Holistic solution necessary to drive trade-Keystone CEO
www.vanguardngr.com - NOVEMBER 21, 2011
By Babajide Komolafe
There is need for holistic and collaborative solution to drive trade in Nigeria, says Oti Ikomi, Keystone Bank Chief Executive Officer.
He spoke at the maiden edition of Trade Business Forum on International Trade organized by Keystone Bank in Lagos on Tuesday,
In a presentation titled, ‘Advancing Trade Barriers – New Horizons,’ he pointed out that developments in the banking sector and the lingering financial crisis underscored the motive behind the forum, stressing that though there had been several efforts by governments and world bodies at developing trade, not much have been achieved in that direction.
He added that the motive behind inviting all stakeholders such as the Central Bank Nigeria, the Nigerian Custom Service and Cotecna Destination Inspection to be part of the forum to discuss on the way forward was to ensure that the disjointed and inefficient landscape are addressed in a holistic manner for the benefit of the bank’s customers.
“If banks do not drive the modernization of trade, who will? New trade patterns will lead to new financial instruments and new ways of adding value to customers. We need to find a way to bring these advantages to more of our middle market clients. We believe that greater collaboration among all the elements in the supply chain, banks, financiers, regulators, CBN and others will enhance trade modernization and facilitation,” he stated.
He stated that the bank has put several measures in place to enhance the efficiency of its customers that are involved in trade business, adding that the bank is prepared to assist the customers with the needed funds to facilitate their business.
Part of the measures, he said include launching of an integrated trade portal solution (KEYSTONE TRADE) where importers of goods could leverage on the bank’s platform to initiate their trade transactions such as Form ‘M’, foreign exchange purchase and shipping documents processing, among others, adding that the bank is also currently running a comprehensive trade sales training programme for its sales team, operations, support and risk managers bank-wide.
“For us, banking is about adding value to our customers. We are continually challenging capacity to increase customers’ financial options in a bid to create better solutions for everyone and this would continue until Keystone Bank becomes a reference point for Trade Finance,” he said.
The forum provided opportunities for key stakeholders like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs Service and Cotecna Destination Inspection to deliver presentations on various issues. The Director Trade and Exchange CBN who was represented by Mrs. Onyinye Ahuchogu, Deputy Director Trade and Exchange CBN discussed “The Foreign Exchange Market – Recent Developments and Outlook, where she emphasised that the recent policies of the Central Bank are guided by the imperative of stabilising the economy.
In his presentation, the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service who was represented by Mr. Ambrose Ukwuegu, Deputy Comptroller ASYCUDA, gave a guide on “Achieving Seamless Clearance of Goods – Prospect and Challenges” and stated that one of the major goals of Customs is to achieve the 48-hour clearance of goods objective and every stakeholder has a role to play in that regard. Mr. Aminu Mohammed, the Corporate Relations Manager of Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited spoke on “The Destination Inspection Scheme – the Journey So Far”.
The Forum also created room for interactions between the participants and key stakeholders in the industry where pertinent and nagging issues were addressed.