Leading Nigerian firm inks deal with Brunei company

Crescent Sdn Bhd yesterday marked another milestone after signing an agreement with leading Nigerian ICT services firm ABG Multimedia Services Limited to offer its award-winning ‘Online Professional Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance’ e-learning module to the growing Islamic Banking & Finance market in Nigeria and the African region.

Crescent Founder Hajah Salma Haji Abdul Latiff and ABG Multimedia Services Managing Director Dr Musa Bawa Garba officially signed the agreement yesterday at a ceremony held at the i-Centre in Kg Anggerek Desa, witnessed by Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong.

Crescent Sdn Bhd’s e-learning platform earned accolades for Brunei last year after winning the Asia-Pacific ICT Award (APICTA) in the e-learning category. In 2010, the company was one of three local ICT companies to receive a grant from the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AiTi).

The signing marks the beginning of a new business relationship as part of Crescent’s efforts to expand its business overseas, and also formally establishes the business venture of launching the product in Nigeria.

Nigeria, situated in West-Africa, has a population of about 160 million people, almost half of whom are Muslims.

According to Dr Musa in his speech, present economic reforms in Nigeria as well as its favourable ranking by global ranking institutions have improved Nigeria’s profile as a viable investment destination.

“Crescent is fortunate to have a partner who believes in the importance of Islamic finance and appreciates that its implementation in Nigeria is a necessity for the country’s economic progress and development,” Hajah Salma said in her speech.

Dr Musa also noted that through the Professional Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance, they hope to “equip Nigerians with the Syariah principles of Islamic finance and to produce well-equipped professionals with the knowledge of Islamic financial concepts and products.”

Meanwhile, the deputy minister and chairman in his speech reiterated the importance for local SMEs to look beyond Brunei to seek expansion and growth opportunities.

“In fact, for most companies, it has become a necessity for them to venture overseas in order to sustain their business in the long-run. And this is where today, BEDB and other government agencies are combining their efforts to produce programmes and incentives to make this possible,” he added.

Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali, citing Crescent Sdn Bhd as an example, said once our SMEs are successful and gain international recognition, not only are they able to contribute significantly to the country’s GDP and provide employment, but they will also enhance the image of our country.

“We want Brunei to be known as a country that produces innovative and highly competitive SMEs and that Brunei carries a brand associated with high quality, credibility and is trustworthy,” he added.