The First Bank of Nigeria on Sunday expressed its commitment to the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in line with the Federal Government’s economic diversification drive.
Mr Gbenga Shobo, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director, made the commitment at the third edition of Fiesta of Flavours in Lagos.
Shobo said that the bank would continue to promote SMEs and entrepreneurs to boost job creation to reduce unemployment rate in the country.
He said that the bank partnered Eventful Limited to encourage and to showcase SMEs in their value chain.
Shobo said that the bank’s synergy was in line with the Federal Government diversification drive, noting that food was now the major oil of the country.
He said that the bank was doing many other things to promote local content and diversification programme of the government.
Shobo said that the bank was partnering Eventful Limited to drive Nigeria’s food economy through the sponsorship of the event.
He said that the support reinforced the bank’s commitment to building the entire agricultural value chain from production to consumption and creating opportunities for SMEs in the food sector.
Mrs Yewande Zaccheus, the Chief Executive Officer of Eventful Limited, said that the initiative had created opportunities for the growth and development of SMEs.
Zaccheus said that the company was using the initiative to showcase SMEs, adding that many busineses had grown through the platform.
She said that SMEs that did not have money to advertise were using the platform to create awareness.
Zaccheus advised government to support SMEs to grow with improve operating environment in view of the dwindling oil revenue.
Chef Tiyan Alile, the Founder Culinary Academy and Culinary Consultant for Fiesta of Flavours, advised the Federal Government to provide needed enabling environment to enable SMEs to thrive.
Alike advised that government should introduce friendly economic policies to boost growth and development of the private sector to reduce unemployment rate.
Alile also advised that government should introduce one year tax holiday to SMEs.
She also advised that the hospitality industry should be strengthened to increase the country’s revenue base.
Alile commended First Bank for its continuous support in ensuring the success of the fair.
She said that many jobs had been created through the fair and the bank had been its major sponsor in the last three years.
Miss Henrietta Ikhuoria, the Managing Director, Feast House Chef, also commended the bank and Eventful Limited on the programme.
Ikhuoria said that she came to use the platform to showcase her company that was into takeout lunch, bulk meal and outdoor catering services.
She said that the company had been in existence for a year and six months with footprints on the Victoria Island and plans to extend to Lagos Mainland in 2018.
Ikhuoria lauded the organisers for enhanced security and conducive stands at the fair ground.
She urged the organisers to reduce the gate fee to N500 from N1,000 to encourage more particaption and to boost sales.
Nonye Nwankwo, a Client Service officer in Nestle Nigeria, said that the company embraced the platform to educate people and customers on how to used their products.
Nwankwo said that the company used the platform for demonstration on the best ways to use the products and as well create awareness for new product introduced in the market recently.