Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Why and How to grow Exportation of Manufactured Goods In Nigeria

As the government is putting strategies in place to diversify the economic we should not allow the tyranny of OR to tied us down to only agriculture but we should also engage the genius of the AND. The tyranny of the OR says it is either you do this OR that, why the genius of the AND says we can do both together concurrently. This is to say that, we can diversify into the production of raw materials (agriculture and mining) and manufacturing of finished goods, both for export, at the same time. This is particularly important because of the current shortage of foreign exchange that we are experiencing at this time. 

The data obtained from international trade statistics report of the world trade centre over the last 20 years ( from 1995 to 2015) shows that a nation that fails to export value added products will remain poor for a very long time. According to this data, the total word trade in merchandise (tangible) goods in 2014 was about USD18.5 trillion. The total value of manufactured goods exported in the same year was about USD12.25 trillion which comes to 66% of the total value of exported merchandise goods accross the world. The total value of fuel and mining products exported in the same year is USD3.8 trillion which comes to about 20.5% of the total goods exported in the world. The total value of foods and agricultural products exported in the same year is USD3.3trillion which comes to about 17.8% of the total goods exported in the world. These data clearly showed that, if we really want to generate foreign exchange in a more efficient manner, grow this economy and create many job opportunities, deploying the genius of the AND, with more attention given to manufacturing is the way to go. 

The good news is that exporting manufactured products is not a new thing to us as Nigerians because we have already started exporting finished goods to west African countries. According to the data obtained from the government inspection agents, the total value of items exported from Nigeria to 13 countries in West African in the year 2015 is about USD271 million with the largest share of about 42.5% (USD115.1million) of this going Ghana, followed by 17.5% (USD47.5million) to Niger and the country with the least export from Nigeria in the region is Cape Verde with 0.01% (about USD38,000). The items being exported include Milk, noddles, malt drinks, confectionery, cosmetics, cigarettes, cement, liquified gas, slippers, louvers to mention a few. 

What the government needs to do is to look at the major items being exported and the companies doing the exportation and find ways to encourage and support their business operations in order to grow their exportation to the West African countries. This is to ultimately help us to generate the much needed foreign exchange and thereby reducing pressure on the foreign reserves. 

There about seven things that I think the government have to do in order to grow foreign exchange earnings through exportation of manufactured goods. These have been summarised in the following points namely: Interest, Identification, Invitation, Induction Inauguration, Introduction and Implementation 

The first is Interest. Government needs to show very keen interest to grow the exportation of manufactured goods to the West African countries and beyond and this need to be seen in government pronouncements, programmes and in the promulgated laws of the land. 

The second thing to do is identification. The federal government needs to identify the manufactured goods of Nigerian companies that are in high demands across Africa (with particular emphasis on ECOWAS region), Asia and other parts of the world and also identify the companies that are producing them. The companies should include both those that are already exporting and those that are yet to export their products. 

The third Invitation for a meeting to discuss their challenges. the vision and plans of the government to increase exportation of manufactured goods to West African countries and beyond. It will be very important for the president to be at this meeting to demonstrate the seriousness of the government and commitment to make this move a sustainable one. Also present at this meeting should be the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Minister for Trade and Investment, Controller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, representatives of the Manufacture Association of Nigeria, Commercial Banks, Export trade consultants and other relevant stakeholders. 

The fourth thing to do is the Induction of a Value Added Export Committee which should meet regularly (at least once a month) and report directly to the president. The members of this committee should include but not limited to the representatives of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Manufacture Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Customs Service, Export trade consultants, Financial Institutions, Special Assistance to the President on Non-oil Export Matters and other stakeholders that are deemed necessary. The mandate of the committee should be to come up with policies and programmes that will grow the exportation of finished goods to the West Africa countries and beyond. 

The fifth step is to Inaugurate a regular quarterly programme that will appraise the progress made and the strategies on the way to keep the sector growing. At this event, the committee will make a presentation on their programme for the quarter and allow the participants to criticise and also contribute. This programme must always be attended by the Special Assistance to the President on Non-oil Export Matters. The committee should also create a channel of communication that will enable the exporters to lodge their complaints about their challenges with government agencies at the port and land borders. 

The sixth step is the Introduction of policies and recommendations to the presidency on a regular basis for consideration and approval. This should be discussed at the level of the federal executive council meeting and also communicated to Nigerians after approval.

The seventh and the final step is to Implement the approved policies and programme by the presidency and the committee and a regular review of the progress and necessary modification for maximum impact. 

I strongly believe that if these proposed steps can be adopted and implemented by the president of Nigeria, we will definitely increase our rate of generation of foreign exchange and this will aid the speedy return of our dear nation to the most desired part of economic progress. 

For questions on this thought, you can reach me via email to

NEPC Zero Oil Plan For Nigeria

NEPC Non-Oil Export Growth Vision

Non Oil Export Sub-Sector Analysis In 2015