Olufemi Boyede: Nigeria’s non-oil exporters are suffering in silence

Boyede was speaking at a forum where issues concerning Nigeria’s non-oil exports were discussed.

He lamented that the challenges facing the non-oil export sector are becoming worrisome and have forced some exporters to quit their trade.

“Nigeria is blessed with too many non-oil products that can be the mainstay of the economy even if our oil dries up today, ” he said.

“Unfortunately, the nation’s successive governments have not been giving the required support to players in this specialized industry. Rather many exporters have been forced to close shops or relocate to neighbouring countries, while some of those still operating are daily being frustrated.”

“The logistics involved in export is taken for granted, the exchange rate is not paid deserved attention, government policies are inconsistent and unpredictable, while the necessary infrastructure that can help exporters meet their goals are either comatose, inefficient or totally absent”.

According to Boyede, exporters face difficulty in clearing containers at the ports and moving goods out of the country.

He noted that the export business is not just a one-off transaction, rather it is a complete process that involves several procedures and logistics.

Boyede also complained about the consistent reduction of the export expansion grant (EEG) by the government.

The EEG is a scheme designed to encourage exporters to sell goods abroad with a grant that allows them to receive tax charge-offs and other benefits.

“First, the grant rate was reduced from a possible maximum of 30 percent (of repatriated proceeds) to a mere 15 percent. Worse still, since 2017 export year, the amount allocated to the scheme in the national budget has been reducing drastically, ” he said.

“Government started by approving N20 billion in the 2017 budget to exporters under the scheme. It is doubtful if NEPC, the administering agency, got a cash backing of up to N5 billion for the export credit certificates it issued out.

“In the 2021 budget, a paltry N1 billion has been allocated to EEG! That amount can’t be enough for a single active non-oil exporter”.

He urged the government to revisit the unpaid 2007-2016 grants of 38 exporters who were inadvertently omitted when a backlog of grants was paid via promissory notes in 2019.

Source: The Cable

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