Sunday, August 21, 2022

Mastering The Egyptian Market Under AfCFTA


 
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Friday, July 22, 2022

Mastering The Djibouti Market Under AfCFTA

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AfCFTA | Exploring Nigerian Export Potentials |-13-| Ebonyi

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Export Trade House: How The NEPC Can Make It A Success

The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has commenced a brilliant initiative which involves the establishment of Export Trade House (ETH) in different countries in Africa. Investopedia defined ETH as a business that specializes in facilitating transactions between a home country and foreign countries. Therefore, the goal of the NEPC in establishing the ETH in different countries is to facilitate the growth of non-oil export volume of the country, increase the share of Nigerian products in the targeted markets, create employment for citizens back home in Nigeria and increase foreign exchange inflows into the economy. This will be made possible through access to the market that will be made available to Nigeria businesses and their products by the ETH. 

 

According to the the  Chief Executive Officer of the NEPC, Dr Ezra Yakusak, the export trade houses were targeted at driving market access for Nigerian products. He also said that through the ETH in Cairo, Nigerian products would be shipped, warehoused, displayed and purchased in the North African country, stressing that the trade houses would enhance the visibility of made-in-Nigeria products outside the Nigerian shores, while reducing the cost of logistics on the Nigerian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). So far, the NEPC has established ETH in two locations which include Cairo in Egypt and Lome in Togo. The up coming locations include Nairobi, Kenya; Johannesburg, South Africa, Hunan in China; Ottawa in Canada; Dubai in UAE and Saudi Arabia. 

 

This is a laudable initiative that must succeed in order to help the country generate the export proceeds that is needed by manufacturers to purchase their raw materials and machineries from abroad. However, in order for ETH to be deemed successful, it must had led to the increase in the share of Nigerian products in the targeted markets, create employment for citizens and increase foreign exchange inflows into the economy. For this to happen, the NEPC must mandate its partners that are operating the ETH to focus on value added manufactured goods, provide market intelligence, made available the list of services it renders, provide the transactions dynamics of using its services and the cost of its services to the exporters.

 

It is important that the ETH operators are focussed on value added manufactured goods. This is because this is what will create the jobs locally and also increase the foreign exchange that the country will be able to earn from exportation. By focussing on Agric commodities, the country will be restricted to small markets size that commodities generally have when compared to finished products. For example, the total export market size for raw cocoa beans in the world is just about $9 billion while that of chocolate (a product in the value chain of cocoa) is about $30 billion. Also by processing raw cashew nuts to cashew kernel (which involves the removal of the shell) the price of the produce move from about $1,000 - $1,200 per MT to about $8,000 to $10,000 per MT. So the countries that makes the most money in the value chain of any commodity are those that add value to it. 

 

Also, the ETH needs to be mandated to provide export market intelligence for Nigerian businesses. This should be stated on their website and the address of this website should be made available to the exporting community (the link to the ETH website should be on the NEPC website). The export market intelligence that should be posted on their websites should include but not limited to the following: list of Nigerian products that have potentials in the export market where they operate, the range of competitive FOB price of these products, the annual volume of import of these items, the required certification and documentations for custom clearance, the packaging and labelling requirements, the quality specifications and the product variants/options that are most preferred by the consumers in the export market.

 

In addition to this, the ETH should also make available on their websites the list of services that it is going to be rendering to the Nigerian exporters in the export market. This is very necessary to help the exporters to be able to manage expectations. It is expected that the services of the ETH in the export market would include marketing Nigeria products using different platforms, closing sales and securing buyers, handling logistics of delivery to the warehouse, handles the warehousing arrangement in the export market, sourcing for custom brokers to do customs clearance and also handling debt collection from defaulting buyers in the export market. 

