Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has appealed with the Nigerian Ports Authority to do everything possible to ease the export process for local manufacturers and exporters.
Speaking to the Nigerian Ports Authority boss, Mohammed Bello-Koko during the Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar held at the Civic Centre on Wednesday, Emefiele noted that it is quite painful to see some exporters drive their goods to neighbouring countries for exporting, just because they are unable to access the ports.
“A Nigerian company wants to export, and he has gone to the forest to get the product, or he has processed the goods and he wants to transport his goods to the port to export, but he can’t do it. Because he cannot find a way to the port, he now drives the export product from Nigeria to neighbouring countries and export from there, and at the end the export does not count for Nigeria” he pointed out.
“Let’s make it seamless because it will benefit us as a country and it will benefit the Central Bank of Nigeria. People will earn Foreign Echange proceeds from their exports, sell it to their banks and from there you will get Foreign Exchange to use for your imports. You don’t even need to come to the CBN anymore. We are looking forward to the time when the banks and importers will no longer need CBN. You will just go to your bank and they will have a pool of FX proceeds to you” Emefiele said.
He noted that other issues that need to be addressed are the ports congestion (especially for exporters), and to encourage multi-agency collaboration to eliminate bottlenecks from the process. The Apex Bank boss assured that the CBN will continue to pay the N65 per dollar rebate as encapsulated in the RT200 FX program.
“We are also working on improving the ease of export process, the automation of the form NXP and the PIA portal are some of the improvements that the CBN has championed in making the export process seamless. The task of nation building is a collaborative one, and each individual and agency has a role to play”, he stated.
We can do better – Aliko Dangote
President & Chief Executive of Dangote Industries, Alhaji Aliko Dangote In his keynote address, “Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Non-Oil Export Business” noted that Nigeria’s non-oil export has been improving gradually over the years, but not at the pace it should, given the resources and potentials available.
“Our non-oil exports is high when compared to other African countries, and this exposes us heavily to the fluctuation in the oil price. As a country, what works for us is what we should do. Too many imports mean creation of poverty. The collection of customs duty was 2.2 trillion in 2021 which is 25 percent more than in 2020. When you see these numbers going up, it means we are actually not creating jobs. If customs is collecting more money, it means we are doing more imports than exports, because there is no duty on exports” Dangote explained.
He called on the government to consider providing tarrif and non-tariff incentives to protect infant industries and encourage local production. “We need to build on our competitive advantage (eg. access to cheaper natural resources and labor) to develop industries that are geared towards export. This will encourage import substitution and export-oriented industries”.
“If I was a banker, I would lend money only to export-based industries, or import substitution industries. I would not want to give you money where you set up a factory and 80-100 percent of your raw materials are imported. It does not make sense” the industrialist said.
He added that achieving the $200 billion export in Foreign Exchange earnings from non-oil proceeds will favorably impact the Naira. The success of the RT200 will also enhance FX flow, diversify the source of FX inflow, increase the level of contribution from non-oil export, ensure stability and sustainability of FX flows, and support export-oriented companies to expand their operations, he stated.
The event featured a welcome address by the Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, and a Goodwill Message from Jim Ovia, the Founder and Chairman, Zenith Bank Plc.
Other key personalities in attendance include; Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), His Excellency, Wamkele Mene; President/Chairman, African Export-Import Bank, Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah; Managing Director/CEO, Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan; Director, Development Finance of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Yusuf Philip Yila; Managing Director, West Africa Container Terminal, Naved Zafar; Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko; and the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Ibrahim Hameed Ali (Rtd).
The Managing Director, GACON Ltd, HRM Adaku Chidume Okoro; Managing Director, WACOT, Bibhu Nanda; Group Managing Director, Tulip Cocoa, Johan Van Der Merwe; Managing Director, First Patriot, Santosh Phenany; and Managing Director, Starlink Global & Ideal Ltd, Alhaji Adeyemi M. Adeniji were also in attendance.
Well-respected trade expert, Mr Olusegun Awolowo; Founder/CEO, Flutterwave, Agboola Olugbenga; Chairman/CEO, Colossus Investment, Mr Babatola Faseru; President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Segun Ajayi; and Senior Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Centre, Mr Bamidele Ayemibo were also around to do justice to the panel discussions.