• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Experts call for amendment of Nigeria’s Export Prohibition Act to increase non-oil revenue

Nigeria’s $4.5bn export proceeds at risk over poor paperwork, non-compliance

Experts have called on the federal government to amend the country’s 1989 Export Prohibition Act to increase non-oil revenue.

The experts who spoke at a recent policy intervention series themed ‘Recent Export-Unfriendly Policies: Implication for Nigeria’s Economy’ organised by BusinessDay and Talking Trade and Investment Global said the 34-year-old Export Prohibition Act is restricting the export of certain agricultural commodities despite Nigeria’s quest of boosting non-oil export and diversifying away from oil.

According to them, the act is limiting lots of export activities and investments in the yam, cassava, beans, maize, and rice value chains and their derivatives despite being leading producers of some of these crops.

Read also: Nigeria’s non-oil export seen rising on global cocoa price rally

Marvis Oduogu, a Lawyer at Stren & Blan Partners, called for the amendment of the Export Prohibition Act of 1989 to allow the export of value-added products derived from yam, beans, and cassava.

He noted that it would be a monumental step towards diversifying the country’s revenue stream, reducing post-harvest losses and creating jobs.

“The Nigerian government should consider amending the Act to yield the result they hope to achieve. Those resources are better used to tackle identified causes of food inflation and provide financing options for farmers to scale their production,” Oduogu said.

He added that there is no link between the exportation of food items on the Prohibition Act and rising food inflation, noting that what Nigeria needs is a legislative framework that would tackle the food crisis.

Also, Olufemi Boyede, convener of Talking Trade and Investment Global and an expert on export policies said boosting the country’s non-oil export is the solution to driving growth and diversifying away oil.

Boyede noted that making policies that work for non-oil export is the place to start the diversification process.

Read also: Why Nigeria needs new strategy to promote non-oil export

He added that non-oil exports need to be prioritised as a solution to boost the country’s foreign exchange revenue, emphasising that “the blatant banning of some agricultural commodities is not the solution to Nigeria’s food insecurity.”

Nigeria is the largest producer of yam and cassava, two items on the Prohibition Act list, producing between 63 and 50.4 metric tonnes per year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Bosun Solarin, owner of Dasun Integrated Farms Limited, said while this policy might be a short-term solution to the nation’s food crisis, it cannot be incorporated long-term.

She noted that no country should depend on only one revenue medium as Nigeria relies only on oil.

“Nigeria is not doing me a favour as a non-oil exporter, I am the one doing the country a favour by contributing to its FX,” Solarin who is also a farmer, said.

She added that the country was in more need of the revenue accrued from non-oil exportation, so placing a ban on the exportation of certain agricultural items would not bring growth to Africa’s biggest nation.

“Every country must engage in import and export and if Nigeria bans agric export, is the country then supporting importation that would put more strain on the little forex that it has?” she asked.