By Babajide Okeowo
The race to US$200billion in foreign exchange repatriation (RT200 FX Programme) needs the right policies and other mechanisms to achieve desired results, says Dr Chinyere Almona, Director-General (LCCI).Almona said this in a statement issued to newsmen on Monday in Lagos, following the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announcement of the scheme, which is exclusively from non-oil exports and over the next 3-5 years.Commending the scheme, Almona said it required critical export infrastructure, international trade diplomacy, and adequate funding.
She said there was the need to also enlighten the public, especially experienced and potential exporters, on the terms and conditions around these facilities and programmes to enhance the participation of the business community.
“One major challenge in Nigeria’s export chain is the unstructured procedures that cause delays, corruption, and rejection of exports.
“These facilities should be well directed to process targeted products in which Nigeria has some comparative advantage such as sesame, cashew, cocoa into finished goods.
“The reason for the low FX revenue from exports is due to the export of primary unprocessed commodities.
“Nigeria must take bold steps to establish a trading system that supports the seamless flow of trade.
“It must establish the necessary infrastructure, create needed awareness toward exploring the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” she said.
The LCCI DG, however, urged the CBN to exercise caution in its interventions in various sectors of the economy as this indicated an element of a dysfunctional economic system.
She noted that under the CBN’s targeted credit facility, the apex bank had intervened with more than N2trillion support to agriculture.
Almona explained that more investment should be made in critical infrastructure to ensure the repayment of these facilities.
“Currently, there are many credit facilities extended to farmers and manufacturers that may suffer non-repayment due to the high cost of production.
“Beyond the loans to support value addition to our exports, there is an urgent need to improve the export infrastructure at our ports.
“There is the need to create more digital platforms to reduce the human interface for exports and formulate the right policies.
“To this end, we urge the government to accelerate the plan to build domestic export warehouses by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
“The concern of the Chamber is that without infrastructure, the grants may end up as lost ventures.
“There should be deeper stakeholder consultation and collaboration with the organised private sector in the implementation of this programme,” she said.