The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, said his bank has the capacity to support exporters of locally manufactured goods and ease their problems of access to finance.
At a joint programme with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) recently, Okonkwo said the bank has committed about N30 billion of its loan portfolio towards export, adding that this would make much impact on the SMEs in that sector.
He said: “When you ask how much are we bringing? Honestly, we haven’t place end limit. But what we have done, how we approach programme like this is to create a product programme. And we are saying to ourselves that if we give about N30 billion of our loan portfolio towards export, then it would be something that would be quite impactful.
“But then, the details of how to access this would be driven by a product paper that pre-qualify people to meet certain conditions. And this capacity building program me would be one of those, because I answer the question this morning in radio when people malign banks. I ask a question, how can I not want to do what I am set up to do as a company?
“ We are set up to take deposits and lend money. But in doing so, we do so safely. So we don’t want to jump into financing export without creating capacity for the would-be borrowers. So the emphasis for us is to develop those exporters.
“And then definitely, we would support them, working in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). And that is where CBN has a program me on export finance. And CBN is not a retail bank. So they can’t sit in their offices and lend to these exporters.
“So they need banks like us to do that. You know that most developmental finance programmes of the CBN and BoI are usually single digit. So this one would also fall into that kind of category.
We still need to do a lot about institutional framework for solid mineral sector because for products or projects that are bankable, there must be some level of preparations that are adequately helping to mitigate the associated risks. If I don’t even know what the policy framework is, but the industry is not structured or develop enough to attract finance. Finance is not going to go there because there are other financing opportunities.
Mr. Segun Awolowo, has given us enough information about what government is doing to make that sector bankable.
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