The Kaduna State export enlightenment and engagement forum recently organised by Nigerian Export Import (NEXIM) Bank strongly aligns with the federal government’s strategic objectives of economic diversification, job creation and poverty reduction, according to Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
She said this at the workshop of exporters and entrepreneurs themed: ‘Understanding the Fundamentals of Export Trade: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Export Trade for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)’.
She noted that the workshop was a stakeholders’ enlightenment forum targeted at promoting entrepreneurship and building the capacity of MSMEs towards sustainable export.
She also said: “The forum was intended to enhance productivity and financial inclusion of MSMEs as well as drive industrialisation for exports with a view to taking advantage of the common continental market under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
In commending NEXIM for organising the workshop, which is within its mandate of promoting non-oil export and other economic revitalisation programme, the Honourable Minister noted that NEXIM is also promoting women and youth entrepreneurship in the trade value chain with the launch of its Women and Youth Export Facility (WAYEF).
Mrs. Ahmed used the opportunity to highlight a few projects being implemented in my Ministry towards the realisation of Mr. President’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. These include: Conduct of enterprise education workshops in various National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) camps and campuses of tertiary institutions across the country, presently on-going; the development of aquaculture hub in Ogun State, housing five businesses in the fish farming value chain to render continuous training and employment.
Others are three aquaculture hubs that are at advanced stages of completion in Borno, Kaduna and Ebonyi States; distribution of over 150,000 copies of enterprise education books to existing and potential youth entrepreneurs; collaborating with the private sector to create jobs for the teeming youths through the provision of fiscal incentives to boost productivity in critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture, solid minerals, and manufacturing; and the launch of a consumer credit programme to enhance access to consumer credit that would improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
In addition, the government constantly develops and reviews policies to, according to her, facilitate export trade and remove bottlenecks. “In this direction, towards improving procedures, documentation and regulations in the solid mineral sector, the government is in the process of finalising a distinct mineral exports guidelines, procedures and documentation requirements to unleash the monumental mining potentials and streamline operations in the sector.
Speaking further, Mrs. Ahmed said: “This would help guarantee proper regulation of export trade in the sector, attract direct foreign investment (DFI) and promote the deployment of appropriate technology/expertise towards creating a conducive environment that would significantly enhance mining business in Nigeria and promote sustainable export. The draft document was presented to critical stakeholders last month, May, 2021.
She noted that Nigeria is blessed with huge potentials of exportable items in the non-oil sector, comprising agriculture, mining and manufacturing which MSMEs can explore. I look forward to having more MSMEs participate in the export trade activities after this workshop.
Mrs. Ahmed assured the stakeholders that the government remains committed to its promise of economic diversification and the implementation of its priority projects as pronounced by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She commended NEXIM Bank for its determined drive to mainstream MSMEs in formal exports to broaden the national export basket. She urged the bank to organise similar workshop in other geo-political zones of the country.
Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi
Special Adviser, Media and Communications
To the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning