Stakeholders in the nation’s trade and finance industry have said that product packaging, documentation, certification as well as building supporting infrastructure are key factors that will enhance the exports in the country.
They also admitted that export-led economies generally enjoy relative stability and sustainable growth.
Speaking at the First Bank Non-oil Export webinar series 2021 with the theme: “Building Sustainable Non-oil Export In Nigeria: Harnessing Opportunity within the AfCFTA Treaty and Agro Commodities”, Founder and Chief Consultant of B. Adedipe Associates Limited, Dr Biodun Adedipe said global economy projected to grow this year and next year.
He said anytime global economy is growing, international market will be on the growth direction.
He said though Nigeria’s economy is growing but the expectation is that the economy will grow faster than the population.
He stated that the major challenge in the country today was because “we are import-dependent economy.”
Adedipe said ” The implications is that any time you import from another country, you are creating jobs for the country, stressing that once Nigeria starts exporting, we will be creating jobs locally.
Adedipe maintains that the Nigerian economy grew by 0.51 per cent, 5.01 per cent and 4.03 per cent respectively between first quarter and third quarter of 2021.
He stated that liquid external reserves stood at $41.59 billion as of November 29, 2021 with monthly import bill of $5.61 billion resulting to 7.42 months cover.
He however, pointed out that oil accounted for 88.75 per cent of foreign trade in first half of 2021 but has only 7.4 per cent of the GDP in third quarter of 2021.
He explained that disconnect of sort is having weak linkage to the rest of the economy, adding that non oil sectors like agriculture, Trade and ICT which contribute 29.94 per cent, 14.93 per cent and 14.2 per cent remained dominant.
Deputy Director Policy department, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Akintinde Folorunsho who represented the Executive Director of the Council, Dr Ezra Yakusak said that Nigeria has a lot of potential in horticulture sector in tomato value chain.
He said as Nigeria imports at least 400,000 tonnes of tomato paste annually, there is a large opportunity for the manufacturer that can get it right both in Nigeria and Africa market.
He said ” there is massive agricultural production of tomatoes in Kano and Benue during peak season but they get wasted due to post harvest loses.
Describing packaging as an essential to value chain addition, he said packaging has different angle based on the application.
He said packaging is for aesthetic appearance and will also make good conveyance for easy handling and protection.
Folorunsho said that the AfCFTA represents a major opportunity for Nigerian exporters in part due to the lower standards requirements on the continent.
He stated that adoption of good agriculture practice s, good warehouses, storage practice and appropriate logistics mode and practice shall be achieved by assessment and profiling of operation along the value chain and existing critical infrastructure that support SPS issue, audit of exporters and input supplier to determine their business readiness.
Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Adesola Adeduntan, in his remarks said that one of the strategies of the bank is to promote export in the country.
He said though the bank run it’s business but it also focused on how to use it’s available resources to assist the government.
He said due to scarcity of foreign exchange , pushing for export is the only way the country will diversify the economy by increasing the forex inflow.