Advocates for increased export to United States by 2020
For the nation to fast track the development of the non-oil sector for improved revenue generation, not less than 20 Nigerian goods are needed to be exported to the United States by the year 2020.
These were the submissions of experts that gathered yesterday at the non-oil breakfast workshop organized by the Nigerian American Chambers of Commerce, in collaboration with Fidelity Bank in Lagos.
The stakeholders, who argued that Nigeria has the best services companies in the Sub-Saharan Africa, however lamented that credit to non-oil export sector has dipped from N852 billion in 2008 to N122 billion in 2014.
According to them, concerted efforts is needed by government at all levels and the various regulatory institutions to minimize all bottlenecks and bureaucracy associated with exportation of finished goods by Nigerian firms especially the Small and Medium Enterprises to revamp the trend.
Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer of Poize Capital Global, Confort Sakoma, explained that creating enabling environment, strengthening the powers of export agencies like the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) as well as making sure that there are proper monitoring and evaluation process in government agencies would bolster trade export in Nigeria.
She added that exportation of goods and having access to foreign currency would enable the country to manage the challenges associated with currency fluctuations.
“We need government to fund organisations so that they are capable of delivering and achieving result. We need to increase the power given to these organisations to act, strengthening the powers of agencies, localising and centralising who handles African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), making sure that there are monitoring and evaluation process.
“We need to get all the necessary stakeholders on board, we need customs to understand what is going on, and we need them to be enabled not prevented. We need to make sure that all licensing regulatory bodies are on top of the conversation, to ensure that they can fast track without cutting corners to enable people that are looking for exports have the ability to do that.
“Then the shipping company must reduce the cost of shipping to encourage exporters, making sure that people are not paying unnecessary costs in shipping to make them competitive abroad. We need to do everything we can to ensure that we are creating product that will compete in foreign market.
“Also we need support from the government they should create enabling environment for trade. Nigeria is not doing well in the AGOA because everything set up to work against trade. Nigerian entrepreneurs are resilient, inspire of no support, no infrastructure, no market, no finance, continue to push forward with hope that one day the hard work will play out. It is time we rally around entrepreneurs and SMES that their hard work will play out,” she added.
The Executive Director, Lagos and South West of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, stressed the need for Nigeria to fast track the process the diversification, noting that a lot needed to be done in the areas of ECOWAS liberalisation scheme to facilitate a seamless flow of trade into the sub-Saharan region and boost export.
“We need to shift from import to export. Nigeria need to diversify its revenue base but we have production challenges, which must be sorted out. It would be difficult for Nigeria to compete in the global space if Nigeria fails to address the issue of infrastructure because infrastructure development reduces business operating cost.”
She added that multiple taxation is a major issue that government must tackle to attract more business and foreign direct investment.
The Acting Managing Director of Nexim bank, Bashi Wali explained that as part of efforts to arrest the declining trend in the non-oil sector in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria recently approved N500 billion export stimulation facility, with the bank acting as fund managers.
He explained that the facility would provide liquidity to commercial banks to enable them lend to the export sector.
According to him, the intervention fund would also attract and incentivize new and additional investment to non-oil sector towards diversification of the economy and broadening the nation’s export base.
Wali added that loan request from commercial banks on the new fund scheme currently stands at N42.67 billion while 21 applications were received for the scheme.