Despite tension in the minds of both foreign and local investors regarding business activities in Nigeria, as the 2019 elections draw near, Olaf Schumueser, senior representative and managing director Commerzbank, has expressed a positive outlook for the company this year.
Schumueser told BusinessDay at the 10th Anniversary of the Bank, celebrated in Ikoyi Lagos that the celebration forms part of the company’s commitment to the wellbeing and socio-economic development of Nigeria, and showcases its strong belief in the Nigerian economy and continued relationship with stakeholders in the banking sector.
“Commerzbank Nigeria is a leading international financial institution, which provides support to local commercial banks worldwide by providing guaranteed trade loans, and credit to commercial banks so as to enhance doing business, exporting and importing in the country,” Shumueser said.
He further added “Also, we have been doing business in Africa especially in Nigeria since 1953 and it has a long standing relationship and long history in Nigeria. The company appointed a country manager earlier in the 80’s and it took us time to open our own office; but now, we have six people here on ground hence, we are here to stay and we are here to do business in Nigeria.”
Furthermore, Schumueser said that the strategy of the bank is not to compete with the local banks, but to support and finance them so that they can lend money to their Nigerian customers.
On the ease of doing business in Nigeria, He commended the fire power of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for creating an enabling environment that allows foreign investment to thrive as situations are better than 2016.
“Let me start with getting into Nigeria, now it is much easier as we have the visa on arrival with so much construction going on. Things are looking better when compared to 2016 where we saw scarcity of dollar. However, this was really handled properly by the CBN as everything is now available and we are looking for ways to do more business here” Shumueser said.
On the outlook of 2018, he stated that the company was optimistic about putting everything into consideration and assured stakeholders of better and greater services.
“Our outlook for 2018 is optimistic but not over optimistic putting everything into consideration. Our business will grow tremendously as we project there will be ease of doing business around August-September in 2018 but when the election preparatory ends, the economy will kick start again in 2019, despite all these, we are very optimistic”.
Also present at the event was Birsmach Rewane MD/CEO Lagos-based financial derivative, who confirmed that the bank has been supporting the real sector and have stayed steadfast in the Nigerian business throughout the period, even during the time of recession when others were pulling back.
He added further that though the bank had rough 2016 and 2017 but, 2018 will be a lot better irrespective of anything ahead and thus sees Commerze bank in the same place where Nigeria will be in five years’ time, supporting and partnering the country in terms diversification and sustainability.
KEMI AJUMOBI & MICHEAL ANI