The new export initiative of the Bankers Committee, headed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is gathering momentum and export businesses in Nigeria should be expecting a boom. The banks are setting up both financial and non-financial platforms to make this happen.
This week Lotus Bank announced activation of such platforms. The Bank announced a knowledge platform it called Exporters Forum where it pledged to use it to support exporters in order to achieve the Bankers Committee and CBN’s agenda of $200 billion (RT200) non-oil revenue in 2022/23 financial year.
Speaking at the bank’s exporters forum in Lagos, the Managing Director of Lotus Bank, Kafilat Araoye, stated: “We will support people who will increase our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), increase it from the perspective of increasing our revenue, which will bring more development for the nation as required.
“We can achieve RT200, it is not unachievable. In fact, it should be RT500 because we can get to the $500billion. It is doable if we all are focused and sincere in supporting non-oil exports. Nigeria is blessed with natural minerals and a fertile land so we can achieve it.’’
Also speaking at the forum, Director, Trade and Exchange Department, CBN, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, said the apex bank is willing to partner with stakeholders on how to improve the nation’s non-oil export revenue.
In her keynote address at the forum titled “Identifying and Overcoming the Challenges of Non-Oil Export Trade”, Nnaji said: “The key mandate of the CBN is to maintain the external value of the currency and a strategic priority to deliver this mandate is facilitating trade and provision of affordable finance.’’
In a related development, FirstBank secured $150 million Afreximbank facility for its customers that are involved in the manufacturing and importation of products and equipment required to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as initiatives to rehabilitate hospitals and strengthen diagnostic and testing capacity.
“The loan will also be used for the financing of trade debt payments falling due to avert payment defaults in trade debt obligations. In addition, proceeds of the facility will help beneficiary businesses manage the impacts of the Ukraine crisis,” it added.
Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, commented: “This new disbursement under PATIMFA is a further proof of the relevance of the programme in helping African economies to recover from the crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April 2020, when PATIMFA was launched, we are more than proud to have disbursed more than $7 billion to help Afreximbank member countries manage the adverse impact of the financial, economic and health shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through First Bank, one of our trade finance intermediaries, this $150 million facility will help build the resilience of many businesses to the adverse impacts of the pandemic, while helping them overcome the consequences of the current Ukraine crisis.”
Also commenting, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, FirstBank’s CEO, said: “We commend Afreximbank for this impactful financial response. It will immensely contribute to empowering many businesses adversely impacted by the economic shocks caused by Covid-19.’’