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NEPC Targets $150bn Forex Reserves With New Strategy

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The Nigerian Export Promotion Council

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council said on Tuesday that the effective implementation of its new strategy on non-oil export would enable the country to increase its foreign exchange reserves to $150bn within the next 10 years.

The Executive Director, NEPC, Mr. Segun Awolowo, stated this in a presentation to stakeholders on the new strategy of the commission tagged: “zero oil plan.”

The stakeholders mostly, from Kaduna State, were led to the commission by a senator from the state, Shehu Sani.

The nation’s external reserves, according to figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria, currently stand at about $26.3bn

Speaking at the event, Awolowo said the volatile nature of the global oil market had made it imperative for the country to depend less on oil revenue.

He lamented that while the country was making a huge chunk of foreign exchange from oil, such gains were usually eroded as a result of the huge import bill.

For instance, he said while the country earned about $70bn from crude oil in 2014, about $50bn was spent that same year to import various items into Nigeria.

Awolowo stated that as a result of the drop in global oil prices, the situation was worse in 2015 when the country earned about $40bn from oil but spent $50bn on importation.

He said the fall in the country’s foreign exchange earnings through importation was one of the reasons why the Central Bank of Nigeria was having difficulties in meeting forex demand by manufacturers and other businesses.

The NEPC boss said if the country could effectively key into the plan of the commission by taking advantage of the opportunities in the agricultural sector, there would not be a need to depend on oil revenue for survival.

He stated that through the zero oil plan, the commission had identified 22 priority countries as markets for Nigerian products, while 11 strategic products with high financial value had also been identified to replace oil.

These products, according to him, are palm oil, cashew, cocoa, soya beans, rubber, rice, petrochemicals, leather, ginger, cotton and Shea butter.

Awolowo said, “Nigeria is in need of an export revolution because we can no longer continue to rely on oil for our survival. We have an annual import bill of $50bn, which is financed from the proceeds of the foreign exchange generated from oil.

“In 2014, we earned $70bn from oil and paid $50bn as import bill. In 2015, we earned about $40bn and still spent about $50bn on importation; that is why we can’t continue to finance our imports. And so, we need an extra $30bn from non-oil exports to secure our future. Our objective is to increase the reserves of the country by $150bn in the next 10 years through the zero oil plan.

“This is achievable if all stakeholders collaborate with us because we want Nigeria to survive in a world where we no longer sell oil.”

Commenting, Sani said the challenges facing the economy had given an indication that this was the time for Nigerians to look inwards as the days for over-dependence on oil revenue were over.

“The days of depending on oil as a major revenue earner are over. Non-oil exports are the only path that will lead us to a sustainable economic development and guarantee for the yet unborn as oil is no longer reliable.”

He expressed optimism that if Mexico and the United Arab Emirates could reposition their economies with proceeds from the non-oil sector, Nigeria should be able to replicate such success thorough the development and promotion of its locally-made goods.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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CBN Starts Debiting Defaulters of Its Intervention Loans

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun debiting the account of intervention loan defaulters.

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Godwin Emefile

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun debiting the account of intervention loan defaulters.

The apex bank declared this at the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja. It further noted that States Governments and smallholder farmers form a large part of the defaulter. 

It will be recalled that the Central Bank disclosed in August that about N791 billion was disbursed to more than 3 million farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Program (ABP) and Commercial Agric Credit. 

ABP was launched by Muhammad Buhari on November 17, 2015 to assist Smallholders Farmers. ABP was created to reduce the pains faced by farmers in accessing credit for their operations. It had a single interest rate of nine percent.

Some of the benefiting smallholder farmers are those engaged in the production of rice, maize, wheat, cotton, cassava, potatoes, yam, ginger, oil palm, cocoa, rubber tomatoes, fish and poultry among others.

According to the director of development finance of the CBN, Yusuf Yila, state governments’ monthly federation account allocation committee (FAAC) accruals are already being debited directly every month. He however did not specify the states involved.

