The planned 34th Kaduna International Trade Fair, holding from February 22 to March 3 received a major boost when management of Fidelity Bank agreed to partner the organisers, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) to ensure a successful outing.
In a courtesy visit to Fidelity Bank headquarters in Lagos by the President and executive members of KADCCIMA, the President, Bello Abdul Alimi, expressed appreciation to the management of the bank for their support and partnership in organising the fair with the theme 'Combating security challenges for Nigeria's economic transformation.'
"Fidelity Bank has been a major supporter of our chambers and we really appreciate them for that especially regarding our forth-coming international trade fair which we believe with their support will be better than that of last year," he said.
He said that the chamber was happy that the banking sector was gradually making progress by increasing the proportion of available funds to the agricultural sector, stressing that loans are supposed to be flexible, affordable and readily accessible.
He said that the chamber would also continue to enlighten its members with information on how to gain access to various sector funds, and at the same time engage the government to review the stringent conditions of accessing these various funds.
"We are looking at the monetary policies of the banking sector and we are calling on the government to act through the central bank to formulate and implement policies that would aid entrepreneurs gain access to cheap funds in order to stimulate the real sector and create more jobs for Nigerians," he said.
In his remark the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Reginald Ihediahi, remarked that the bank has been discovering new areas of the economy that can be supported if it can be better organised.
"The view our bank takes is the significant responsibility that the banking industry has, to stimulate economic activities throughout the country because we understand the need to help people convert opportunities in the country to economic successes," he said.
He pointed out that the critical role of the chamber was that of an ultimate motivator and a major platform for the dissemination of information on these opportunities.
"The chamber also exercises the benefit of reach because the executive of the chamber can literarily converse with the policy makers in the country and give tell them what their members feel on what can be done differently or emphasised in order to move the economy forward," he said.
He encouraged the chamber to make use of all kinds of opportunities available to them and one of them, he said, was the planned Kaduna international trade fair. He said it was particularly important that the chamber is sector organised which makes it easier for Fidelity Bank to work hand in hand and in partnership with the major economic platform.
"This chamber in particular organises businessmen from various parts of the country and so we are interested in forming a partnership with them and supporting them in any way that we can," he said.
He said that the improvement from 1.6 to 3.5 per cent of the capital dedicated to the agricultural sector by the banking industry was a major improvement with room to do more.
"We are also working with the chamber executives to introduce agriculture to a new generation of agri-business entrepreneurs who can use their brilliant ideas to mange agricultural risks and help build the confidence of the banking sector to lend more to the sector," he added.
Ihejiani said that it would be reasonable for banks to increase their lending proportions now that their balance sheets are increasing and also for the ministry of agriculture as the policy makers to listen to the banking sector so that the issues of risks can well be taken care of.