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Non-oil Exporters Repatriate $4.99bn in 2022; Emeifele Says only $1.97bn Qualifies for Rebate 

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Experts caution against interest rate benchmark at 18%

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says that non-oil exporters repatriated the sum of $4.99 billion into Nigeria in 2022.

The Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this while delivering a keynote address at the second edition of the RT-200 Bi-annual Export Summit on Tuesday in Lagos.

The theme of the summit was: “RT Non-Oil Export: The Journey So Far.”

Emefiele said that the 2022 figure was higher when compared with the $3.19 billion repatriated in 2021.

“Of this amount, only $1.97 billion qualified for the rebate programme, while only $1.56 billion was sold at the Investors and Exporters (I & E) window or for own use,” he said.

Emefiele said that the apex bank paid out about N81 billion in rebates to Nigerian exporters during the period.

“This is a testament to the resolve of the CBN to ensure quick acceleration of the export value chain in the country.

“I know there have been calls to make all exporters eligible for the rebate, not just limit it to finished and semi-finished products.

“While we see some justification for this, one of the goals of the RT200 programme is to help quicken the process of industrialisation and encourage exporters to earn more from their export business.

“Economists have well-documented a positive relationship between export and industrialisation,” Emefiele said.

The governor noted that export could transform the economic structure of countries from simple, slow-growing, and low-value activities to more productive activities that enjoy more significant margins driven by technology.

Emefiele said that all hands should be on deck to help exporters and the economy by adding value to what they produce and export.

“We are already getting feedback from banks of interest by exporters in adding value to the products they export to allow them to benefit from the programme.

“We are happy that this is happening, and we encourage more exporters to find ways to add value to their exports so that they can benefit not only from the scheme but get better value for their exports,” he said.

The CBN governor said that the bank is committed to strengthening and expanding foreign exchange supply into the market.

“You are all important in this national clarion call to expand the supply of foreign exchange to the country.

“For exporters flying the flag of Nigeria in the international market, the Bankers Committee and the CBN stand ready to partner with you to achieve your goals.

“You can benefit from the many financial programmes introduced by the CBN through your bank to grow your business.

“Therefore, I call on this gathering to candidly interact and make constructive and innovative suggestions for exploring the non-oil export sector as a more sustainable means of increasing financial flows into the economy and generating employment to spur growth.

”This is the time for all of us to work together to reposition Nigeria on a growth trajectory by taking the diversification of the economy seriously.

There is no time like now to start working in synergy for the good of our nation. We must coordinate and collaborate on policies to improve the economic activities in the non-oil sector,” Emefiele said.

Earlier, Emefiele noted that the country was confronted with many challenges exacerbated by growing internal and external factors.

He said that a significant part of these challenges had been the over-dependence on crude oil as a major source of foreign exchange earnings to the economy.

He said that the CBN had been implementing several non-conventional, supportive, and complementary macroeconomic policy actions toward restoring the economy to its growth trajectory to address some of these challenges.

“One of the noblest recent ideas was the development of a market-based financing mechanism to boost non-oil sector capacity to attract foreign exchange flows.

”Consequently, with the support of the Banker’s Committee in February 2022, the CBN introduced the RT200 programme, which is aimed at raising $200 billion in foreign exchange earnings over the next three to five years, strictly from non-oil exports,” he said.

He said that many developing nations have since identified export as a leading priority for their indigenous firms.

He said that several countries had developed export-oriented trade strategies and extensive assistance programmes to encourage export expansion.

“Against this backdrop, several developing nations embarked on aggressive export promotion to increase their productivity, improve their foreign exchange earnings, and increase their income level.

“Nigeria cannot be an exception particularly given the huge natural and material resources endowment she possesses.

“Therefore, it is not only appropriate but makes economic sense to embrace this policy thrust that is well anchored on sound economic policy and proven economic theory.

“At the launch of this initiative, I promised that we shall be having a biannual conference to review our performance.

“The first conference on the bi-annual Non-oil Export Summit was held in this hotel in June of this year with great enthusiasm from all stakeholders.

“It aimed to improve the non-oil export process and remove some of the export value chain bottlenecks.

“This time, we will look at what we have achieved since the first summit and examine the result of the collaborative efforts by all stakeholders in the export value chain and areas for further improvement and collaboration,” he added.

He commended the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and hardworking Nigerian exporters flying the Nigerian flag everywhere for making the programme a success.

Emefiele said that the country had recorded some achievements in automation and digitisation of trade processes.

He said: “In terms of processes and infrastructure for improving trade performance, we have recorded some achievements in automation and digitisation of the trade processes.”

The event was attended by the Bankers Committee, captains of industry and non-oil exporters.

Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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Economy

LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Economy

Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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