‘Nigeria’s economy remains extremely vulnerable to external shocks’
The Nigerian Exports Promotion Council (NEPC), has raised an alarm that despite Federal Government’s efforts to improve the non-oil sector, Nigeria is still largely dependent on the oil sector for its external revenue, and still exposed to “extreme vulnerabilities of external shocks”.NEPC said the vulnerability is visibly evident in the oil sector, which presently contributes about 91.9 per cent to Nigeria’s total export earnings, and 76.5 per cent of total government revenue, a predicament capable of impeding economic growth and worsening inflation rate.
The Acting Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Abdullahi Sidi-Alliyu, made the assertion at a stakeholder’s forum organised by the Council to validate the newly introduced guidelines, tagged, “New Basket of Incentives Scheme (NBIS)” in Kano.He posited that neglect and non-development of critical sectors, especially the non-oil export sector, has invariably turned oil resources to a “resource curse” of sort.
Abdullahi reminded that as part of measures to remedy the ugly trend, in line with its mandates, NEPC has initiated many policies and framework aimed at facilitating promotion of export to sustain economic growths.
Represented by director Export Development and Incentives in the Council, George Enyiekpon, he noted that the convergence of stakeholders across various non-oil exports sector in Kano was intended to review and validate the draft guidelines on NBIS targeted at encouraging exporters to sustain and grow businesses.
Abdullahi revealed that if the draft scaled through, would require validation, and among others, replace outdated policy frameworks, including the Export Development, Export Adjustment Scheme Fund (EASF), Manufacturer Exporters In Bond Scheme, and the newly introduced Export Development Fund on Service Export from Nigeria.
“ You may recall that Export (Incentives and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Cap. 118L.F.N. 1990 Act Cap. E19 L.F.N.2004 established various forms of incentives and funds such as retention of export proceeds in foreign currency, export development fund, export adjustment scheme fund and export expansion grant scheme out of which only the export expansion grant is operational.
“It is therefore obvious that the EEG alone is not enough to cater for all the challenges facing the non-oil sector in Nigeria, hence the need for other incentives, especially pre-shipment incentives specifically designed to boost the growth of SME’s which is the bedrock of economic development and diversification.
“In line with the overall economic agenda of the Federal Government to intensively grow revenue from non-oil, the council has taken this initiative to provide targeted incentives to companies engaged in non-oil export business. This is expected to stimulate interest and improve Nigeria’s non-oil export performance. It is in view of the foregoing, that the decision to explore the possibility of establishing a New Basket of Incentives Scheme (NBIS) came into being,” Abdullahi explained.
Stakeholders were drawn from the manufacturing industry, Chambers of Commerce, and other local and foreign business partners, who unanimously welcomed the new initiative. They however expressed that the New Basket of Incentives would not be overwhelmed with government cumbersome documentation and what they also considered ‘Nigerian factor’ which might mar the overall intention of the policy frame work.