s Nigeria’s annual revenue from non-oil export continues to rise steadily since 2016, hitting N2. 5 trillion in 2019, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) Barr Hassan Bello has urged on the Federal Government to redirect its attention from oil/gas to the maritime industry and export of non-oil goods, the long abandoned agricultural produce inclusive.
He said the two areas of the economy will quickly see Nigeria out of the coming global economic meltdown caused by the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said that the call has become necessary in view of the fact that the price of crude oil, the mainstay of Nigerian economy has crashed in the international market, “even when the price rebounds, the income from that commodity can no longer sustain the country as many countries of the world are adopting alternative sources of power. The electric and battery cars are becoming the inthing across the world, so we have to flow with time.”
According to him, there is no other best time than now to develop non-oil export commodities and make seem less the processing of exports out of Nigeria.
Bello, who spoke with journalists recently in Lagos, further called on the federal government to quickly designate one terminal in the Nigerian ports as solely export terminal, saying that would boost seamless shippment of export commodities to the world market and would further reduce the bottlenecks associated to trade facilitation.
He said the Council in its determination to boost the nation’s export trade, has advocated for the establishment of ‘Export Strategy Committee’ to facilitate easy processing of export goods from Nigeria to the world market.
Bello noted that imports into Nigeria is set to nosedive as China from where about 65 per cent of Nigeria’s container goods imports comes from is bound to concentrate more on producing for its local needs as the world economy struggles to navigate out of the COVID-19 economic meltdow.
Bello maintained that access to the nation’s seaports have been a major problem to trade facilitation but with a designated terminal for exportation, shippers would be encouraged to expedite actions in boost export effectively and efficiently.
He harped on development of port infrastructural to bring about an integrated automation system for the Nigerian port industry, saying the ‘Export Strategy Committee’ wjich NSC mulled would include the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Export Promoton Council , Nigerian Shippers Council and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said for every goods exported must pass through a value chain of logistics which must have created job opportunities for Nigerians.
“Export is going to be our main line now because there is a lot of disruptions in the international supply chain on import. Even China will not export what it used to export, they will like to keep it for domestic use.
“Now is the time to look inwards and inward is not as in diversification but deliberate attempt to look at where we have comparative advantage and that is exportation.
“We can’t import now and even if we import, the throughput will dwindle.
“We have lost revenue in oil and due to the vulnerability of oil, we have to look at exportation. Nigeria is vast and so rich we would have been a substitute for China for raw materials which we are going to process. That is why we are calling on the government to focus on export.
“There were about 800 export cargoes laden trucks outside some terminals but Shippers’ Council has brokered with the terminals and now these trucks are going in.
“We want these exports to be evacuated because some of these exports are perishable and we cannot afford to have them on the roads and non oil export is very import for our economy.
“Export is very important. For non oil revenue in 2019, Nigeria got N2.5 trillion, in 2016, it was N344 billion, 2017, N629 billion, in 2018, we got N1.1 trillion. You can see it is rising. Then why can’t we build on this?
“There is no other time to develop our export than now ,so we have to reset this struggling and crawling economy and look beyond the oil ” he stated.
Speaking further, he said that the Council was poised to eliminate factors militating against export especially the rail capacity, the roads, processes and other means.