In a bid to shore up the country’s foreign earnings from non-oil exports, Fidelity Bank in collaboration with Edo State Investment Promotion Office and Germany Institute for International Development (GIZ) organised an Export Roundtable sensitisation seminar for would-be exporters in Edo State.
The objective of the seminar is to promote the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) RT 200 FX Policy designed to earn 200 billion dollars from non-oil export products from the country in the next five years. Speaking at the event in Benin City, Fidelity Bank Regional Manager for Edo and Delta States, Mr Ovie Mukoro, said the seminar is to promote non-oil export, explaining that because of the country’s reliance on oil “Our unemployment is quite high. “The sensitisation workshop is on the recent CBN policy, and that export policy is the RT200 programme which is to promote non-oil export. Nigeria depends largely on oil imports to finance our efex needs but with this programme and the supporting policy structure, it will encourage non-oil export. “You will see things like cash crops like we used to do in the 60s and 70s then we have also included some refined output from some of our agricultural products like cashew nuts, pineapple and other food crops. We refine and process them and send them abroad to earn dollars.
Then we also have solid minerals involved. Agriculture is a major driver of GDP and this will open room for massive employment”, Mukoro added. In his speech, Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, represented by Commissioner for Finance, Mr Joseph Eboigbe, said the state desires to use export to create jobs as well as diverse remittances of foreign exchange. Besides its preparedness to create State Export Investment Office, the governor stressed the determination of his administration to remove impediments against export, adding that it will gather data from the participants to enhance government intervention to ensure the right impact is achieved. In his presentation, Mr Isaiah Ndukwe of Fidelity Bank Export and Agriculture Division, urged Edo State to build on the Ease of doing business and fix existing infrastructure gaps, even as he called for value addition in agricultural products to create more jobs and revenues instead of exhorting raw materials. “Value addition is one of the ways to attain 200 billion dollars remittance”, Ndukwe said, adding that the country’s problem is not that it imports massively but that it does not export enough.
Giving his impression of the workshop, one of the participants Augustine Urutaire, said “I appreciate the programme and I want to thank the sponsors. It is a mind-blowing programme because over the years, the focus has been on oil and it is not helping us. If what we discussed today is put on the table and everybody plays their part, it will also go a long way to solve the unemployment problem in the country because our products can be sold with added value. Similarly, Mrs Aghogho Odogun Company Secretary Ehidon Group, said: “We are into construction and manufacturing. One of the issues we are experiencing as manufacturers is sourcing efex but the programme promised to give the solution of sourcing efex through the introduction of exports, so we decided to come and hear them out and it is great “We have been urged to divest into export so basically a lot of people import their goods so if we look into export, we get efex because we will get paid in foreign currency which you can use to import what you need in the local industry,” she added.