Despite Federal Government’s efforts at leveraging a vibrant non-oil sector to boost nation’s economy, the sector is still not competitive enough to drive the desired change in economic diversification, rapid revenue base expansion, sustainable growth and employment generation.
Experts advises the government must stop paying lip service to its diversification agenda and get all concerned stakeholders involved to draw a new roadmap, because the volatility of crude oil in the international market makes the current reliance on it as the main source of foreign exchange unpredictable and unsustainable for long-term economic growth and development.
These were the assertions of experts, including Country Head of Business at Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Benjamin Dike; Head of Trade and Economic Section at EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Fillipo Amato; Representative of the Nigerian Export-Import (NEXIM) Bank, Mr. Ugenyi Kalu; Head of Trade Section of Trade, Investment and Competiveness Commission of Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Prof. Jonathan Aremu; President of Institute of Export Operations and Management of Nigeria (IEOM), Princewill Utchay and other top industry players who gathered at the weekend in Lagos at the export breakfast meeting organised by IEOM.
Aremu, who was the guest lecturer, said the non-oil export is core to every country’s economic health because it is in exporting that they can increase revenue through foreign income earnings as trade transaction among nations are settled in foreign exchange.
In his lecture titled “Lack of Competitiveness of the Nigerian Non-oil Sector: Causes and Possible Solutions,” Aremu disclosed that if Nigeria desires to establish global supply chain processes into non-oil export market, it needs to build its own domestic competencies that will enhance better flow of imports and exports.
This, he said, requires understanding the contemporary issues facing Nigeria in international trade environment, particularly the non-oil exports; as well as how to manage the international trade logistics and compliance in line with global best practices.
According to him, having inefficient or inadequate systems of transportation, logistics and trade-related infrastructure have severely impeded Nigeria’s non-oil export to compete effectively in international trade on a global scale.
He asserted that logistics issues in facilitating non-oil exports in the country involve facilitating trade at the border, behind the border and beyond the border.
Also, Utchay said businesses in a growing economy require capital goods and more intermediate inputs; and without progressively more exports, there cannot be progressively more imports of efficient machines, tools and other technologies that are critical for growth.
According to him, Nigerian businesses need to develop those non-oil products of export quality at competitive prices to enter the global market.