The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Abubakar Bello said Nigeria has lost about $10 billion (about N3.6 trillion) over the past five decades in non-oil export opportunities in crops such as cocoa, oil palm, cotton and groundnut.
Bello, stated this in Lagos while delivering a keynote address at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) annual conference.
He spoke on the conference’s theme: “Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector”, and said Nigeria’s non-oil export only accounts for just 13.17 per cent of Nigeria’s exports by value, from up to 97 per cent at independence.
Bello who was represented by Head of Research, NEXIM, Mr. Tayo Omidiji, said, “In the immediate post-independence period, non-oil exports, which were mainly agricultural commodities and solid minerals, made up 97 per cent of Nigeria’s exports. Crops like cocoa, cotton, palm oil, palm kernel, groundnut and rubber were major export commodities.
“However, between 1970 and 1974, non-oil exports dropped from 43 per cent to 7 per cent due to rapid increase in the international oil price and Nigeria’s production.
“The ensuing Dutch Disease led to movement of resources out of the non-oil sector, contributing to its neglect and lack of investments in the erstwhile export sectors, particularly value-added export.”
Speaking further, Bello noted that Nigeria’s non-oil sector has been characterised by “systemic decline in the contribution of total exports to GDP, dropping from 31.44 per cent in 2012 to 18.44 per cent and 10.63 per cent in 2014 and 2015, respectively before rising to 13.17 cent in 2017.
“The figures from 2014 to 2017 have been below global average of exports to GDP of about 30 per cent, according to World Bank data”.