Bank chief, others urge promotion of non-oil exports
The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has called for a concerted effort towards diversifying the country’s export base through the promotion of non-oil exports.
He made the call during a webinar themed “Prospects of Non-Oil Export During and Post-COVID-19” organised by the bank yesterday.
According to him, the onset of the pandemic, which has impacted the demand for oil and, by extension, the price of crude oil in the international market, has further exposed Nigeria’s over-dependency on crude oil earnings and its susceptibility to oil-related shocks.
Onyeagwu said the events of the last couple of months had also highlighted the limited range of the country’s value-added products exported to foreign markets.
He maintained that boosting non-oil export is imperative in view of the opportunities that exist in the broader contexts of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which seek to create a continent-wide market of 1.2 billion people with combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion and about $4 trillion in consumer and business spending.
Whilst commending the efforts of the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deepen the non-oil export business in the country, Onyeagwu urged players in the value-chain, including exporters and financial institutions, to play their part in the drive towards expanding the nation’s non-oil export base.
In his keynote address, the CBN Director of Trade and Exchange, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, who commended the bank for organising the webinar, stated that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for the country, as it has exposed the over-dependence of the economy on one product.
She called for a policy that would boost both the quality and quantity of the non-oil export goods.
The Chief Executive/Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, commended the efforts of Zenith Bank in promoting non-oil export business in Nigeria, describing it as “the Export Trade Bank of Nigeria”.
Speaking on the topic “Repositioning Non-oil export as a Leading Revenue Earner: Government Plans and Programmes”, Awolowo said the crash in oil prices following the COVID-19 pandemic and OPEC’s price war with Russia was a pointer that the nation’s mono-product economy is not sustainable.
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