Examining Fidelity Bank’s Non-oil Export Businesses’ Support
Posted: 21/Jul/2021

With Nigeria battling the twin challenges of over-dependence on crude oil earnings and dwindling revenues, several organisations are now exploring opportunities in the non-oil export sector of the economy.

Fidelity Bank Plc is however taking the pole position in supporting these entrepreneurs through its agribusiness and non-oil export banking franchise.

According to data from The Policy Development Facility (PDF) Bridge Programme, Nigeria’s dependency on oil exports for government revenue (80%) and foreign exchange earnings (87%) has long been at odds with the sector’s contribution of just 8.33 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

No thanks to the global oil shock triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s economic vulnerability is glaring as GDP growth declined by 6.1 per cent and 3.6 per cent in the second and third quarters of 2020.

It is therefore no longer a policy choice but a germane initiative for Nigeria to explore other avenues to make the economy viable rather than depending solely on crude oil for foreign earnings.

As a foresighted institution driven by excellence and sustainability, Fidelity Bank has since made giant strides in this regard by giving optimal attention to non-oil sectors such as agriculture and the SME sectors – with the end results of driving job creation, improving industrialisation, increasing GDP performance, and playing a crucial role in the process of economic growth.

Fidelity Bank has, over the years, built strong partnerships across the broad spectrum of economic actors in the agribusiness space to drive their agribusiness financing interventions to micro and last-mile levels.

They successfully leveraged strategic partnerships with the CBN and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) under various industry targeted intervention funding programmes to enhance access to credit for seven eligible players in the agribusiness and non-oil exports space.

Some of these key interventions by the bank include expansion of capacities in strategic value-chain segments (rice, dairy, poultry, oil palm, cocoa, etc.) that are key to narrowing food security gaps and enhancing foreign exchange earnings.

In 2019 alone, the bank made available over N32.7 billion in credits to businesses operating in strategic sectors, including rice, dairy, poultry, oil palm, cocoa, etc.

These financing solutions helped facilitate the movement of these businesses up the production value-chain through the financing of forward integrated components to facilitate transition from primary production to value-added products, hence adding significant value to the GDP while providing employment opportunities. Some of these financing solution offerings include: the agric project finance, input finance for primary production, produce aggregation finance, equipment finance, distributor finance and flexible collateral arrangements (up to 75% credit risk guarantee).

These activities have been recognised and applauded by operators, funding partners and all other actors in the agribusiness space.

At the Bankers’ Committee meeting of December 2019, the bank was awarded second position in Sustainable Agriculture Transactions of the year.

Taking their resolve to build sustainable export capabilities for Nigerian businesses even further, Fidelity Bank Plc, in partnership with the Lagos Business School (LBS) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), initiated the Export Management Programme EMP.

An intense and hands-on export management programme, designed to equip Nigerian exporters, regulators, financiers and policymakers with the practical knowledge and business management skills required to compete effectively in the global export market.

The EMP is open to both aspiring and experienced exporters exploring different courses such as Overview of Nigeria’s Export Performance, Export Readiness Imperative & Assessment, Select Export Business Case Studies, Nigerian Exportable Items & Locations, Incentives for Export, Domestic Policies and Export Institutions, Export Market Accessibility – Opportunities, Entry Aspects and Guidelines for Exporting to Different Markets and so much more.

Beyond financing, the bank has leveraged its thought leadership position and strong advisory capacity in the agribusiness and non-oil exports space to help businesses bridge capacity gaps and enhance the value of their business propositions.

Fidelity Bank continues to lead the industry in this regard by making significant contributions, all geared towards the diversification of the Nigerian economy. This is in tune with their avowed desire to be number one in every market they serve and to make financial services easy and accessible to Nigerians.

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