With the potential to guarantee long-term economic stability, sustained job creation and generate foreign exchange, stakeholders have charged the Federal Government to articulate a definite roadmap to diversify the economy towards non-traditional tradable goods and services.
They argued that for Nigeria to aggressively transition into non-oil export and exportable service activities, would allow the country to take advantage of the rising income elasticity of demand derived from growing income in the global economy.
Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Adewale Smatt-Oyerinde, stated this ahead of its second yearly employers’ summit, with the theme ‘Trade and Non-Oil Export: Changing the Narratives.’He recalled how the Nigerian economy was buoyant during the pre-and post-independence years due to huge earnings from non-oil export, stating that the economy was so strong that it financed an appreciable number of capital projects without any recourse to borrowing.
Oyerinde, who said the nation’s export market was reasonably developed to a large extent, however, said notwithstanding the gains and huge potential of export trade, it has been faced with the challenge of non-diversification of the content of export trade.
According to him, improving the share of non-oil goods in Nigerian export is an important objective of Nigeria’s industrial policy.To address the challenges, he maintained that efforts at encouraging more sophisticated, value-added products should target the regional market as much as targeting the domestic market.
“Export trade is generally considered a veritable instrument for sustainable economic growth. It normally facilitates improved foreign exchange earnings, strengthens the balance of payments, encourages the development of export-oriented industries in the manufacturing sector, increases the profitability of firms, creates jobs and increases government revenue through taxes, levies, and tariffs”.
“ All of these, in the medium and long-term cumulatively accelerate economic growth,” he said. To this end, he said the country must refocus on non-oil exports to change its national economic narratives.
Giving some statistics, the NECA chief added that Nigeria was ranked 52nd in global export in 2018 with 0.25 per cent share of world export, while export trade of Nigeria was recorded at N26.8 trillion in 2022, import trade was N25.7 trillion with a trade balance of N1.21 trillion for the same year, among others.
Highlighting the importance of the summit slated to hold in Abuja, and the need for the government’s support, the Chairman of the planning committee, Rotimi Odusola, said with the current realities, it was obvious that Nigeria needs trade and non-oil exports not only to drive the economy but also to shore up forex to augment the current shortage.
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