By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has advised the Federal Government to step up its efforts to increase exports from Nigeria to address the scarcity of foreign exchange (forex) in the country.
Speaking at the RT 200 non-oil export summit hosted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Lagos on Thursday, Sanwo-Olu said the country has enough resources to trade currencies with other country.
According to him, Nigeria should shift its focus away from oil and gas and focus on agricultural products, solid minerals, chemicals, furniture and garments as well as tourism among others, noting that a situation in which the energy sector consistently accounts for the bulk of government revenues and foreign exchange revenues were not ideal.
During the themed event Definition of the roadmap towards the realization of the RT200 and non-oil exports for development, the governor stressed that “there is much we can do to strengthen the naira and our external reserves by focusing on our non-oil exports. This diversification also protects us from the severe shock of depending on a limited pool of exports.
He praised the apex bank for coming up with the $200 billion FX program (RT200), an initiative aimed at generating around $200 billion in foreign exchange revenue, especially from non-oil sources, over the next few years. .
“I am aware that so far the central bank has approved the payment of billions of naira to over 100 exporters who have taken advantage of the program and increased their non-oil exports of finished goods and
semi-finished products corresponding to it.
“I have no doubt that this program will go from strength to strength and exceed the expectations of the Central Bank and the Nigerian economy. I urge exporters to take advantage of it without delay. I also urge the central bank to continue to refine and strengthen this process, while thinking of new and innovative initiatives that will achieve similar results,” Governor Sanwo-Olu said.
He took the opportunity to inform the guests that his administration was working to improve “the state of transportation infrastructure, to enable imports and exports, and generally to reduce the cost of doing business.”
“When goods for export get stuck on the roads and can’t get to ports, we have a big problem on our hands. The economy pays a heavy price for these dysfunctions, at all levels – from small to
from the big companies whose goods are exported, to the people who export, to the users of our roads who have to lose precious time in traffic jams because of the worsening traffic jams.
“It is therefore our responsibility as governments to ensure that we make the export (and also import) business as transparent as possible. Nigeria has so much potential to increase its exports from from an overreliance on oil and gas to agricultural products, solid minerals, chemicals, furniture, clothing, etc. the exchange does not have to minimize the importance of exports.