CBN, Lotus Bank reiterates commitment to supporting export sector

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Lotus Bank have reiterated their commitment to supporting the export sector of the economy.

This was made known by O.S. Nnaji, director, trade and exchange department of the CBN at the 2022 Lotus Bank’s Exporter’s forum themed ‘Identifying and Overcoming the Challenges of Non-oil export Trade’, held at the weekend in Lagos.

“The central bank remains willing to partner with all stakeholders in order to deliver our mandates and promote the export sector. Certainly, on partnering, we can achieve more,” she said.

“Therefore, I urge you all to use this opportunity to objectively assess the issues of the time and make recommendations of ways to promote the non-oil sector and earn more money for Nigeria and as well give employment to our teeming population, ” she told participants at the forum.

Nnaji noted that a key mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is to maintain the external value of the currency and that a strategic priority in delivering these mandates is facilitating trade and the provision of affordable finance.

Access to finance, she said, has been proven in many countries to be a key driver of the export prune- commercial activities, which translate into poverty reduction and inclusive growth. Most countries have pursued this strategy in revamping their economic activities after the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemics.

She also noted that Covid-19 impacted Nigeria’s foreign exchange inflows as many foreign companies divested their stake in foreign assets in these countries. Many foreign investors withdrew huge amounts of resources from emerging markets including Nigeria in search of several investment destinations and risk hedging.

Read also: Nigerian power sector would have collapsed without CBN’s intervention – Experts

According to available data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria recorded total export revenue of $10.4 billion in 2009, the highest since 2008.

The real export data from 2019 was $6.2 billion accounting for over 60 percent of Nigeria’s total exports and about 40 percent of the 2018 real export plan of 1.5, she said.

From the same NBS data, she said that Nigeria’s contribution to the non-oil sector increased to 92.76 percent in the first quarter of 2001, from 91.8 percent in 2020. However, she said the country’s export is still oil-dependent as crude oil exports accounted for 74.04 percent of total exports.

“Improved export earnings will help strengthen the value of the local currency, our Naira, as well as resolve the foreign exchange crisis being experienced in the country as we bring more dollars into the country, ” she said.

In her opening remarks, Kafilat Araoye, managing director/CEO of Lotus Bank said the non-oil is so critical to growth that the governor of the CBN took a bold step to introduce the RT200 to boost foreign exchange inflows into the country.

“As a bank, we are aligned with it. It was one of the strategies we adopted when we started. We are going to be supporting the real sector, particularly those who will help to increase our GDP from the perspective of increasing our revenue, which should bring more developments to the nation as required,” she said.

In his presentation, Ezra Yakusak, executive director, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) noted that the Council recently launched a Trade House in Cairo, Egypt while planning to launch one in Togo very soon.

Represented by Samuel Oyeypo, regional South West coordinator, NEPC, he said that the NEPC is a Federal Government agency established to promote the development and diversification of Nigerian oil export trade, assist in promoting the development of export-oriented industries, play a leading role in the creation of export incentives needed to support the non-oil export sector, especially in terms of competitive marketing, production in the country within the context of infrastructure applications.

Muda Yusuf, chief executive officer, of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), said foreign exchange policy is critical to trade facilitation.

“Rather than encourage export, our forex policy is penalizing export through the imposition of the official exchange rate on export proceeds,” Yusuf said, stating that there is a loss of N182/$ of export proceeds.

He stresses the need to prioritize the trade facilitation role of trade institutions, adding that currently there is a disproportionate emphasis on revenue targets to the detriment of trade facilitation.

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