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PHCCIMA End Of Year Dinner Party: Unachukwu Describes 2014 A Challenging Year But Says PHCCIMA Made Remarkable Progress

By Anderson Hart
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For members of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, PHCCIMA the year 2014 came with some level of challenges considering deluge of issues that confronted the body including the painful loss of the first deputy President, late Dr. Renny Cookey among others.

However there was staked consensus that in spite of the challenges the Chamber made huge and far reaching progress in its continued stride to achieve some of its lofty objectives in the year under review.

Engr. Emeka Unachukwu President of the chamber while making his remark during the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce End of Year Party and Christmas Carol held at the Grace Events centre, Evo road in Port Harcourt, a ceremony organized to formally signal the year ending activities of the chamber, he noted that the year will go down in history as one of the best ever considering gluts of exploits and achievements gotten home and abroad in spite of the various challenges.

In his brief speech at the event he said PHCCIMA made giant strides in some notable areas of endeavour, among them in the PHCCIMA/Grofin 'Growing Business' Initiative also known as PHCCIMA Credit Support Scheme for SME's (PCS3), where valuable members have continued to access and benefit from the collateral free loans provided. The initiative according to him is first in Africa even as PHCCIMA holds the record as the only chamber of commerce in Nigeria and sub Saharan African that has been able to model such initiative to the attraction of international audience.

Unachukwu expressed satisfaction that PHCCIMA in the year under review made breakthroughs where government, banks and financial institutions were unable, adding that the chamber has been able to breach the gap in providing access to finance, market among others through her PCS3 initiative.

Though he admitted some very low points last year, he said consistent low application by valued members affected the overall expected target for the year. He used the medium to urge more members to take advantage of the opportunity provided to better their businesses especially with funds already available for approval and disbursements to qualified applicants.

Similarly, he disclosed that PHCCIMA has made giant strides in its relationship with the Rivers state sustainable agency RSSDA, through the 'Graduate Work Experience Placement Scheme, GWEPS whose objective is to ensure that graduates get job placements. He said the scheme is part of PHCCIMA's corporate social responsibility and described it as very rewarding scheme which affords member companies the opportunity to hire services of a graduate for a meager N20, 000 leaving RSSDA to augment the remaining amount payable to the graduate monthly in a programme spanning a period of 2 years. Furthermore he said PHCCIMA in collaboration with RSSDA is also deeply piloting the RSSDA AGRICULTURE/FARMING TRAINEES PROGRAMME, all thanks to another PHCCIMA initiative called PHCCIMA PCS3 ACCESS.

Unachukwu described the collaboration as a support programme for graduates who wish to venture into progressive agriculture adding that it was also designed to benefit members among others.

'Let me use this very noble opportunity to announce to valued members, distinguished ladies and gentlemen that the GWEP programme in the year under review earned Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce the Rivers state Ministry of Youth Development Excellency award as the 'BEST SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ORGANIZATION IN THE STATE'', he said adding that the award was presented by the state commissioner for Youths development in recognition of PHCCIMA efforts in reducing unemployment in the state through her Graduate Work Experience Placement Scheme (GWEPS).

The PHCCIMA boss also told valued members that PHCCIMA in the year under review was also honoured with an international recognition; it was first of its kind in Nigeria's comity of chambers or by any chamber in sub-Saharan Africa. According to him PHCCIMA was named one of the nominees contending for the 2015 best chamber of commerce competition in an international chamber of commerce contest organized by World Chamber of Commerce.

The event, according to him, is expected to hold in Torino Italy from the 10 -12th June 2015. Unachukwu said the recognition was first of its kind in the history of Nigeria and Africa, saying the nomination is a clear indication that all efforts towards driving and improving businesses in the year under review did not go unnoticed both in the local and international arena.

While urging valued members to stand up for a moment of silence for the departed first deputy president, he afterward used the opportunity to introduce to the house the newly elected first deputy president in the person of, Dr. Emi Membre Otaji who formerly was the Second Deputy President. He also introduced the new second deputy president, Chief Nabil Saleh who until his election was the Publicity Secretary.

He explained that following late Renny Cookey's demise there was the need to fill in the vacuum hence the election that brought in Dr. Otaji and Chief Saleh.

Similarly, he told the gathering that two new officers, Surv. Emmanuel Ogbonda and Chief Pakaye Elekima were also elected as a Council member and Publicity Secretary respectively.

2014 according to the PHCCIMA boss also witnessed successful trade missions to, China, UK, Slovenia, Netherlands among others where thought provoking presentations and progressive business contacts and collaborations where established to the benefit of our members. “PHCCIMA's exploits are not limited to business alone, we had ventured into diverse areas and made significant leap into areas never imagined.

This our concept to business we must not limit ourselves to oil and gas, marine but must venture into areas less traveled, apparently that was why our impact within and outside our confines have continued to be monumental and had in the process attracted international recognition”, he was quoted as saying.

He also reminded us of some of the benefits derived from PHCCIMA membership care office, including benefits from the various communication companies, tax reduction, travelling made easy through our contacts among others which PHCCIMA membership had constantly leverage upon.

As expected the 2014 end of year party has come and gone, but the memories, fun, and excitement will sure linger for a long time to come. It was indeed a night of colour, pomp and pageantry as members attended in their numbers with their spouses, loved ones, friends, children among others.

The event featured Christmas carol rendition by the Port Harcourt Exquisite Choir, Micheal Jackson display and acrobatic exponent by the Body language crew, including a blockbuster performance by music diva, Oba Omega the grikata master.

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