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 (

Lead Consultant, 3T Impex Trade Academy 

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