The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted Fidelity Bank Plc, one of the nation’s highly diversified financial institutions final licence to operate electronic commerce services in Nigeria.
With this current development, the Bank is currently positioned to empower Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in line with its strategic business objectives, through the provision of an advanced electronic commerce platform. Aptly dubbed The Fidelity GreenMall, the Bank said the platform is an online marketplace with fully integrated e-commerce capabilities for online payments, delivery logistics, advertising, and business networking opportunities, amongst others.
In a statement by the Bank, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo said, “We have always seen access to markets as critical success factor in our quest to deepen our MSME service offering. With this approval, and given the rapid increase in internet penetration, we see an exciting opportunity to further open up new markets for MSMEs using technology.”
According to him, the apex financial regulatory agency’s decision to grant Fidelity full licence to rollout electronic commerce services was driven specifically by the bank’s unique approach to financial inclusion.
The Fidelity boss noted that many MSMEs lack requisite expertise and capacity to manage an online store, thereby making it difficult for them to make sales.
Okonkwo, however expressly acknowledged the various constraints that hamper growth of MSMEs, such as concerns about MSMEs’ funding constraints, poor record keeping, lack of requisite technology tools and epileptic power supply in the country.
He however advised small businesses to take advantage of the online platform to boost their revenues and income by trading on local and international arena. “We want to raise the level of competitiveness of Nigerian MSMEs in a global market,” he said.
Okonkwo pointed out that e-commerce had gained recognition in national and international trade, disclosing that the bank plans to strengthen the level of participation of Nigerian SMEs in global e-commerce sales.
According to international statistics portal (Statista.com), the retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $1.67 trillion in 2015.
With the projected value of e-commerce in Nigeria expected to hit $13 billion by 2018, according to the CBN, the Fidelity helmsman pointed out that the online platform offers ample opportunity for perceptive businesses to explore and tap into in order to garner more market share.
He noted that the online platform fosters linkages to multilateral agencies and organisations to enable MSMEs explore export markets or franchising opportunities.