 

Furthermore, it is highly imperative for the ETH to provide on its website, the transactions dynamics (that is the step by step process) of using its services and the timeline or duration of the process. This will help the exporters to be able to know the progress being made on their transactions. This step by step processes should highlight what happens to the products from the point of engaging the services of the ETH to the point of arrival of the goods at the destination port, to the point of clearing, to the delivery to the warehouse, to the point of sales and receipt of payment for the exported items. 

 

Lastly and most important is the cost of the services of the ETH to the exporters. It is very important that the ETH operators are very transparent about on their fees and charges. This fee should be separately stated for each of the services that is being rendered by the ETH. This is to enable the exporters do their cost and benefit analysis in order to be able to know if the business will still be viable after the deduction of the payment due to the ETH. Since the ETH initiative is supported by a government agency like NEPC, it would be expected that the fees should be such that it makes the business to be profitable. This is because, the pricing that ensures high profitability will be an attraction for the exporters that would be using the service and this will consequently help the NEPC to achieve its goals. 

 

In conclusion, it is very important to commend the commitment of the management of the NEPC to the growth of non-oil export volume in Nigeria as seen in this ETH initiative of the council and many other export promotional programmes in the pipeline. It will be great also if the NEPC can adopt the recommendations made in this article. This will involve mandating the ETH operators to make available the required information as stated above. This is to give the exporting community enough information to enable them make informed decision when engaging the services of the ETH in the various markets where they have commenced operations. 

 

For the love of Nigeria, Africa and Mankind   

Bamidele Ayemibo (bayemibo@3timpex.com)  

Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Academy

Friday, July 15, 2022

Mastering The Cote D'Ivoire Market Under AfCFTA

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Saturday, July 9, 2022

CBN RT200 FX: How Bankers Can Attract More Export Customers

I have received so many calls from different bankers in recent times and what they are asking for is that I should assist them with export customers. They appear so desperate that they are ready to do whatever is legitimately necessary to get these customers. Then I will make recommendations to them on the what they need to begin to do I noticed one thing among all of them, they all become cold in their quest to get export customers. This is because they are used to the old ways of getting customers which involves simply offering an attractive financing proposal. What many bankers do not realize is that, customers are evolving and this is making them to demand beyond the traditional services that most bank will usually render to their customers. 

 

So, what should bankers be doing in order to attract more export customers to their banks? They need to begin to spend more energy, time and money to acquire skills needed to solve exporter’s problems and this will make most exporters (particularly the MSMEs) to be attractive to their banks. If the goal is to get the foreign exchange export proceeds, income and deposits from the exporters, then create value for them. To create this value for the export customers you must solve their problems, to solve their problems (through advisory services) then you need to become competent  (proven record of performance), to be competent, you need to acquire skills and to acquire skills you need to learn through training and certification programmes. In this regard I will recommend that you consider Certified Global Trade Management Professional from the American Institutes of Extended Studies (click here to download the brochure). 

 

One of errors bankers make in marketing trade customers is not focusing on solutions to the trade customer’s challenges. A banker that has been able to identify the challenges of export trade and acquires skills to solve these problems for them is at an advantage over those that cannot provide such solutions. Also, because a number of bankers do not know the pain points of exporters, they assume that the only problem is financing and therefore end up selling to them their financing products or services and for many new exporters this is a wrong service. Another error that bankers make in selling to export trade customers is marketing the pedigree of their bank. Focussing on how big your bank is, how many branches you have, your balance sheet size and profitability and how long you have being in existence is none of the business of the export customers. What he is interested in is how your bank help me to solve his business problems which must be beyond financing. 

 

It is also very important to note that focussing on existing export customers will not take the bankers anywhere in the achievement of their goal under the RT200 FX programme. This is because the total number of exporters available in Nigeria who are actively exporting as at 2021 is just about 1,500 businesses. Bankers therefore need to begin to think creatively by encouraging and supporting the commencement of export businesses by companies that are in desperate need of foreign exchange. There are businesses that are very hungry for foreign exchange. They will do anything possible to get dollars, euros and pounds in order to keep their businesses afloat. Chief among these set of businesses are the importers of goods and services. They (particularly the importers of goods) have so much Naira to purchase foreign exchange in order to pay their import bills. They are partially ready for export business because their knowledge of importation of goods already exposed them to documentation and payment methods in international trade. This therefore makes it easy for them to setup a special purpose vehicle to do export business in order to generate foreign exchange to fund their import business. 

