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Non-oil exporters advocate value-addition, revamped processes to check losses

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Executive Director, Finance and Risk Management, Bank of Agriculture, Prince Niyi Akenzua (left); President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Babatunde Paul Ruwase and Director Research, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture NACCIMA, Rebecca Ajibade at the Media launch ahead of the 2018 Farmers Conference theme: the Future of Agribusiness in Lagos.PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

To reduce losses suffered from long haulage and shipping cycles as a result of prolonged rehabilitation of access routes leading to the ports, non-oil exporters are urging members to embrace value-addition, and re-jig their export processes as well as value-chain operations.

The exporters noted that many shipping companies prefer to lift petroleum products rather than agricultural produce because of the challenges attached to getting commodities out of the country.Indeed, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the huge potential in the non-oil export sector will remain at the level of potential if the myriads of challenges confronting export businesses in Nigeria are not resolved.

According to the Chamber, the challenges revolve around products, pricing, purchasers, paperwork, payment, promotion and policies.The Chamber’s Chairman, Export Group, Bamidele Ayemibo, while speaking at a forum in Lagos, yesterday, said the hydra-headed challenges can be addressed through collaboration between the private sector and government in the areas of policy initiation and implementation.

He sought the need for a presidential export council that reports directly to the President, and works with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), to fund and drive a well-articulated promotional strategy, and export trade education.

“A tax free regime should be given to companies that add value to their products and export them. A regular training should be organised for intending exporters that produce finished goods that are viable in order to build their capacity, connect them with sources of funding and potential buyers in the export market,” he added.Guest Speaker and Chief Executive Officer, Friday Consult Limited, Fred Uwheraka, noted that the only solution to storage is harnessing produce from the farmer’s gate by adding value.

“Our selection process is a major issue. As an exporter, you have to know the requirements of a specific product for each country you are exporting to. Your selection process must be very good; you must know if the products are exportable, and you must also be consistent.“Another problem exporters are having is the issue of freight forwarding. You must use a reliable forwarding agent and the selection process should be yours. Delays in forwarding can bring about some level of doubt on the part of the receiver at the other end,” he added.

He said the reason why Nigerian products are not selling well at the international market is due to lack of continuous supply.He also advised exporters to carry out economies of scale for each export they make to have pre-knowledge of returns.LCCI President, Babatunde Ruwase, urged government to provide an enabling environment for stakeholders in the non-oil sector for value adding activities.

He noted that although the second quarter GDP improved, some key consumer facing sectors still exhibit weakness and vulnerability.“The slow growth reflects weak purchasing power of the consumers, infrastructural deficit, access and high cost of credit as well as the lagged impact of security conditions in the North.

“The country is endowed with abundant raw materials in the non-oil sector, which can be leveraged to increase our exports and improve our trade balance. I implore the government to create the enabling environment for the private sector to add value to primary products before exporting them.

“We must discourage the practice where we simply export primary products without adding any value. Some steps taken recently by the government on improving the fortunes of non-oil export are commendable. However, more still needed to be done,” he added.


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