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‘Government not committed to boosting exports, economic diversification’

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Efforts by the Federal Government to boost the export of non-oil commodities as part of measures to fight economic slump and diversify revenue sources may remain elusive for lack of commitment to address key sector challenges.

Stakeholders in the export sector, who gathered at the yearly Success Edge International Limited’s ‘Money for Business’ conference in Lagos, listed, challenges to include inadequate policy, inconsistency, poor infrastructure and inability to properly engage Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) as bane to the development of the sector.

Nigeria continued to operate a mono-economy with about 75 per cent of government revenue coming from exportation of crude oil. Given that earnings from oil continue to decline, government was forced to seek measures to diversify by tapping into other sectors, such as agriculture, agro-processes, agribusiness, industry and manufacturing, the petrochemicals, downstream and among others.

But efforts must be backed by commitment to tackle challenges and upgrade the sector to global standard otherwise the talks would lead the country no where, experts argued.

“To be very candid government is not committed to exportation. Government is not serious because they have a cheap way of making money from oil and they are still dancing around that. If government is serious, there are a lot of policies and guidelines that need to change. There are a lot of policy somersault because government is not consistent,” Managing Director of the organisation, Godwin Oyefeso said.

Stressing that Nigeria’s economy may not achieve the desired growth if it remained import depended, Oyefeso urged Nigerians willing to export to concentrate on value addition.

Regional Investment Operations Manager at GroFin (West Africa), Femi Salami, noted that most of the people, who are into exportation in the country lack basic fundamentals that could make their businesses sustainable.

He disclosed that about 72 per cent of businesses seeking financial assistance from the company lacks formal accounting system while about 57 have no business plan.

To him, players must find businesses with sustainable returns and social impact to make a difference.

The Managing Director, Nesbey Nigeria Limited, Alaba Olusemore said Nigeria continued to witness trade inbalances even with neighbouring countries because of inherent challenges.

He said the current administration must learn the efforts to promote the agriculture sector, which government eyes to diversify its earnings did not yield meaningful result because the SMEs was not recognised as key player.


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