 

The fact there are a lot of businesses that are planning to go into export business to generate their foreign exchange has made the need for banks to render advisory services to become highly imperative. This is because these new entrants into export business needs support services to enable them get started and make it a success. This therefore gives a bank that have developed export desk that renders support services to exporters a competitive advantage over their peers in the industry. What makes lack of support service a great weakness in a bank as far as marketing export customers are concerned is the fact that they are unable to solve exporter’s problems. This means they will not be able to create value for export customers and consequently they will be unable to attract the export customers to give them the much desired income and deposits in foreign exchange.

 

As a sales person, your effectiveness is seen in being able to understand the customer’s needs and then prescribe which of your solutions will be able to solve the customer’s problems. This question must be asked in such a manner that it enables the exporter to talk about other areas of challenges beyond financing needs. In asking exporters these questions as a banker, you will realize that their problems are much more than just funding to grow their businesses. Being able to ask the right questions to identify the exporter’s problems and also solve these problems through export business support and advisory services helps the banker to create value for the export customers. This will consequently leads to attracting customers to the bank and thereby helping the bank to grow its foreign exchange deposits from the export proceeds of the customers.

 

Finally, it is important to state that there are few exporters in Nigeria and all of them are being chased by different banks that want their export transactions. To win in this competition for exporters, a bank and its staff needs to go beyond the traditional service of just financing the export customers to rendering support services to solve the exporter’s problem. This should be the main conversation in their marketing communication and in selling the value they create to the export customers. This is what will create a sustainable competitive advantage over the current fierce competition to get export proceeds in the industry. 

 

For the love of Nigeria, Africa and Mankind   

Bamidele Ayemibo (bayemibo@3timpex.com)  

Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Academy


 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Mastering The Congo Republic Market Under AfCFTA

 

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Saturday, July 2, 2022

CBN RT200 FX: Overcoming The Challenge of Export Readiness


In recent times, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have stepped up their efforts to increase the inflow of non-oil export proceeds into the country through different initiatives which include the RT200 FX programme and Export For Survival Conference respectively. I will like to therefore commend the efforts of the NEPC and the CBN for the different policies and initiatives that your esteemed organisation has put together on behalf of the federal government to grow the non-oil export volume from Nigeria. 
 
However, having been in this sector as a practitioner, trainer and consultant for almost two decades, I have observed that beyond the obvious factors that militate against the growth of non-oil export, there are other important and critical factors that many are not aware of. This has to do with the issue of export readiness on the part of the business that wants to go global with its products. This explains the reason why thousands of businesses register as exporters and get export certificate from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council every year but only a few businesses have been able to export every year and this was just about 1,500 businesses in 2021. 
 
The concept of export readiness has been grossly neglected in our drive to grow non-oil export as a country and this has made most of the efforts of the federal government not to yield the desired results over the years. This was the motivation that made me to embark on a Ph.D. research at the LIGS university in America titled “Critical Evaluation of Nigerian Firms' Readiness for African  Continental Free Trade Area”. Through this research I was able to identify signs and symptoms of lack of export readiness in a business. In addition to this, I was also able to isolate the readiness criteria for evaluating a business for successful and sustainable export business.
 
As a matter of fact, this criteria was used to design a model that was deployed to evaluate about 120 businesses across Nigeria and they include large corporates and SMEs. The results showed that only about 3% of the businesses in the country were export ready while about 66% are almost ready. The almost ready exporters explain the reason why some businesses start to export but drop out of the business after a few shipments. The export drop out phenomenon is a very common occurrence among many businesses in Nigeria and this has kept the number of successful and sustainable exporters in Nigeria to be under 1,500 companies for many years.
 