“Every person(s) or state that took that loan (ABP) is going to pay. We have their BVN. These persons are smallholder farmers, who received funds for farming. We have started recovering loans from state governments. We have been doing a loan workout programme with them, and we are debiting their monthly Federal Allocation Account (FAAC) accruals directly for the loans”, he stated.

“If a state government has taken N1 billion and is already in default, over six months, we debit them N150 million every month. So, we’ve started that programme.” He continued. So, every single loan that has been given out through any of our intervention programmes must be paid back.” He added

Yila, also mentioned that the CBN has put sentiment aside and is determined to collect the money it is owed. 

 “There is absolutely no mercy. We have started; we are in recovery mode. At the development finance department, we have begun to recover the loans”, he stated.

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Five Million Passengers Used Abuja Airport in 2021

More than five million passengers used Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, (NAIA) Abuja, between January and December 2021.

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More than five million passengers used Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, (NAIA) Abuja, between January and December 2021.

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has disclosed that 5,323,905 passengers were processed through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja in 2021. This represents a 37.23 per cent increase from 2020.

Speaking in Abuja at the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Airport, the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Hamisu Yadudu noted that the airport continued to wax stronger and higher. 

Captain Hamisu further noted that for easy movement of passengers, the Federal Government has completed and commissioned a world-class, brand-new international terminal. 

“I am glad that the airport has continued to grow in leaps and bounds since then. In the year 2021 for example, a total of 5,323,905 passengers were processed through the airport, which was a whopping 37.23% increase on the year 2020 figures. In terms of the facility upgrade, the airport also has been quite progressive”. The MD stated.

Hamisu also noted that Abuja airport was adjudged the Best Airport in Safety for the year 2018 by Airport Council International, Africa Region while the airport also received ACI’s Airport Service Quality Award in the year 2020, among several others laurels. 

The MD, therefore, laud the contributions of all staff, both past and present, as well as partners and stakeholders for the last 40 years.

Meanwhile, the Regional General Manager/ Airport Manager of NAIA, Abuja, Kabir Mohammed revealed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the construction of a new runway at Abuja airport. 

He added that the new runway will come with a new terminal and a new fire station. 

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) is one of the most used and functional airports in Nigeria. It was established on the 29th of September, 1982. Sited at the seat of power, the airport is often used by the president, majority of the public office holders, visiting presidents and foreign diplomats. 

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World Bank Approves $750 Million Loan For Nigeria

The World Bank has approved a sum of $750 million to help Nigeria in its efforts to create more jobs. 

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The World Bank has approved a sum of $750 million to help Nigeria in its efforts to create more jobs. 

A statement released by the World Bank on Thursday commended the Nigerian government in its efforts to eliminate constraints in the business environment through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). 

The world bank further noted that although Nigeria’s ability to attract both domestic and international foreign investment remains low when compared to its peers, the country is capable to drive private investment to high growth

According to the statement which was released on Thursday,  the World Bank nonetheless stated that the fund will help Nigeria to accelerate the implementation of critical actions that will improve the business-enabling environment in the country.

Investors King learnt that though Nigeria moved by 38 places on the global ranking of ease of doing business between 2016 and 2019 from 169 to 131, the previous gains seem to have been wiped out after the adverse effect of covid19 and the current economic challenges. 

Similarly, in June 2022, a publication by the World bank also decried the cumbersome customs procedures in Nigeria, especially at the Nigeria port. 

The report stated that Nigeria’s tariffs are among the highest in the world, especially for capital, intermediate and consumer goods. 

In recent times, there has been a series of complaints about the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service which could be detrimental to goods importation. Manufacturers and importers have an alleged arbitrary approach that the Nigeria Custom is using for duty valuation. 

They argued that it was not helpful for Customs to use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to compute value and charge duty, given the high cost of local production.

Consumer Price Index is used to measure the overall change in consumer prices based on a representative basket of goods and services over time. 

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