‘Economic challenge presents growth opportunities’

Olusegun Awolowo

Olusegun Awolowo

Poor quality still affecting non-oil export profile

From the lingering crude oil price volatility to its negative effects on Nigeria’s mono-economy, financial experts have described the situation as growth opportunity to entrepreneurs and the country.

The situation, which now provides the opportunity for discerning entrepreneurs to invest into activities solely left for importation, when taken, would contribute to the economy’s strength and rebound.

The Director, Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan in a paper titled: “Real Sector Financing For Inclusive Growth and Economic Development” reiterated that CBN’s real sector intervention was the aftermath of falling crude oil prices.

The intervention thus became a means of strengthening the capacity of the financial sector to deliver credit to the real sector.Olaitan, who was presented by a Deputy Director, Umar Abubarka Musa, at the 22nd Finance Correspondents and Business Editors Conference, in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, given the country’s vulnerability to such external shocks caused by the slump in commodity market, it has become urgent to diversify.

According to him, the country now needs to leverage on the present challenges to diversify from oil to agriculture, manufacturing, services and other non-oil sectors.He said that the various development finance inventions by CBN were aimed at increasing access to finance, economic diversification, job creation and inclusive growth and at single digit interest rate.

While noting that the intervention funds were still available, he called on entrepreneurs to take advantage of them and support the economy and government’s efforts.Meanwhile, the country’s inability to improve on the quality and standard of its export items, particularly the primary products, has remained the bane of its expected foreign exchange earnings and volume of non-oil exports.

The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, who decried the development, said the country’s products have remained at non-processed levels.Awolowo, who was represented by one of his directors, George Enyiekpon, said the country’s non-oil export products remaining unprocessed has had limitations on the standards, quality and accruals from the sector.

In his paper titled: “Towards Efficient Institutional Arrangements for Non-oil Export Finance in Nigeria,” Awolowo maintained that the non-oil sector holds enormous foreign exchange potentials, but left fully unexploited.The implications, he said, was a 40 per cent decline, particularly due to limited local content value addition.

He noted that the challenges were associated with poor infrastructure, power, standards, finance, skills and capacity.“With the fall in crude oil price by about 50 per cent, the NEPC believes now is the time for Nigeria to intensify efforts at diversifying the economy and maximise the potentials inherent in non-oil sector,” he said.

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