The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) has advised the Federal Government to boost Nigeria’s trade in the ECOWAS and African continent.
Mr Abba Bello, Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, gave the advice in Abuja on Wednesday, at the ongoing Nigeria @ 60 Exhibition of Made in Nigeria Products and Cultural Display.
The exhibition was organised by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nigeria @ 60, in collaboration with Business Visa and Trainings Co. Ltd.
According to Bello, Nigeria’s regional trade is low at less than 12 per cent and 15 per cent for ECOWAS and the African continent, respectively.
This is in spite of Nigeria’s ranking as the biggest economy in Africa with a GDP of about $477 billion and contributing over 60 per cent of ECOWAS GDP.
Bello, while speaking on “the Fundamentals of Branding and Financing Made in Nigeria Products for Export’’ highlighted key issues that must be addressed for the country to increase export and boost regional trade.
He said that Nigeria had the best chance to promote rapid industrialisation and boost manufactured exports in the regional market, where it had comparative advantage.
On developing Services Export, he noted that services contributed over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, yet the country did not have significant footprint in services export.
He said that this needed to be addressed, saying: “Currently, Nigeria’s Nollywood industry is ranked among the most prolific in the world.
“Empirical evidence also indicates that Nigeria can compete favourably in such areas as ICT and other professional services.’’
Bello said that Branding for Export was important to export, as it could affect product perception, which may create customer loyalty or lead to product rejection, as the case may be.
“It has been said that poor branding is one of the reasons why Nigerian products, particularly value-added products, have not performed optimally in the international market.
“An exporter should therefore see himself/herself as an ambassador, as his activities/products will not only impact his brand, but could impact the bigger brand, that is, the image of our country Nigeria.
“Product Packaging and Labeling as well as availability of well-equipped testing labs are quite critical to ensuing product quality, which impact on the exporter and Nigeria’s brand.
“Equally important is the activities of regulatory agencies like the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services,’’ he said.
According to Bello, the dearth of quality labs/ quality packaging provides investment opportunities for entrepreneurs, while helping to promote export.
He said that Nigeria’s export, currently dominated by raw/semi-processed, mainly agricultural commodities, usually attracts low export prices.
“There is a need to increasingly add value to our products to boost export revenues and create more jobs,’’ Bello said.
He said it was instructive to enhance credit flow to the non-oil export sector, especially with regard to supporting capital investments in productive assets.