By Rukayat Moisemhe
Lagos, March 22, 2022 The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) and top bank chief executives have charged businesses to leverage technology to improve productivity and positively impact the nation’s economy.
They spoke at the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) maiden conference and exhibition with the theme: “Fast Tracking Productivity- Leveraging Technology” on Tuesday in Lagos.
Mrs Bisi Adeyemi, President, NBCC, stressed the imperative of technology in driving productivity, especially in view of the current realities propelled by COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that the conference, which would be biannual, afforded businesses the opportunity to showcase their brands and foster new partnerships.
“These businesses would also develop foreign market opportunities, which aligns with our cardinal objectives,” she said.
Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer, First Bank Group, said that technology had entered an era of digitalisation.
Adeduntan, represented by Mr Ini Ebong, Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking, First Bank, said new technologies were powering and providing attractive basis for business growth, innovation and differentiation.
He noted that increasingly, both large and small businesses were leveraging modern technology to become agile and grow more efficiently.
The CEO said that technology was powering business development in various ways, leading to enhanced business growth and profitability.
Adeduntan projected that the rise of frontier technologies promised to further impact and transform the dynamics of business.
“Organisations are leveraging technology to future proof their business through investments in talents, embracing e-commerce option and using analytics to draw insights.
“Businesses that will remain sustainable must have digital and online presence by creating e-commerce stores which may complement brick-and-mortar points of sale.
“Businesses will also need to leverage digital ecosystem partnerships to remain competitive,” he said.
Mr Lamin Manjang, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, said that the opportunities that had come with the adoption of digitalisation in the financial sector were enormous.
Manjang was represented by Head, Digital Banking and Financial Inclusion, Mr Adeyinka Shorungbe.
He said that following the adoption of digitalisation, total retail account base grew by 200 per cent in two years and its revenue base for retail business increased by 300 per cent.
“Technology now allows us to acquire customers in all states, with an average of 9,000 new accounts opened monthly.
“Also, the bank’s digital penetration is at 87 per cent, with increased efficiency, speed and quality, yet reduced cost,” he said.
Mr Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI) said that the bank would continue to play its role in fast tracking productivity through its various funding and advisory facilities.
Pitan, represented by Mr Simon Aranonu, Executive Director, Large Enterprises, Bank of Industry, said that Nigeria, like many countries around the world, was not immune to the economic headwinds presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, he said, made it essential for all non-oil sectors, particularly manufacturing, to boost productivity, create employment opportunities, and enable Nigeria to be more self sufficient (less import dependent).
He described the manufacturing sector as the gateway to industrialisation through substantial forward and backward linkages with other sectors, providing a wealth of opportunities for suppliers, distributors and retailers.
He stressed that with the introduction of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Nigeria must build its manufacturing sector towards it becoming the manufacturing hub for West Africa and the rest of Africa.
Pitan revealed that the BoI had successfully raised about $3.8bn from the international market in the last four years with some of the meetings and roadshows held virtually, leveraging technology.
“BOI supports projects with potential developmental impact and the capability to generate considerable multiplier effects such as job creation, import substitution and poverty alleviation.
“All of which would have significant positive effects on the socio-economic condition of Nigerians, particularly in light of recent challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“BoI also sponsors Corporate Social Responsibility activities that provide technology solutions to businesses such as innovation hub across all states in Nigeria,” he said.