Experts Brainstorm at Stanbic IBTC Business Forum
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Amid Nigeria’s current economic headwinds, a message of relief is coming from Stanbic IBTC Bank and experts on how individuals and businesses can weather the storm and remain on the path of profitability and growth.
This glimpse came at a knowledge sharing economic update session organized by Stanbic IBTC Bank with the theme “committed to solutions that drive your progress” to review the latest trends in the economy and to assist individuals and organizations attain their business objectives. Over 70 participants attended the event, which took place in Lagos on Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
In his welcome address, Executive Director, Personal and Business Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Babatunde Macaulay said apart from providing clients the opportunity to learn new things, the forum was also meant to help them develop appropriate resilience to the economic situation in order to guard against vulnerabilities.
By providing such a platform to glean important information and backing it up with financial solutions, the bank hopes to create long-term win-win relationships with individuals and businesses and the economy at large.
“We are always seeking to understand the needs of the entire spectrum of our clientele and by so doing, strive to connect with every market segment so that we can provide the much needed solutions to their financial needs,” he stated.
Macaulay reiterated that as an African institution, the Standard Bank Group, to which Stanbic IBTC belongs, will continue to demonstrate commitment to the development of Nigeria by supporting critical sectors of the economy and helping to highlight investment opportunities in the country.
Among issues dissected at the forum, headlined by Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Bismarck Rewane and Co-Founder and Director of Programmes, Co-Creation Hub Nigeria, Femi Longe, were the economic outlook, indicators and forecasts, trends and opportunities around innovation and digital technology for Nigerian businesses.
Diagnosing the current economic trends, Bismarck Rewane noted that the drop in Nigeria’s inflation rate to 17.78 percent in February, the lowest level in 15 months, is uplifting.
However, what should be celebrated is the direction of the inflation, not necessarily the figure, which is still double digit.
The easing of pressures on the local currency, he stated, suggests that the Central Bank of Nigeria is beginning to do the right things, which should be sustained.
Pulling the country out of recession, he emphasized, requires significant spending on capital projects which will trigger a multiplier effect leading to a gradual lessening of recession from the second quarter of 2017.
However, some risks to be considered in the economic dynamic include a stumbling of the oil price rebound, further escalation of militancy in the Niger Delta and proper management of the borrowing programme. He said the meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) slated for Lagos on 20th – 21st March will provide further insight on the economic direction.
Femi Longe, who spoke on ‘Technology and the Nigerian Economy,’ said the benefits of technology and innovations are innumerable for the individual, business and economy. The ability to identify new opportunities and develop appropriate business strategies based on the ingenious application of cutting edge technology will make a huge difference, he said. Rather than wait for foreign investment to drive Nigeria’s development, he said the country should explore home-grown solutions to its economic needs. In pursuing this objective, Longe said partnerships between start-ups and businesses are imperative. The expansion of social and economic enablers such as power, roads, communication, ICT, transport, education and health will trigger exponential economic growth and aid the ease of doing business in the country, he added.
Stanbic IBTC Bank is a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of Standard Bank Group, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets and earnings. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent. Standard Bank has been in operation for over 153 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services organisations in chosen countries in Africa and connecting other selected emerging markets to Africa and to each other, applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, globally.