Ease Of Doing Businesses, Collaboration, FX Dominate Discussion As ACAMB Holds Maiden Conference

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Nigerian banks and the organised private sector (OPS) on Wednesday met to address critical areas of concern and strategies to create sustainable synergy between the financial services sector and other businesses.

The conference with the theme, “Promoting synergy between the banking industry and the organized private sector,” was organised by the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks, ACAMB. It was held at the Chartered Institute of Bankers House, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speaking at the event, the President of the association, Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa said the conference was borne out of improving the country’s economy by bringing together the OPS and the banking sector to churn out strategies and key into the untapped economic benefits in the country.

In his welcome address, Mr. Bolarinwa said, “To the extent that financial intermediaries are crucial to economic growth, there is bound to be a meeting point between OPS and the banking sector.

“From available communication research efforts, there seems to be a mutual misunderstanding between the two sectors, and all efforts to streamline this perceived gap have not been totally successful.

“The banking sector and the OPS are meant to be the main drivers of the Nation’s economy. One galvanises the credit from the surplus side and redistributes to the deficit size. The other operates principally from the productive side, creating wealth and values. Thus, the two sectors are like two sides of a coin. They are co-joined, and must function together in an economic sense. So, there is nexus; a link between the two at all time if any economy is to develop and grow.”

President of ACAMB, Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa

Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Director, Banking Services, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Egboagwu Ezulu, advised members of the organised private sector (OPS) to always ensure that they repatriate foreign exchange (FX) proceeds back to the apex bank in order to ease FX pressure in the country.

He further advised OPS to take advantage of the various intervention schemes of the CBN through the Bank of Industry, the Development Bank of Nigeria, and commercial banks, to boost their output.

He said: “We are taking FX out of this country and dumping offshore; when we were told to bring them back. If Nigerians are bringing back FX, we would not be talking about challenges of FX. There is a challenge for individuals and businesses to do the right thing.

“That is why the CBN introduced the RT200 to encourage you to bring back the dollar you are saying is scarce, but in the books of the banks we see billions of dollars that have been exported out of the country and the OPS are not bringing it back, so how do we finance FX demand?”

Elaborating on how OPS could get funding for output, Ezulu said, “When you talk about financing small businesses, the CBN has done a lot of funding to the sector alluding to trillions of naira and has established two entities for this purpose. Has the manufacturing sector approached the entities for the funds available rather than emphasising on the commercial banks?

“The manufacturing sector should put pressure on the Bank of Industry and Development Bank of Nigeria to source funds, and when we see a lot of pressure from those two entities, the CBN instead of going through commercial banks would push those funds to those two entities rather than going to the commercial banks who would give double-digit loans.

“I want to appeal that industrialists, as well as small businesses, should approach those two entities to get funding.”

On his part, the President of the Nigerian Chambers of Commerce, Ide Udeagbala said: “The organised private sector breeds a vibrant economy for sustained, inclusive economic growth and development. Therefore, there is need for the banking sector to further enhance investments by identifying and funding good business opportunities and facilitating the exchange of goods and services as a means of contributing to the growth of the private sector. For this role, you will find a worthy partner in the organized private sector.”

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