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AFCFTA: Nigeria works with AFDB on $400m loan to boost exports

AFCFTA: Nigerian working with AFDB on $400m loan to boost exports

The Federal Government says it is working to secure $400 million facility from the African Development Bank (AFDB) to build agro-processing facilities to enhance export competitiveness.

Minister of trade and investment, Niyi Adebayo confirmed this at a briefing organised by the Presidential Media team on Thursday in Abuja.

Adebayo, speaking on Nigeria’s poor performance in the exports of agricultural goods, said the government was setting up agro-processing facilities to add value to goods exported from Nigeria.

He also informed that the ministry was working with the private sector to reduce unemployment, adding that “rather than just exporting raw materials, the ministry is encouraging farmers to add values before exporting.”

“We are in talks with the African Development Bank for a $400m facility to set up special agro-processing zones in about 8 states that have been selected in the first phase.

“You will be surprised that a lot of yams exported from Ghana are actually smuggled from Nigeria into Ghana and exported to the United States. These are the areas that the government is looking at. The problems have to do with the infrastructure we have, delays in exporting from our ports, etc.

“People are expected to set up companies in these special zones and manufacturing facilities for the processing of the raw materials for value addition and adding quality to our agricultural exports.”

Read also: Taiwan eyes investment in Nigeria’s manufacturing, agriculture sectors to drive export

He disclosed that the government has also awarded contracts for scanners to scan goods at the ports, standardisation of imported goods to ensure that Nigeria does not remain a dumping ground for imported goods.

This is just as he also blamed the prevailing insecurity for Nigeria’s fall from the top 10 preferred investment destinations in Africa.

A report emerged this week showing that the country dropped to 14 as Egypt continues to top Africa’s investment destinations in a ranking carried out by RMB, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited.

However, the minister said the government was doing everything necessary to return Nigeria to its position.

Asked what is responsible for the fall, he said: “The reasons for that are various, the major line being the security problem that we have in the country.

“You are well aware; the Federal Government is making every effort to resolve the security problem so that we will go back to the position of being the preferred investment destination.

“However, having said this, the feedback that I have begun to get lately from some of the people, the foreign governments that I have been meeting is that our position is getting better because there seems to be a big interest again in investing in Nigeria.