* Quest to stem crime and joblessness
* Need to stop capital flight
By Codratus Godson
The Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) led at the moment by Chief Nabil Saleh has brought small businesses together again on Thursday, August 22, 2019, to explore strategies for linkages and connections to the numerous corporations and big enterprises in the region. This is said to be to reduce capital flight, create jobs and reduce violence in the oil region.
The seminar termed ‘Rivers Local Enterprise Development Business Linkages Workshop’ packaged in partnership with E&I Centre (led by Mr Chika Chinwah) seeks to grow its outreach activities particularly to large corporate bodies and multinationals in Rivers State and the Niger Delta at large.
According to Mr Chinwah, the seminar also seeks to provide a platform for local enterprises to establish sustainable business relationships with large multinationals and corporate buyers of goods and services operating in Rivers State. It is to also provide an avenue for local small enterprises to learn how to competitively deliver quality goods and services to large corporate buyers in the region. This is expected to lead to growth and expansion for the small local firms and the optimization of efficiency for the large enterprises.
Mr Chinwah said the speakers were expected to drive the message that Rivers local enterprises operating in the state need to be carried along in the economic activity that is ongoing in the state. “This is not only aimed at financial growth or rewards for the companies but to also boost societal growth and development. This is because when local enterprises grow, then they can employ more people, generate more revenue to government and pay better taxes which would ultimately be of benefit to the entire society.”
He said it is also a move to help more businesses operating in the state and the region find strong reasons to stay and do businesses in the region so that money made there could stay there.
In an opening speech, the second deputy president of PHCCIMA, Dr Chinyere Nwoga, who represented the president, said the Chamber as a matter of priority is pursuing business linkages and connections which they see as critical for business survival. She said it is their hope that the day’s networking activities would mark the beginning of stronger business relationships. “Such relationships between International Oil Corporations (IOCs), transnational corporations (TNCs) that make up the demand side on one hand and the organized private sector (OPS) that forms the supply side requires commitment from all stakeholders. The government is to act through support services and a robust public private participation (PPP) scheme, while the TNCs/IOCs/large corporations would act through making access easier and by carrying out suppliers development programmes. The Chamber would support business through facilitation, due diligence, and guaranteeing of suppliers.”
She went on; “We know and indeed agree that some of the considerations of the demand-side include cost, quality, reliability, flexibility and ability to meet the ever-changing technological needs. The Chamber emphasizes the need for local businesses to continually update their processes, be ready to meet changing demands, and have strategic visions for the future.
“In the same breath, we are also aware of the constraints that confront local businesses; mainly deficiency in human and financial resources plus lack of access to big corporations. The Chamber serves as a bridge by creating platforms for interface between stakeholders; today’s workshop is an example.”
She said efforts in this regard would be made easier if the big corporations join the PHCCIMA as members as they have done in some other cities. “We have the capacity, the competence, and the hunger for high level facilitation; that is what we do.
“Now, benefits accruable as a PHCCIMA member are many and varied. First, things move faster and easier when one becomes a member. We are the second largest chamber of commerce in the country. We are the first e-chamber of commerce in Nigeria. We are the first chamber to have a one-stop-shop with over 15 MDAs and banks all to ease regulatory burdens on our members. We have the Nigeria Export Promotion council (NEPC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, etc. We not only provide access to these agencies but intervene and recommend whenever the need arises.”
She said the PHCCIMA has direct line of communication with the government, and also with the embassies in Nigeria as well as overseas. “Above all, we have people like always available to advocate, intervene, and push your business needs. What else do you want!’
The breakout session looked at opportunities in the various sectors and how to help small companies get businesses in big corporations. Various resource persons shared insight into how businesses can survive in Rivers State and said it remains the state with best opportunities.