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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.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Banking Sector

Wema Bank, MOD Launch Scheme For International Students

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Wema Bank Logo

Wema Bank has launched an advisory and loan scheme, the Education Advisory Service, in partnership with MOD Education for young Nigerians wishing to study abroad.

Following foreign exchange control measures introduced by the government, parents and guardians have experienced difficulties paying tuition fees for their children and wards studying abroad. Some who have the money don’t know the requirements for foreign admission and waste lots of time and resources in fruitless searches.

But to help them surmount these challenges, Wema Bank has partnered with MOD Education, a professional student advisory, marketing, recruitment and placement company for the advisory services and school fees advance facility. The partnership, which was launched on Friday, April 9 at Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, will see both organizations providing innovative education advisory services and funds for international students.

Speaking about the partnership, Divisional Head, Retail Business, Wema Bank, Dotun Ifebogun, explained that the initiative would aid hundreds of thousands of Nigerians requiring advisory and financial support to pay for their wards in foreign schools.

He explained that Wema Bank does not want the aspirations of Nigerians desirous of foreign education truncated, hence the support.

“We are interested in everything that concerns our customers, and education is one of them. Some parents and guardians desire a certain quality of education for their wards outside the shores of Nigeria, and we would be able to assist them with this product. Our school fees advance loan results from the requests of parents and guardians who need to get short term financial support to meet the tuition obligation of their wards irrespective of the constant increase in fees.

“There’s nothing as heartbreaking as withdrawing a child already in a foreign university or being unable to raise the requisite forex for a child offered admission in a top-rated foreign institution of higher learning. But our school fees advance loan will take care of this problem and help secure the futures of such students – both undergraduates and postgraduates. The fact that you get counsel from the right sources at any particular time is another benefit of this product.

Also, the Managing Director, MOD Education, Michael Dosunmu, expressed gratitude to Wema Bank for the partnership. “Wema Bank has been supportive to us as a business and it was just a natural marriage. We trust the bank enough to bank with them, and our trust is enough to recommend it to others.”

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Finance

NAIC Pays N1.7bn Claims to Farmers

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The Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) said it paid a total of N1.7 billion claims to over 5,000 farmers in the past two years.

NAIC, which is the only federal government owned insurance company authorised to offer agric insurance services to farmers at subsidised rate, said a breakdown of the paid claims showed that it paid N856 million to insured farmers in 2019 and N848 million in 2020.

Commenting on the development, NAIC Managing Director, Mrs. Folashade Joseph, said the claims were paid to the farmers to cover losses incurred in the course of doing business.

Joseph, enjoined agricultural investors and lending institutions to continue to partner NAIC by taking agricultural insurance cover that will enable them remain firm in business despite unforeseen circumstances from weather conditions and other risks in order to realise the food security agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.

She said the above-mentioned amount was shared among five million farmers who suffered various setbacks in their farms as a result of natural course.

According to her, the NAIC Agric Insurance Scheme was launched in 1987 by federal government to restore the confidence and productivity of Nigerian farmers who suffered losses as a result of natural disaster such as flood, drought, pest and diseases.

The NAIC boss explained that the essence of the sensitisation campaign embarked by the corporation was to let the farmers know and understand exactly what NAIC does, the importance of insurance, and make them understand how insurance works, how they can access NAIC products and services, how to process their claims, as well as what insurance stands to do for them.

“Agribusiness is evolving fast and so many risks are being thrown up, many new participants are coming into the business of agriculture, and the risks are on the increase if you look at them across the value chain, there is no so many participants so we need to keep sensitising the farmers and let them know we are serving them, and we need to know from them how to serve them,” she explained.

Speaking further, she said, “our assurance to farmers is that when they are insured and they suffer losses covered by any of the policies they purchased, including natural disasters and whatever, they will get paid for their losses, and that is the purpose of insurance and setting up NAIC.

“Our motor is ‘Plowing the Farmer Back to Business, Plowing the Farmers into Prosperity’, and we settle claims.”

She said NAIC currently deals with thousands of farmers (Small, Medium, and Large scale farmers) across the country, adding that the corporation serves farmers with investment as little as N100, 000, and at the same time serves multinational farmers.

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Banking Sector

UBA Organises Capacity Building Forum

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UBA Insider dealings

As part of its commitment to support the growth and sustainability of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSME) in the continent, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, is set to organise the next edition of its UBA Business Series.

The UBA Business Series which is a monthly event, is an MSME Workshop as well as a capacity building initiative of the bank where business leaders and professionals share well-researched insights on best practices for running successful businesses, especially in the face of the difficult operating environment that dominates the African business landscape.

Through this initiative, UBA has been assisting with essential tips to help businesses re-examine their models and strategies and ensure that they stay afloat and remain thriving, a statement from the bank explained.

The topic for the next edition of the series is, “Managing Performance for Business Growth,” and it will be held today, via Microsoft Teams.

At this session, the Managing Director, Secure ID Limited, Mrs Kofo Akinkugbe, will be sharing useful tips and insights on the key strategies of performance management to boost business growth.

Akinkugbe is the founder of SecureID Nigeria, a MasterCard, VISA and Verve certified Smartcard Personalization Bureau and Digital Technology company. She currently serves as the Managing Director/CEO, Secure Card Manufacturing, – a Smartcard manufacturing plant producing high security identity cards and documents for the Banking, Telecoms and Public sectors across Africa and beyond.

UBA’s Head, SME Banking, Sampson Aneke said of Akinkugbe, “with her vast experience garnered over the years from various sectors, she will help business owners understand how performance management strategies can be effectively implemented to ensure business growth.”

He emphasised UBA’s commitment and deep passion for small businesses, which according to him, remains the engine of any developing economy adding, “We know small businesses are the backbone of the economy in every country. In many climes, businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2 per cent of all businesses. This no doubt captures the importance of SMEs to a thriving economy which is why UBA is committed to seeing them flourish.”

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