05 December 2014, Lagos — The Nigerian Export Import Bank, NEXIM, said it has offered N300 billion funding support to Nigerian exporters in 2014 as part of its commitment to boost credible non-oil exports in the years ahead.
Managing Director/Chief Executive, NEXIM Bank, Mr. Roberts Orya, disclosed this at the 2014 Nigeria Non-oil Export and Investment Development Conference organised by Business Journal in Lagos. He said the bank has been working on deepening export-import trade and attracting foreign investments.
Orya, who was represented by the Head of Strategic Planning of NEXIM, Tayo Omidigi, said that over $1.3 billion in foreign exchange has been facilitated through the bank; financially intervened in guarantees with over N100 billion, and created 2,000 direct jobs.
The NEXIM boss stressed the need for the diversification of the economy away from oil and the importance to promote the non-oil sector, urging stakeholders to look deeply into avenues that will induce growth to develop the sector.
He regretted that the country failed to invest in the non-oil sector especially in oil palm, as Nigeria has low agriculture productivity.
According to him, in other countries, 10 per cent or more of their budgets are allocated to agriculture while Nigeria budgets just three per cent to the sector resulting in persistent low records in the raw solid minerals of the non-oil sector.
He noted that while South Africa exports over 65 per cent of its solid minerals, the limited investment in the minerals sector in the country stagnates its contribution to 1 per cent to the growth of the economy.
Orya further listed the non-availability of long-term funds, poor infrastructure and transportation constraints as part of factors that have continued to hamper trade and investment with other countries.
Also, Group Managing Director of Mutual Benefit Group, Dr. Akin Ogunbiyi, decried that Nigeria’s dependence on oil over the years has adversely affected its agriculture.
He stated that the drastic drop in the price of oil was a wake-up call on the country to turn the economy around to become multi-faceted.
“It is incumbent on us as a country to pay much deserved attention to agricultural products, move towards greater industrialisation, develop our solid minerals and revive other sectors of the economy,” Ogunbiyi said.
He stressed that the private sector has a role to play but that the enabling environment must be created for the sector to contribute to the non-oil sector.
The Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Business Journal, Prince Cookey, said that government and people of Nigeria must look beyond oil if they are to banish poverty and improve the living condition of its people.
He said the time has come to expand the revenue base of the nation to have multiple streams of income for financial freedom, sustainable economic growth, reduction in poverty and better life for the people of Nigeria.
*Phillip Oladunjoye – Daily Independent