By Bassey Udo
The Nigerian Export-lmport Bank (NEXIM) has successfully undergone a complete turnaround in its fortunes under the leadership of Abba Bello as Managing Director/Chief Executive, as the Board gave him a vote of confidence with his reappointment for another term of five years.
to the inauguration of the Executive Management of the responsible for the day-to-day operation and management of the Bank as well as critical members of the Board of the Bank.
Bello, along with two other Executive Directors whose appointments have been renewed for another term, would serve the second and final term five years, which commenced on April 21, 2022.
The two directors whose reappointments were approved by the Board of NEXIM along with the Managing Director include the Executive Director, Corporate Services, Bala Bello and the Executive Director, Business Development, Stella Okotete. by President Muhammadu Buhari has also confirmed their reappointments.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who confirmed this at the inauguration of the Executive Management of NEXIM Bank on Friday in Abuja said the reappointment of the top officials was a testimony to their high level of professionalism and commitment managing the affairs of the Bank in the last five years.
She said prior to the MD’s appointment, the NEXIM Bank was confronted with a myriad of challenges, including high volume of non-performing loans, inadequate capitalisation, paucity of operational funds and loss of focus on core mandate, which limited its performance.
“It is therefore heartwarming to note that under your (Bello’s) stewardship, the Bank has witnessed a complete turnaround in all areas of its operational and financial indices, and is now on the path of growth,” the Minister said.
For instance, she said the Bank now has a healthy balance sheet, which has grown from about N63 billion in April 2017 to the current level of over N250 billion.
“It has also recovered from a loss position of N8 billion in 2016, to sustained profitability, reaching N4.1 billion in 2021, while over N12 billion has been recovered in non-performing loans,” she added.
Specifically, she commended the Bello-led management of the Bank for its efforts towards realising the policy objectives of the government in the areas of economic diversification and jobs creation for the citizens.
NEXIM Bank, the Minister said attracted concessional funds into the export sector through strategic partnership as exemplified by its initiative to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria to manage the N500 billion non-oil Export Stimulation Facility, and the N50 billion Export Development Fund, which has now been enhanced to N150 billion as a result of the excellent performance of the Fund.
The other initiatives include the collaboration with the Afreximbank in managing the $1 bilion Nigerian African Trade and Investment Promotion Programme and the $25 million Pandemic Trade Mitigation Facility; collaboration with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to manage the $500 million Fund for Capacity Building, and the intervention for Women in Oil and Gas services sector as well as the development of factoring as a financial inclusion and trade promotion strategy for the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
Other programmes include the development of the Sea link initiatives towards improving transport logistics and shipping services to deepen trade within the regional market and launching of special products aimed at increasing access to funds by our SMEs as well as women and teeming youths.
“#These laudable initiatives and programmes implemented by the Bank under this management are commendable and should be sustained,” the Minister said.
To reciprocate the confidence reposed in them by the President on their re-appointments, the Minister noted, was to re-double its efforts to consolidate on the earlier performance and take NEXIM to even greater heights.
In the past years, the Minister said the only way the Executive Management can reciprocate
6.0 Developments, such as BREXIT and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), create opportunities that Nigerian exporters should leverage on.
She said NEXIM should be in the vanguard of initiating and driving Key initiatives to unlock the opportunities they present, adding that government’s expectation and hope in the next five years was to see a NEXIM Bank that will take Nigeria to the world in a similar manner with institutions like EXIM China and BNDES of Brazil.
In the next 5years, the Minister said the government 3would like to see a quantum leap in the contribution of the non-oil sector to export revenue to at least 30 percent.
This belief, she said, was possible and the government would be willing and ready the desired support to achieve this target.
“The threat of a mono product economy is real, and the recent episode of the COVID-19 Pandemic has further is underscored the need for Nigeria to widen its export basket and deepen its export market.