Non-oil Exports And Nexim Alliances
THE Nigerian Export-Import Bank has over the years championed the development of non-oil sectors of the nation’s economy. These efforts have resulted in the diversification of Nigeria’s economy. Nexim Bank’s initiatives under Mr Roberts Orya as the MD|CEO have led to the development of non-oil sectors such as agriculture, entertainment, solid minerals and export promotion to mention a few.
It is against this backdrop that recent alliances which the bank plans to enter into with some countries and trade bodies aimed at promoting non-oil sectors of the nation’s economy is quite commendable and need to be vigorously pursued because of the multiplier effects therein.
One of such is the recent partnership plan between the bank and Greece. It would be recalled that the Greek ambassador to Nigeria, Mr AlekosIkonomopoulos, recently during a visit to the headquarters of the bank in Abuja indicated interests to partner with Nexim Bank in his country’s quest to develop non-oil exports with Nigeria. Such collaborations should be encouraged because they will provide export opportunities for Nigerian goods, which will in turn positively improve upon the gross domestic products of the country.
During the discussion with the management of the bank, the ambassador had affirmed that his country would seek ways to collaborate with Nigeria in ensuring the success of the partnership. In his words, “We shall create the enabling environment for Greek investors to collaborate with Nigeria in the areas of technology, maritime and agriculture.”
Nexim Bank’s MD Mr Roberts Orya had thanked Mr AlekosIkonomopoulos for the initiative, and added that the prospect of the synergy was bright because of the Sealink Project which would provide a good platform for the non-oil sector exportation. According to him, the Sealink is a private sector-driven project, and that NEXIM Bank is only facilitating its establishment in line with its mandate, as the Trade Policy Bank of Nigeria, to promote and deepen non-oil export trade. He said the Sealink Project would promote intra and inter-African trade, thereby fostering regional integration, economic growth and development in the West and Central African sub-regions.
In a similar vein, Nexim Bank has also concluded plans to collaborate with the World Trade Organisation, WTO. Mr Orya stated this when the deputy director general of the WTO, Mr Yonov Fred Agah, paid him a visit in Abuja. He said such collaboration would remove bottlenecks usually associated with international trade.
Just like the Greek deal, that of the WTO would be enhanced by various platforms already initiated by the bank. Some of them are the ECOWAS Trade Support Facility (ETSF), Interstate Road Transport Scheme (ISRT), and the Nigerian Creative and Entertainment facility.
The determination of the bank to collaborate with the WTO will no doubt deepen Nigeria’s relationship with relevant government agencies which will in turn determine the mechanism to drive Nigeria’s export market. Mr Agah had during their discussion revealed that trade finance was the core area of encouraging regional integration and a key factor in eradicating poverty.
He said, “The WTO provides the framework for negotiating trade agreements and dispute resolution processes to enforce participants’ adherence to WTO terms. Trade finance is the core area of encouraging regional integration and a key factor in eradicating poverty. The WTO aims to create awareness and proffer solutions to peculiar experiences in different countries with regards to trade.”
He believes that although empirical trade policy analysis was lacking, the WTO
was working on developing a global value chain for better trade regimes, and promised to work with the Nexim Bank to achieve its goals.
Following the fall in the oil prices globally, and the quest by Nigeria to diversify her economy by developing other sectors, such alliances are coming at the right time. The world, it is said, is a global village and the only way for Nigeria to holistically develop is by collaboration with relevant bodies that will promote her export opportunities.
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an Export Credit Agency with the broad mandate to promoting the diversification of the Nigerian economy and deepening the external sector, particularly the non-oil through the provision of credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies; risk-bearing facilities through export credit guarantee and export credit insurance; business development and financial advisory services.
In pursuit of its mandate of promoting export diversification and deepening the non-oil sectors, the bank’s current strategic initiatives are targeted towards boosting employment creation and foreign exchange earnings in the manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals and services (tourism, transportation and entertainment) industries.
• Uche Nwoko is a banker based in Abuja.