Importers, manufacturers and other business persons in Onitsha and environs have lamented the hardship experienced in doing business in Nigeria, saying that they deserved award for staying afloat.

The business people who spoke during a customer forum of the Access Bank for importers and manufacturers listed their problems to include unavailability of foreign exchange, lack of seaports for clearing of their imported wares among others.

Chris Ukachukwu, a manufacturer and managing director of Rexton Industries Limited, who also doubled as a resource person, said businessmen in Nigeria deserve award, considering the harsh condition under which they operate.

Delivering a paper titled: ‘Growing a business in a challenged economy,’ said: “Doing business in Nigeria is a skill itself. Whether your business is doing well or not, you deserve award.

That shows how resilient you are. But the aim of Access Bank in putting together this forum is to further teach you how to grow your business in a harsh economy like Nigeria.”

Ukachukwu who reeled out strategies of doing business in a harsh economy, called on the participants to always pay attention to their staff by employing the right people, paying them well and also paying attention to their lifestyle as such would help them prevent and detect fraud easily.

Dr Jekwu Ozoemena, group head, Access Bank business banking division, South-south who represented the Executive Director, Business Banking, Mrs. Titi Osuntoki, earlier in a welcome address, assured participants of the readiness of the bank to provide guides for them and help them grow their businesses.

Osuntoki said Access Bank has positioned itself as the most business-friendly bank with a huge support base, and has also fashioned out flexible means of helping traders overcome their challenges in Nigeria.

The forum featured presentation of papers including managing business expectations from your bank by Mr. Chinedu Nwaonu; trade as a driver of economic growth in Nigeria by Mr. Chuks Egbueh, among others.