The Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo wednesday said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) foreign exchange (FX) policy was geared to attract more dollar inflows into the country.
Okonkwo said this in an address he presented at the October breakfast session of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) titled: “Driving Growth in the Non-oil Sector,” that took place in Lagos.
According to Okonkwo, the key to growing the value of the naira remains the diversification of country’s revenue base through non-oil exports to correct the current trade imbalance. He also pointed out that there have been concerted efforts across the board to change the current revenue paradigm.
The bank CEO who was represented by an Executive Director of the bank, Nneka Onyali- Ekpe, pointed out that the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of N40 billion was aimed at transforming Nigeria from net importers of rice and wheat to net exporters.
The combined import bill of these two commodities was estimated at $2 billion in 2013
The global marketplace is a free-market economy and will punish you if you don’t have competitive and comparative advantages,” he said.
He identified some key imperatives to fast track growth in the non-oil sector to include: infrastructure development, saying that bullish drive in the area of infrastructure development was neede to reduce business operating cost.
Furthermore, he said emphasis should be on how to improve power, transport (railways/seaports), storage facilities for agricultural produce and broadband penetration.
In addition, he said there was need for intra-regional trade enhancement, saying that more work was required on the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme to facilitate the seamless flow of trade into the ECOWAS Sub-region.
He also said there was need to improve security and enabling business environment, saying it was needed to encourage new entrants and also improve foreign direct investments (FDIs); more streamlined and expedited business registration and incorporation process and favourable tax and other fiscal regimes.
Increased Focus on Agriculture Valuechain- (A) Deliberate plan to enhance farm inputs (i.e. improved seeds, fertilizer and allied products, etc.) and mechanization to drive increased yield/hectare (B) Establishment of a functional Agro Commodity Exchange Market in Nigeria to attract big ticket investments in the Agric Space.
The Fidelity Bank boss listed the key imperatives for non-oil exporters to include a clear understanding of the export market by prospective exporter; procurement of a valid export contract(s); goods being exported must conform with relevant quality and standards of both home country and destination country; and that goods being exported must be well packaged.
Others include proper record keeping practices, improved corporate governance structures and processes (i.e. financial control, proper book keeping, succession planning, etc.), effective financial management system (planning and budgeting, optimal capital structure, etc.), branding and product differentiation.