To achieve the RT200 FX programme of the CBN in the next 5 years, Nigeria needs to grow the number of exporters from the current level of about 1,500 companies to about 10,000 and also support them to grow their export volumes per annum. However, the results of the export readiness assessment done on Nigerian businesses showed that many of them are not ready to go global with their products. This goes a long way to show that, if Nigerian banks are going to be able to achieve the goal of the RT200 FX programme of the CBN, they would need to incorporate a support service on export readiness assessment and advisory among other support services that the export desk needs to render to new businesses that are coming to explore the opportunities in the export sector. 
 
Finally, it is also important to state that there is an online export readiness assessment tool that can be used by businesses to evaluate their readiness for the export market. This is necessary for them to know the areas of readiness where they have skill gaps and deficiencies which need to be covered before they embark upon. This service is free and the readiness assessment report will be delivered to them in 24 hours. The export readiness assessment tool can be assessed via this link (Click Here)  
 

For the love of Nigeria, Africa and Mankind  

Bamidele Ayemibo (bayemibo@3timpex.com)

Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Academy  

Saturday, June 25, 2022

CBN RT200 FX: Resolving Quality Issues Of Nigerian Agro Products Exports

Nigeria is a country that has a very huge potential to generate foreign exchange from its numerous solid minerals and Agricultural products but this has been largely hindered by high level of mortality rate of the export business. One of the major reason for this high level of dropout of the business is the huge losses incurred from the export of low quality products. Most of the products that have quality issues are largely Agro commodities and solid minerals in the primary state. Many businesses have lost money due to exportation of low-quality products either due to total rejection of the goods leading to no payment or partial rejection of the goods leading to payment of only a small fraction of the expected export proceeds. 

 

The federal ministry of industry, trade and investment recently set up a committee to address this problem and this article is aimed at making some recommendations to this committee. I will strongly recommend to this committee that the focus should not just be on the supply side but also on the demand side. If the focus is only on getting the farmers to produce good quality products, this will be futile because no matter the effort being made on the supply side, if the demand side is still buying low quality products produced by the farmers then there will be no incentives for the farmers to embrace the good agricultural practices that will make the quality of their products to be ready for the export markets 

 

There are many reasons for the quality issues associated with commodities leaving Nigeria and hence the consequent rejection of the products at the destination market. Some of the reasons for the quality issues plaguing Nigerian commodity export include ignorance of the quality requirements among the exporters, ignorance of good agricultural practices among the farmers producing the commodities, lack of readiness for export business leading to lack of systems and structure in place to ensure strict adherence to expected quality standards, lack of quality inspection before procurement, wrong packaging of the goods in transit, lack of quality standards benchmark for any commodity that is leaving the country, lack of enforcement team to ensure that whatever is leaving the country as export conforms to the standard and the focus on the export of raw materials (which is more prone to quality issues) rather than value added product.

 

Ignorance is a major challenge that is causing many Nigerian businesses to export low quality products. Many businesses are only interested in the transactions and profit thereof and not the processes involved. This makes them to fund the export of products that they do not even understand the quality specifications let alone ensuring quality control before shipment. To solve this problem, I will recommend that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) commence an export orientation programme for the new company applying for the export certificate for the first time. This should be done in batches in the NEPC offices across the country every month. This will create an avenue to educate new exporters on the importance of quality specifications and the consequences of not adhering to these quality specifications. 

 

The ignorance factor leading to low quality products is not just only peculiar to the exporters, it is also an issue among the farmers producing these commodities. Most of the farmers in the country are very old people who are used to a particular way of cultivating their crops. As they say, old habits die hard. This has made it difficult for these farmers to change the way they go about their farming practices. Even when they have been taught, the additional cost of implementing good agricultural practices coupled with the fact that there are people ready to buy their substandard produce have made them to continue in their old ways. To solve this problem, the government should not just train the farmers but also incentivize them by giving them funds and inputs (where necessary) to reduce the cost of implementing the good agricultural practices. The government should also guarantee off takers by linking them up with exporters that will buy the farm produce upon harvest and other necessary processing like drying.

