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    How Nigeria can leverage on non-oil exports to grow economy — Osibanjo

    ByBassey Udo

    Apr 27, 2022

    By Bassey Udo

    The Federal government must focus on implementing policies that promote easy flow of export and other businesses across key sectors to attract growth in the economy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

    The Vice President spoke on Tuesday at the opening of the two-day National Conference on Non-Oil Export 2022 in Abuja.

    The government, he said, has a responsibility to urgently support the effort to provide the infrastructure necessary to boost the production, distribution and export of goods and services in the economy.

    To ensure success, Osinbajo said the government at all levels should emplace a deliberate collaborative framework that would allow seamless cooperation between private and public sector operators, government agencies, states, and regions.

    Speaking specifically in relation to the theme of the conference, ‘Export for Survival’, the VP called for urgent attention to be focussed on redressing the challenges the country is currently facing in its effort to diversify the economy.

    “The challenges facing our non-oil export economy should be viewed in the trajectory of the last eight years. In 2021, Nigeria’s non-oil revenue stood at N1.15 trillion, representing a growth of 4.73 percent in the fourth quarter, and a contribution of about 92.51 percent to the nation ‘s overall GDP,” he said.

    “In 2019, the year preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, non-oil revenue represented 92.68% of our total GDP (gross domestic product).

    “The growth following that intervening year indicates the growing resilience of our non-oil export economy and our decreasing susceptibility to shocks in the global oil market,” he said.

    He said various interventions by the government and its agencies have been complemented by improved automation of the system, including the National Single Window, aimed at realizing the objectives of the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization.

    Reduction of cargo clearance time, he noted, has also been facilitated through the installation of cargo scanners, supported by the Port Community Portal designed to foster inter-agency collaboration.

    Other interventions by the government to facilitate business activities, he said, also included the extension of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line to Apapa ports in Lagos, which would be coming on-stream alongside the ongoing construction of the Apapa-Ojota access way in Lagos, as well as the feeder roads around the ports.

    He said the commitment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to the establishment of the Infrastructure Corporation (InfraCorp) of Nigeria launched in 2021 with a seed capital of N1 trillion, highlights the urgent response by the government to bridge the infrastructural deficit of over $300 billion.

    The establishment of INFRACorp, he said, followed an N8.9 trillion investment on infrastructure in the last five years, covering rail, roads, power systems and broadband connectivity, all of which was sustained and accelerated the growth of the country’s economy, despite the interruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Ezra Yakusak, said the greater concern in the industry was the nation’s non-oil export performance in recent times, compared to the performance in terms of imports.

    Making reference to the Pre-shipment Inspection Agencies (PIA) report data, Yakusak said a significant growth was recorded in export proceeds in the last five years (2017-2021), with earnings from exports growing from about $1.2 billion to $3.4 billion as against an annual average of $22 billion food importation alone into the country over the period.

    To close the huge gap, the NEPC Chief said concerted efforts must be made by all operators in the non-oil export value chain to change the narrative.

    He said the conference was organised by the government as a deliberate effort to stimulate national consciousness to current realities in the non-oil export ecosystem.

    Besides, he said the conference was also a wakeup call on all stakeholders to ensure a massive investment and the need to leverage on the country’s vast potentials and opportunities in the non-oil sector as a sure way to sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

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