Omodele Adigun

The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has approved the disbursement of loans totaling about N25billion in support of various projects in the non-oil export sector.

According to its Managing Director, Abba Bello, this follows the review of applications under the Export Development Fund (EDF) at the meeting of the Board of Directors of the bank held last Thursday.

He explained that the beneficiaries included exporters of agricultural and value-added products, who submitted applications for stocking facilities and working capital to enable them execute their export contracts.

“These projects, which are distributed across the country with nation-wide impact, cut across various sectors/industries including Cocoa, Cashew, Sesame Seed, Gum Arabic and Leather products.

“It is expected that disbursement will commence immediately to maximize the benefits of the export season towards achieving the economic diversification objectives of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari under the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP).  The total amount approved is expected to support about 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and facilitate foreign exchange inflow of about $100million from non-oil exports”, Bello added.

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Earlier in the year, the CBN established the N50billion Export Development Fund, to be disbursed at single digit, which is currently being managed by NEXIM.

Following the inauguration of the new Board last March,  the Minister of Finance charged the Board to hit the ground running to ensure that the institution achieves its mandate of diversifying the foreign exchange earnings of the Nigerian economy.

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NEXIM’s mandate as an agency of the Federal Government is to grow the non-oil export by participating in the financing.

This was given a fillip recently when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reinstated the N500 billion Export Stimulation Facility (ESF) as well as NEXIM’s N50 billion Direct Intervention Fund to boost the  non-oil export .

Recall that at a meeting with the export stakeholders last December, the CBN Governor , Godwin Emefiele, had said they were planning to introduce an initiative called PAVE , meaning Produce; Add Value and Export for various products in the non oil sector such as cocoa, cashew nuts, palm produce, sesame seeds, solid minerals and rubber.

Emefiele added: “Like we all agreed at the meeting that there was a time we were exporting, but up till recently, the export that we really conduct now is more of raw agricultural produce.

“We are saying that in order to create jobs for our people, there is a need for us to advance further to value addition and begin to talk about processing of exportable items. Rather than exporting raw cashew, we are thinking of exporting processed cashew.

“Rather than exporting raw cocoa, we are thinking of giving support to companies that process cocoa to cocoa butter and cakes and all that. We also know that there are some of the Nigerian companies that have benefited from some of our export stimulations facilities in the past and some of them still remain moribund.

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“And we have also told our development finance department to take a look at the companies,” he said.