 

Another factor leading to the export of low quality commodities from Nigeria is the lack of readiness for the businesses for the export market. This is manifested through lack of structure (people) and systems (processes) in place to ensure strict adherence to expected quality standards. This means that even though the exporter is aware of the required quality specifications, he will keep buying and exporting substandard Agro commodities and this is because the business does not have what it takes to ensure strict adherence to these specifications. To solve this problem, there is need for capacity building for the exporters on how to build structure and systems that will guarantee quality control in commodity procurement. 

 

The fact that some exporters buy their Agro commodities blindly from the farm gate, local buying agents and commodity merchant without quality inspection prior to procurement is a another major reason for the export of substandard commodities. Sometimes, such goods arrive at the port and loaded into the container without quality inspection. Most of the time, the exporter gets to know that the goods are defective when the goods arrive at the port terminal or warehouse and the inspection agent carry out the pre-shipment inspection. At this time it is already too late to return the goods, the exporter then begins to look for other buyers who will accept the low quality but such goods are often rejected at the border of the destination country of the new buyer. To solve this problem, the government should support interested private sectors businesses to setup quality inspection companies in every local governments or senatorial districts where the exportable Agro commodities are produced in large volume. 

 

Another issue that leads to the shipment of low quality of goods being exported from Nigeria is the way the produce are handled after harvest and this is of referred to as post-harvest handling. The challenge of post-harvest handling is manifested in the environmental conditions that the produce are exposed to during processing (like drying, slicing, fermentation etc), wrong packaging and the ambience created for the goods while at the warehouse or in the container while in transit from the supplier’s warehouse to the port of loading or from the port of loading to destination port. To overcome this challenge, both the farmers and the exporters need capacity building in handling their Agro commodities (like the use of the right type of bags, container dressing, use of desiccant to absorb moisture in transit etc.) after harvesting in order to preserve the quality of the product till it arrives at the destination 

 

The focus of the country on the export of raw commodities (which are more prone to quality issues) rather than value added products will make the challenge of the export of substandard commodities to remain with us for a very long time. Apart from the fact that the export of substandard goods gives the country a bad name and image around the world, it also makes the country to earn very little amount of export proceeds from this export. To put an end to the exportation of low quality commodities from Nigeria, the government must be ready to put an end to the exportation raw commodities in their primary form. However before this is done, the government should create enabling environment and provide the necessary supports to aid the processing of the commodities into secondary or tertiary forms

 

Nigeria does not currently have a minimum quality specifications for any Agro products leaving the country and hence there is no enforcement at the port of exit. This means no matter how bad the quality of product is, it will be allowed to be shipped out of Nigeria because there no system put in place to stop such shipment. It is important to state that setting a minimum benchmark of quality specification for any item (particularly Agricultural produce) to be shipped from the country and putting a system in place to enforce it at the port of exit is one of the viable solutions to putting an end to the shipment of substandard commodities out of the country. As a matter of fact the stoppage of the shipment of substandard goods will make exporters to demand quality goods from their suppliers and this will make the suppliers to demand quality goods from the farmers. All these will consequently make the the farmers to begin to adhere to good agricultural practices in order not to loose their customers. To solve this problem, the government have to agree with the stakeholders in the sector, the minimum benchmark for quality of all exportable Agro commodities in the country. The enforcement should be done by a team that should include the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Federal Produce Inspection Service (FPIS) and the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS).

 

This article has highlighted my recommendations to the committee already setup by the minister of trade industry and investment to provide solutions to the menace of rejection of Nigerian commodities in the export market. I strongly believe that If the solutions suggested in this write up can be given consideration with necessary modifications, it will make the solutions to be recommended  by the committee to be robust enough to finally put an end to the shipment of substandard Agro commodities from Nigeria.

