Dayo Johnson Akure
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has launched a N 36 billion Export Development Fund to be disbursed to targeted export-oriented projects in the Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector across the country.
Its Managing Director/ Chief Executive, Mr Abba Bello said this in Akure at the exporter enlightenment forum for the South West region held in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
Bello pointed out that a minimum of N1billion for every state of the Federation to be disbursed to targeted export-oriented projects in the SME sector,
Bello said that " As the nation's Export Development Bank, the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), is in the vanguard of promoting economic diversification, towards increased jobs creation and foreign exchange earnings for the country.
" In this regard, and in line with the Zero Oil Plan of the federal government, which seeks to develop at least one exportable commodity in every state of the federation, we have launched the State Export Development Fund.
"Under this programme, we have earmarked a minimum of N1billion for every state of the federation to be disbursed to targeted export-oriented projects in the SME sector, towards crowding in investment and promoting regional industrialization and economic development.
"This fund is also expected to support the various states to benefit from the opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to which Nigeria is a signatory.
" As you may all be aware, the AfCFTA, which commenced in January 2021 comes with enormous benefits, including a borderless market of about a 1.2billion people, with a combined GDP of about $3.4trillion.
" It, therefore, offers our SMEs, particularly those engaged in cross-border trade, the opportunity to increase their sales under a more liberal market condition.
"This scheme also seeks to corporatize and onboard our informal exporters into the formal sector, and through this capture the huge volume of informal trade which has been estimated at about four times the value of recorded trade.
"While our intervention under the State Export Development Programme is targeted mainly at export-oriented projects promoted by the private sector, the State governments have a major role to play towards creating an enabling environment for the effective utilization of the fund, particularly in such areas as land allocation, issuance of permits and other necessary support.
"We have already commenced discussions with some state governments on this scheme and we hope to continue the engagements with all the state governments present here at this forum.
"Aside from the State Export Development Programme, NEXIM also offers other intervention schemes, which include the Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF), which was recently launched as a financial inclusion strategy for the vulnerable groups.
" We also have the N500bn Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility, which is targeted at the medium and large-scale exporters.
Bello lamented that " it is rather a paradox that despite our huge human and natural resource endowments, Nigeria remains a mono-product economy, with the crude oil sector contributing about 70% of government revenue and about 90% of export earnings.
"Nigeria has over 44 solid minerals in commercial quantities, found all over the country, largely unexploited.
"The point of emphasis is that our country is so blessed, and our economy need not be tied to the vagaries of one commodity, which contributes less than 10% of our Gross Domestic Product.
The Executive Director, NEXIM Business Development, Mrs Stella Okotete said the bank came to Ondo State because of the export potentials available in the state.
She said the bank was ready to partner with the southwest governments to develop the export capacities in the region.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said that Governors in the Southwest are steadily working together in the Agriculture sector through the formation of the Southwest Agric Company (SWAgCo).
According to the Governor, SWAgCo is a registered company under the Oodua conglomerate which was created for effective exploration of agricultural resources in the region.
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