Nigeria: Sterling Bank Identifies Business Opportunities Post COVID-19

29 June 2020

Sterling Bank Plc has identified business opportunities which customers can leverage to meet their needs in various sectors of the Nigerian economy post-COVID-19.

The bank rolled out the opportunities at its virtual town-hall meeting/webinar series held by the Commercial Banking Group (Eastern region) recently and hosted by Mr. Tunde Adeola, its Executive Director, Commercial Banking, with participants drawn from customers in the Southeast, Midwest and South-South region who play in different sectors of the economy from general commerce to health, agric, education, manufacturing, oil &gas, transportation and construction, among others.

Speaking on health and new educational opportunities, Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head, Health and Education Sector of the Bank, said the Nigerian educational system would change dramatically post COVID-19 as it had thrown up opportunities for online learning.

He said, going forward, there would be a need for portions of the educational curriculum to be online so that pupils and students could learn by watching educational videos online over and over.

Ukachukwu also talked about franchising opportunities, noting that there will be opportunities for partnerships with other educational institutions to enhance competition as well as consolidation of operations to drive down costs.

He added that the bank would position its customers to effectively access funding that will enable them to maximise opportunities in the changing environment post COVID-19.

He advised pharmaceutical companies to pool resources together to produce general drugs and consolidate their operations. He also advised consolidation in the hospital value chain, open Electronic Management Records (EMR) and making EMR mandatory for hospitals arguing that hospitals without EMR would likely lose patients.

He advised the citizenry to download Tremendoc App, a health app, to enable them to gain access to medical consultancy online also stressed the need to fund EMRs.

Also speaking, Mrs. Bukola Awosanya, Group Head, Agric & Solid Minerals Sectors of the bank, who spoke on Agric Finance and agribusiness opportunities noted that Nigerians should be able to grow what they eat, adding that Sterling Bank has what it takes to support farmers and other stakeholders across the agric value chain.

Awosanya observed that there are huge opportunities for agricultural development in the South East of the country because the soil profile in the area could easily support the production of cash crops like cashew and oil palm which are in high demand in the export market.

She said the region is also able to provide opportunities for rice plantation and processing as well as large mechanised farming, including cassava chips for export and local consumption or industrial use of cassava starch. She added that opportunities to process cocoa into cake and butter are equally available in the region.

According to her, the region also has opportunities for poultry, hatcheries and egg production as well as access to market.

Awosanya said the bank has provided warehousing facilities across the country to enable farmers to warehouse their produce, obtain receipts for them which they can convert to liquidity and sell when they want.

She also talked about smart agriculture, aquaculture value chain, agro-e-commerce and financing solutions provided by the bank to meet the financial needs of prospective and existing customers from the region.

Mr. Nyong Inwang of the Transaction Banking department of Sterling Bank, who spoke on Supply Chain Finance Opportunities, encouraged distributors and suppliers who are customers of the bank to leverage the opportunities to meet their needs.

He said the bank's distributors' finance scheme provides customers with working capital, partner with them to take advantage of opportunities to enable them to have quick access to finance under 72 hours of up to N500 million at competitive interest rates and also by lending through Specta.

Abidemi Asunmo, Head, Transactions Banking Collections of Sterling Bank, who spoke on Digital Solutions & Opportunities talked about increased need for digitisation, global and real time visibility, uniform control over account of clients, how clients can be paid faster, visualisation and re-imagination solutions and flexibility on how to meet clients'mandates.

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