Our Reporter: BLAISE UDUNZE
The Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) has disclosed that it is offering N300 billion as funding support to Nigerian exporters in 2014 as part of its commitment to boost credible non-oil exports in the years ahead
Making the disclosure at the 2014 Nigeria Non-oil Export and Investment Development Conference organised by Business Journal yesterday in Lagos, its Managing Director, Mr. Roberts Orya, stated that 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.
Meanwhile, the NEXIM boss has 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 3 per cent to the sector resulting in persistent low records in the raw solid minerals of the non-oil sector. According to him, while South exports over 65 per cent of its solid minerals, the limited investment in the minerals sector 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.
Speaking on the theme, “Nigeria – Beyond Oil and Gas,” the 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 asserted.
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.
Source : SunOnline