Vice President Kashim Shettima says the federal government will support local manufacturers with N75 billion by March 2024 to strengthen the manufacturing sector.
Shettima said this while declaring open the second National Conference on non-oil export organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Represented by Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser on Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and Investment, Shettima said N75 billion was earmarked to support 100,000 start-ups and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at single digit interest rates.
The two-day conference is with the theme, “Building a Sustainable National Economy Through Non-Oil Export.”
According to him, the federal government is also committed to providing necessary infrastructure that will support increased export of non-oil commodities.
“There can never be a better time to envision a conference of this nature than now; a time to reflect on non-oil export.
“Over the years, the nation’s major source had been 80 per cent dependent on oil revenue.
“It is clear that as a nation, we can’t afford to work on this uncharted path.
“Today, we find ourselves in protracted situation and challenges. All indications point to the fact that we have to prioritise our non-oil export.
“And this administration will give every support to boost non-oil export,” he said.
While pledging support towards made-in-Nigeria products, he assured of federal government’s commitment to provide infrastructure that would facilitate export trade.
“We will prioritise capacity building for MSMEs, we will invest in human capital development.
“We need to work diligently to utilise opportunity provided by African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by deepening our existing values and expanding our forex earnings,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, expressed concern that Nigeria operated a mono-economy for long.
The minister, however, expressed joy that government’s diversification efforts were beginning to yield positive results.
“Nigerian non-oil exports grew by almost 40 per cent in 2022, reaching 4.820 billion dollars.
“Semi-processed and manufactured products accounted for almost 37 per cent of these exports, surpassing agriculture’s 30 per cent.
“This is a big step in the right direction. We no longer have the luxury of business as usual when it comes to the business of making sure Nigeria succeeds.
“We can no longer afford to export raw materials cheaply and import finished products at premium prices.
“That train has stopped and will not be starting again. Our focus for exports is locally manufactured value added products that create both business and employment,” She said.
Dr Ezra Yakusak, the Chief Executive Officer of NEPC, said the Council had significantly increased the contribution of the non-oil sector to the Nigerian economy.
According to him, for first time, the performance of the non-oil export grew by 39.91 per cent in 2022 to 4.820 billion with about 214 different products exported, ranging from manufactured, semi-processed, solid minerals to raw agricultural products.
He said Nigerian products were exported to 122 countries, and appealed to the federal government to address the strange disease afflicting ginger farm in Kaduna State.
“I will not do justice to this address if I do not present the challenges being faced by farmers and exporters of ginger in Nigeria.
“It is a known fact that Nigeria’s ginger has been adjudged as the best in the world due its unique aroma, pungency and high oleorosin content.
“This makes Nigeria one of the largest exporters of ginger in the world. However, the Council received several complaints of the outbreak of a strange disease ravaging ginger farms in Kaduna State.
“So far, about 2,503.9 hectares of farmland have been affected with an estimated loss of over N8 billion,” he said.
According to him, part from the huge financial and economic loss, the disease is affecting the income and livelihood of ginger farmers who are mostly operators of MSMEs.
“With the outbreak of the disease, Nigeria’s non-oil export performance may experience a steep decline, except the issue is adequately addressed.
“May I stress that this is not the time for us to accommodate any minute disruption in our foreign exchange inflow.
“With the current state of the Naira, every single source of foreign exchange must be carefully and jealously protected.
“It is in this direction that I call on the federal government to declare the ginger fungi infestation as a crop pandemic and fight it with the same viciousness our nation fought covid-19 pandemic,” the NEPC boss said.