NPNEN has as one of its principal objectives engagement with public sector regulatory agencies and export trade support institutions to craft strategies, programmes and activities that will lead to an increase in Nigeria’s participation in global trade with the direct impact being an enhancement of foreign exchange earnings from the non-oil export sector. Believing strongly in an export-driven economy.
In pursuit of the above goals, NPNEN organised its first Non-oil Exporters Town Hall meeting on the 5th of February 2021. This meeting served as an avenue for policy makers to meet and connect with exporters, to periscope and find solutions to the key issues impacting the sector.
Report from the Non-oil Exporters Town Hall meeting
Meeting format: Hybrid (Physical + Virtual)
The Non-oil Exporters Town Hall Meeting, themed, “Exporting from Nigeria; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” held by the Network of Practicing Non-oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN) on Friday, 5th February, 2020. Meeting commenced a few minutes past 10.00AM.
It brought together the major stakeholders in the Non-oil Export sector and regulatory bodies alike, totaling about 130 participants. In his opening remark, Alhaji Ahmad Rabiu, the NPNEN President identified that the purpose of the meeting was to bring about a better collaboration amongst non-oil exporters in Nigeria and present them under one umbrella. He also pointed out that it was time to address non-oil export issues and suggest working ideas towards boosting the sector.
The major presentation for the day was taken by Mr. Bamidele Ayemibo, the Lead Consultant at 3T Impex Trade Academy, who spoke on the good and bad sides of exporting from Nigeria, and Mr. Olufemi Boyede, CEO, Koinonia Global Inc., who spoke on the ugly aspect and opened up the discourse for practical solutions.
Speaking on the ‘good’, Mr. Bamidele Ayemibo listed a range of products with great export potential for Nigeria under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and how much of a multi-billion dollar potential they hold. He mentioned how products like leather footwear, plastic, toilet paper, amongst others, hold great export potential. Bovine (cow meat), for example, has a 559 million dollar potential market and glass bottles, an untapped 450 million dollar market.
He went on to say that Nigeria is a top producer of major agricultural products worldwide and great opportunities abound in these markets if they can be adequately tapped into. Nigeria, for example, is the world’s largest producer of Cassava and Palm oil but sadly, Thailand and Indonesia are the world’s largest exporters respectively.
On the ‘bad’, he sadly noted that many factors ranging from low and inadequate information, pricing, logistics, promotion, economy and access to finance and insurance, amongst others, are crippling exports in Nigeria.
“…These are facts, risks and dangers we must address, otherwise, we will remain left behind as a nation”, Mr. Olufemi Boyede said as he talked on the ‘ugly’. He highlighted how cumbersome export procedures and documentations are and how the high rates involved in the export process are stagnating the sector.
A panel session came up after and panelists were asked questions that revolved around birthing solutions to the existing problems affecting the non-oil export sector in Nigeria.
Asked on what the future of Nigeria exports holds as regarding the AfCFTA, another participant, Mrs. Rita Owaseh emphasized that Nigeria has what it takes to being the envy of the world but her unaddressed challenges have made that hard to achieve. She called for better road networks for ease in transfer of products and stronger synergy amongst regulatory organizations.
Making further contribution to the AfCFTA and how it could help Nigeria address her export challenges on time, Mr. Ede Dafinone, the Chairman of MAN Export Group, opined that Nigeria has the resources and capacity to make this happen. In his words, “…in terms of preparation, yes, we are slow…but I still see us being able to champion trade in Africa from Nigeria”
Representing the Financial Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Adeleke Ademuyiwa mentioned a number of ways the CBN is greatly supporting bringing up newer policies to boost the non-oil export sector. He called for more brainstorming and active participation by stakeholders on how these policies can be effectively applied for optimal results.
The panel session was followed by questions and comments from participants and a majority revolved around the call for regulatory agencies to do more in easing the burden of exports in Nigeria.
In defense, Mrs. Chudi-Anaukwu Chioma, representing the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), spoke on how regulatory bodies are out to ease the export process but exporters should get more sensitized on the procedures so as to avoid unnecessary delays. She made it clear that the SON has offices in all 36 states and exporters are free to walk in to get the information they need.
As a response, Mrs. Kadiri Haleemat, representing the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), strongly noted that exporters won’t have any issues with the NAFDAC as long as their products meet all the required health standards. She said regulatory agencies won’t reduce their standard because the country’s image is at stake the moment the products leave our shores.
Mrs. Rita Owaseh further called for a synergy of these regulatory agencies so as to curb the frustration exporters face going from one agency to the other. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Olufemi Boyede called for more practical methods to reduce port congestion, increased participation from regulatory bodies and stressed that NNPEN is ready to be the voice of exporters in making the government see things from their view.
The closing remarks were taken by the NNPEN President, Alhaji Ahmad Rabiu and the program came to a close at 12:15pm.