKA EJERE

Fidelity Bank Plc is stepping up efforts at its prominent role in increasing Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings by boosting the nation’s non-oil export.

The lender recently hosted the second edition of its non-oil exports expo tagged the Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect (FITCC) in Houston, Texas, United States of America.

The two-day event saw the signing of a cocoa pre-export deal with AFREXIM Bank and JohnVents Industries worth $40million, adjudged a landmark development by analysts in the exports space.

FITCC Houston also featured exhibitions by more than 160 Nigeria and U.S-based businesses, as well as panel sessions, as stakeholders engaged on strategies to increase the pipeline of Nigerian businesses that export into the American market.

In recognition of the bank’s commitment to fostering bilateral trade and economic development between Nigeria and the USA through its FITCC initiative, the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, proclaimed October 25, 2023 as FITCC Day in the City.

According to a statement by the bank, the proclamation reads in part, “Whereas, The Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect summit committed to fostering bilateral trade and economic development between the city of Houston and Nigeria. The city of Houston commends Fidelity Bank Nigeria for its commitment to enhance international trade.

“Therefore, I, Sylvester Turner, Mayor of the City of Houston, hereby proclaim October 25, as Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect Day.”

On her part, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Fidelity Bank’s MD/CEO, in her welcome address at the event, said: “We are grateful for the warm welcome from the Houston community and residents of Nigerian descent.

“Quite often, we are asked why we chose to host this year’s FITCC in the city of Houston and our response has revolved around the economic opportunities provided by its demographic profile and ethnic diversity, as well as its strategic location, which makes the City the ideal destination for international trade and a transit point to other regional markets in the South of the United States of America”.

The first edition of FITCC had held last year in London, United Kingdom, featuring a host of activities designed to position Nigerian businesses for increased partnership, financing, product-offtake and investment opportunities in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Onyeali-Ikpe had noted, “In collaboration with our strategic partners, we have created this platform to connect Nigerian exporters with UK buyers. This inaugural edition of the FITCC hosts more than 100 exhibitors from Nigeria with product offerings ranging from processed food to fashion, fintech and the arts.

“Fidelity Bank is a leading financial institution in Nigeria and a market leader in supporting small and medium scale enterprises and export-oriented businesses.

“This event is, therefore, an extension of the support that we provide to the business ecosystem in Nigeria as work to help them compete favourably on the global stage.”

Unwavering commitment

Two years ago, the bank reaffirmed its commitment to actively support the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) efforts to achieve its then goal of $200 billion in foreign exchange repatriation from non-oil exports within five years.

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Speaking at a workshop for exporters and investors on the implementation and opportunities in the CBN RT200 FX Policy, held in Kano, the Executive Director, Northern Businesses, Fidelity Bank Plc, Hassan Imam, stated that the bank would not relent in its efforts to bridge the knowledge gap in the non-oil sector space by facilitating the necessary processes and documentation for the policy, with the goal of increasing FX repatriation through exportation.

The Regional Bank Head, North West 1, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mannir Ringim, re-emphasised the bank’s readiness to support government’s economic imperatives to boost revenue in non-oil sector of the economy.

“As you know, Nigeria is currently an import-dependent economy with so much pressure on our currency and the source of revenue as a nation is petrol dollar. So, the initiative of the CBN is to leverage on our non-oil products especially in agriculture like hibiscus flower, cashew nut sesame and many other products for exports.

“Now, Fidelity Bank wants to remain the exporters’ bank of choice not only by providing finance but by helping exporters in bridging the knowledge gap in exporting their commodities. We are committed to this initiative to improve our economy, reduce pressure on local currency and provide an enabling environment to grow the non-oil sector to also create massive job opportunities”, Ringim explained.

In 2019, Fidelity Bank trained over 100 SMEs at the eighth edition of its Export Management Programme (EMP) with the aim of providing impactful, world-class support to Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Kano State.

Organised by the bank in partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Lagos Business School (LBS), the programme was designed specifically to enhance the competitiveness of export-oriented businesses.

The EMP, which was launched in 2016, covers topics like export documentation, selection and implementation of supply chain management for exports and application of export development business processes among others.

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