By Peter Uzoho

Sterling Bank’s collaboration with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other associations to sponsor next week’s Manufacturing Expo was in line with the bank’s efforts at promoting entrepreneurship in the country, the bank’s Executive Director, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman has said.

He said the bank was always willing to actively participate in initiatives that will encourage local manufacturers and other entrepreneurs as they are pillars to the industrial resurgence of the country. Suleiman, who spoke at the weekend, emphasised that the prevailing harsh economic climate in the country, especially the scarcity of foreign exchange, had made it imperative for organisations to assist the government in promoting local production of goods and services.

He pointed out that the expo will give local manufacturers a platform to network and learn new ways of increasing productivity.

According to him, “The worst thing you can do is to throw money at the manufacturing sector. The fundamental thing is for entrepreneurs to have specific knowledge that will help them to grow their business. They should know about governments’ policies and how these affect them.”

Citing Made-in-Nigeria cables and wires, which he said have been proven to be superior to imported brands, he noted that many Nigerians tended to believe that locally produced goods were of poor quality even without having purchased and used such products. He revealed that in addition to the sponsorship of the expo, Sterling Bank was also planning to increase its support for the manufacturing sector.

Suleiman pointed out that the bank’s recent deal with leading indigenous auto firm, Innoson Motors Limited, was in line with its efforts to increase support for local manufacturers.

Also speaking at the press conference, the Director, Corporate Affairs at MAN, Mr. Segun Oshidipe, commended the bank’s support for the association and its sponsorship of the expo. He said that over 2000 participants had indicated their intention to participate at the expo, adding that even though it was the maiden such fair to be organised by MAN, the association was hopeful it would achieve its targets.

According to him, the expo which will take place from March 15 to 17 at the Landmark Centre, Lagos will also feature conferences and workshops.