 

For the love of Nigeria, Africa and Mankind  

Bamidele Ayemibo (bayemibo@3timpex.com)

Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Consulting    

Monday, June 20, 2022

Mastering The Democratic Republic of Congo Market Under AfCFTA

 

                       

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Saturday, June 18, 2022

Biannual Non-Oil Export Summit: Feedback For CBN & Banker's Committee

The RT200 FX programme is an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the goal is to generate a total sum of $200 billion in non-oil export proceeds within the next 3-5years. This programme has  5 pillars and one of them is the biannual non-oil export summit. In line with the implementation of the five pillars of the RT200 FX programme of the CBN, the bankers committee together with the management of CBN have organized the maiden edition of the biannual non-oil summit which held at EKO Hotel on June 16, 2022. 

 

This is a promise keep by the CBN Governor and this initiative is commendable and a step in the right direction. A number of issues were raised and recommendations made at this event. All the ideas shared at the event will definitely contribute to the growth of the sector and achievement of the target set if they are well implemented. However, a few observations were made regarding the event which are being highlighted in this article. If these suggestions are put into consideration at the next event, it will enrich the outcomes of the conference and thereby speeding up the race towards the set target of $200 billion.

 

The first observation is the fact that the programme was seen by participants as a type of monologue. This is because even though there were many participants at the event, the participants were not allowed to participate. After the presentation and discussion by the panelists, only the CBN Governor was allowed to make comment on each of the panel session. The fact that the views and opinion of many stakeholders were not heard, makes the discussions at the programme not to be robust enough to enable the policy makers to take an informed decision. This also makes the programme to be unable to gather enough ideas and wisdom available in the audience and these are seriously needed to solve the problems being encountered in the sector. 

 

The lack of participation of the participants in the discussion is not good for the CBN at all because it did not allow the CBN Governor to hear the pain points of the exporters who are the ones doing the shipments that will generate the export proceeds and therefore help in achieving this laudable initiative of the RT200 FX programme. It also prevented the CBN Governor from hearing first hand from the exporters the challenges that many of them are having with the deposit money banks. As a matter of fact some participants are of the opinion that, the programme was done to fulfil all righteousness and not because the apex bank was ready to solve the problem, since they were not allowed to speak at the event. However, this opinion is not correct because the CBN has started the disbursement under the rebate scheme which is a demonstration of the commitment of the CBN Governor to make the RT200 FX programme a success. This kind of insinuation could have been avoided if the participants were allowed to contribute at the event.

 

Another issue raised about the programme which I saw on an exporter’s WhatsApp platform few days after the event was about the presentations made by the Managing Directors of banks before each panel session. The participants said “I attended. But, I must say, it was more of CEOs of the Banks trying to justify themselves where export are concerned than the real thing.” Another participants in a conversation said, that “the bank MD’s presentation were used as an opportunity to make their own request to the CBN and get the CBN Governor to meet their needs because they are not interested in helping exporters to solve their problems”. He also went further to say that “ some of the request in those presentation could have been made at the bankers committee meeting rather at such event”. 

 

It was also observed that there was no serious discussion around SMEs participation in export business and this was seen in the export businesses that were represented in the panel (only the large corporates made it to the panel). With the number of SMEs operating in Nigeria, the race to the $200 billion will be a lot easier to achieve if they are given the necessary support to increase their current export volume. Also, there was no discussion about the need and how to grow the number of export businesses in the country. This is very important in order to reduce the average export volume that needs to be done by each exporters in order to achieve a total export proceeds volume of $40 billion per annum and $200 billion in 5 years. Another observation was that discussion on the exportation of processed solid minerals was conspicuously missing. If not for the panelists that spoke about recycling, the programme would have been completed without anything being said on metal export despite the huge potential of processed minerals generating export proceed for the economy. 

