By Lucy Ogalue
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has urged banks and other financial institutions to support and drive Nigeria’s non-oil sector.
The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NEPC, Nonye Ayeni, made the call on Thursday in Abuja during the presentation of the non-oil export performance for the year 2023.
While acknowledging the banking sector’s role in the economy’s growth, Ayeni urged their continued support of the non-oil sector for national development.
“There is no economy that can do away with the banking sector, and if you want any sector to grow, there has to be support from the financial sector.
“But most of the time, if those financial institutions cannot see that they (exporters) have been de-risked, they may be unable to help even when the money is available.
“So we are planning to help our exporters de-risk their businesses. Once we de-risk it across the value chain, we should get those banks and the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) to support them.
“The funds are within the country, but the businesses have to be de-risked,” she said.
According to Ayeni, the Council is also planning to train exporters to understand financing.
She said: “we will have training programmes and capacity building to help them manage their books, understand how to structure their export businesses and attract funding at an affordable price.
“Again, we will engage the banks to let them also see the potential in export businesses.
“And how everyone along the whole value chain, including the banks and exporters, will benefit if the funding goes to the exporting community.”
According to the NEPC boss, 32 banks participated in establishing Nigeria Export Proceed (NXP) forms for export in 2023, with 21,390 NXP forms processed.
“Zenith Bank PLC processed the highest NXP at 39.03 per cent, while United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc and First Bank of Nigeria recorded 10.55 per cent and 9.88 per cent, respectively.
“Other banks also contributed significantly to export volumes in Nigeria.
“However, I wish to use this medium to implore financial institutions to take advantage of the opportunities in the non-oil export sector.
“By supporting exporters to enhance their capacity to scale up production and access international markets, especially now that we have the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is the single largest economic bloc.
According to her, this support is critical in increasing the basket of exportable products, stimulating value-addition and increasing our foreign exchange earnings.
Ayeni said adding value to our exportable products was very important as they attracted premium pricing in the global market.
“There is no doubt that exporting companies can scale up their production and harness the opportunities in that space to increase the volume of exports if they have access to affordable finance,” she added.
According to Ayeni, the NEPC has a new mantra to drive its core objective and the mandate, which is termed “Operation Double Your Export”.
She said: “Under this mantra, we have developed some initiatives and programmes to complement the existing ones.
“They are all geared towards significantly increasing our non-oil exports, improving our foreign exchange earnings, and fostering economic growth and diversification.
“This also aligns with the Industrial Revitalisation Plan of the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, and the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.” (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Christiana Fadare