Non-oil Export is the answer to Nigeria’s dwindling economy.
As Nigeria’s economy continues to face myriads of challenges causing constant instability and increasing hardship in the country, experts have recommended that prioritizing non-oil export is the answer. If gotten right, this singular action will redefine Nigeria’s economy.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Network of Practicing Non-oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN), Mrs. Titi Ojo made this recommendation in a virtual presentation during the March edition of the monthly, Talking Trade with Olufemi Boyede. The March session was themed “Export For Survival: and was equally echoed by other non-oil export professionals and practitioners.
“Economically, in Nigeria, things are in shambles. In a country where the oil sector accounts for up to 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and 80% of budgetary revenues. Export is the answer, not draconian regulatory policies showing up from nowhere,” Titi Ojo affirmed.
Referring to 2020 when a barrel of crude oil became cheaper than a bottle of soft drink in Nigeria while the world grappled with the ravaging COVID19 pandemic. “No one was interested in buying crude oil. That offered a clear opportunity for a possible turning point in Nigeria’s economy. In the last quarter of 2018, non-oil export was as low as 3.4%, an extreme contrast to the 1960s when Nigeria’s non-oil export accounted for more than 66% of Nigeria’s total export. It was disturbing to read the IMF report which reported that while countries like Tanzania and Cameroon had added 95 new exportable products between 1990-2022; Nigeria had only added 7 new products during these 30-year period.”
Mrs. Ojo acknowledged that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), under the leadership of Dr Ezra Yakusak is making deliberate efforts to get more Nigerians to embrace the export of made in Nigeria products to boost the country’s economy and attract FDIs. According to her, NEPC is working assiduously to create an enabling environment for exporters and working on the enactment of enabling laws to drive export.
Highlighting other dilemmas that non-oil exporters face, Mrs Titi Ojo listed the following:
Delayed port times. In Nigeria, it can take 45 days to clear your container, compared to 5-10 days in neighbouring African countries Lack of flexible financing for exporters. Lack of synergy between exports supporting MDAs of governmentsLack of an enabling environment, policies and regulations.
Making recommendations, Titi Ojo suggested a few options that should be part of Nigeria’s strategy to advance the country’s success in the non-oil exports sector:
Invest in the procurement of data to be used for evidence-based advocacy. A good analysis of the data available will help show the situation’s criticalness. Extend consultation with the necessary government agencies and bodies. Give feedback on the performances of ongoing reforms by using the reporting tools at reportgov.ng and other such websites.
In conclusion, Titi Ojo said, “Export for Survival is not just a cliché, and it should be given the attention it deserves urgently.” She called on MDAs of the government to synergise effectively to achieve the agenda of Nigeria’s export survival and make sure there is a “solid handshake” between governments and the private sector.