 

Finally, the good news about the summit is that it is going to be a biannual event, so there is room for improvement. Also, since the CBN is committed to making this vision a reality, it is expected that lessons learnt from this maiden edition is going to be put into consideration and necessary correction made ahead of the next event which is expected to hold later this year or early next year. Lastly, it is important to congratulate the CBN Governor and his management team plus the banker’s committee for successfully hosting the maiden edition of the biannual non-oil export summit which is a major pillar in the actualization of the RT200 FX programme.

 

For the love of Nigeria, Africa and Mankind 

Bamidele Ayemibo (bayemibo@3timpex.com)

Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Consulting    

Sunday, June 12, 2022

How Nigerian Banks Can Setup A Viable Export Desk


In the last article on the RT200 FX programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The need for banks to setup a viable export was emphasized and this is because, this desk is the engine room that will empower the drive to grow the non-oil export volume of the banks. A viable export desk is a market facing export desk that conceive, design, development and deploy the right products and services needed to grow the non-oil export volume of the bank. To be able to achieve the goal for which it is set up, the export desk must have the right structure, right systems, right staffing, right strategies and right services. 

 

The RT200 FX programme is forcing many banks that hitherto do not have a market facing export desk in the country to begin to have one. However the way they are going about setting up this unit will  make the desk to only be full of motions in different different but without any movement towards the desired goal. This is because the people setting up the unit in the banks do not have a proper understanding of the sector and the needs of the players and stakeholders therein. As a matter of fact, some of the unit operate like doctor that prescribed a mist mag (a drug for ulcer patients) to a patient that is suffering from typhoid fever. There is a total disconnect between the offerings of most banks and their export desks and the needs of the exporters they are prospecting. 

 

A viable export desk needs to have the right structure. This simply means an organogram showing the sub units in this department, their various reporting lines and their functions. An export desk with the right structure therefore is the one that has not just have a subunit that implement the development and deployment of export finance products and another subunits for marketing and export trade sales to attract more export customers but also have additional subunits for support services needed to attract the micro, small and medium scale exporters. It also shows an affiliate subunits of the export desk at the branch, zonal or regional level.

 

A viable export desk needs to have the right system in place. Having a right system involves having a working document that enables any new staff deployed to the unit to know what exactly his responsibilities will be as a contributor to the achievement of the overall goals of the unit. This document would highlight the functions of each subunits, the job description of the personnel in each of the subunits and the step by step business operations and processes involved in the execution of the tasks to be performed by each of the subunits. 

 

A viable export desk needs to have the right staffing in place. Having the right structure and systems is not enough if an export desk do not have the right personnel to manage each of the subunits, it is as good as not having the system and structures. There is a major challenge with getting the right personnel in the industry because of a very high level of export skill gap among the the bankers. This is mainly due to many years of neglect of the non-oil export sector. In order to be able to have the right personnel to manage this unit, management of banks need to first of all do an internal sourcing of staff that currently handle import transactions in both trade operations and marketing units of the bank. This should be followed by a thorough capacity building in export business management and export trade finance. These trainings are available online from American Institute of Extended Studies.

 

A viable export desk needs to have the right strategies and services in place. The interesting part of these two features of a viable export desk is that the two of them go together. This is because designing the right strategies will lead the deployment of the right services to implement the strategies. That is having the right structure, right systems and right staffing in place makes it easy  for the staff to design the right strategies which are implemented through the right services. The right strategies and the right services revolves around export customers acquisition, export customers support support services and export customers financing. 

 

Finally, it is important to state that, despite having an export desk, the reason why many banks have not been able to get the desired results, which is an appreciable growth in non-oil export volume, since the commencement of the RT200 FX programme is because, the export desk is not set up to be able to have what it takes (right structure, right systems, right staffing, right strategies and right services.) to function and succeed. The good news is that there are consulting services available to help the banks set up a viable export desk and the details can be found via this link (Click Here).

 

For the love of Nigeria, Africa and Mankind 

Bamidele Ayemibo (bayemibo@3timpex.com)

Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Academy