How Govt can transform retail industry in Nigeria- Joseph Ebata

By Oluwagbenga Bankole

In order for the retail industry in Nigeria to be transformed, the Federal Government has been urged to have a vision and strategy that is retail centric.

The President/ Chief Executive Officer of Bervidson Retail Group, convener of ‘The Retail Leaders Conference,’ Mr. Joseph Ebata made this known in an exclusive interview with BRANDINFO.

Ebata said that governments at different levels need to formulate policies in order for retail industry in Nigeria to fulfill its potentials.

“We need policy that will include retail business studies in our tertiary institution’s curriculum, policy that will improve clearing of goods from the ports, policies that will eradicate multiple taxation, policy on land use reforms to make real estate more accessible to retailers, policies on ease of doing business in Nigeria for foreign investors and policies that will support retail to promote the buy made-in-Nigeria goods,” he said. 

When being asked whether Nigeria retail industry is receiving enough support from the banks, Ebata said; “the temptation would be to say no ! As a former Banker, I would say that both retailers and Bankers should engage each other more.  Bankers must develop a new mind-set borne out of a thorough understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities in retail. They must understand the KPIs critical to retail success, how to measure and use in loan assessment. They must be willing to invest in capacity building for retailers that will in turn enhance the ability of retailers to conduct success business operation based on best practices. The bank that is willing to make this investment will ultimately become the bride of the retail industry.”

“Retailers on the other hand must engage banks with well thought through demand. They must be willing to invest in themselves and employees to understand what banks are looking for to become comfortable when supporting the retailer. The lip service of being a retail bank must give way to reality.”   

While speaking on 2017 Retail Leaders Conference which is the 4th edition, Ebata explained that; “we expect this year’s edition to build on the successes of past editions.  Our focus is on galvanising support for the retail industry from all stakeholders, particularly the government.   This year’s conference comes against the backdrop of the current national economic challenge. With the government actively trying to reposition the economy, this Conference will show retail as the key sector that is set to become a key driver of our national economic growth.

Full interview will be published tomorrow...

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