March 27, 2018 1:31 am
The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) is supporting exporters in Edo and Ondo States with N5bn under the Niger-Delta Development Fund.
The Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is implementing N500bn Export Stimulation Facility and the N50 billion Export Development Fund.
As part of its nationwide export diversification campaign, NEXIM bank visited the two States recently, seeking to boost access to finance by exporters while supporting the industrialization drive in the state in Edo.
The Bank offered partnership opportunities to cocoa projects and other commodity exporters in Ondo State to promote value added exports.
Stella Okotete, Executive Director, Business Development, who led the team of senior management of the Bank, noted that Cocoa was a leading non-oil export commodity from Nigeria and that since Ondo State was a major Cocoa producing area, it goes without saying that the Bank should seek partnership opportunities in the state to enhance value addition and increase non-oil export revenues. She noted that currently the country exports predominantly raw cocoa beans, while at the same time spending much more than its revenue to import chocolates and other finished products, adding that the Bank was eager to reverse the trend and in the process enhance jobs and increase export revenues.
While thanking the Executive Director and other members of the visiting team, the Edo governor observed that the visit by the NEXIM officials was timely and apt, coming at a time when the state was developing its Industrial Parks and Deep sea Port to promote industrialization and economic diversification. The Governor noted that Edo State has the largest on-shore gas resources and that given its central location, the state is quite strategic to export trade. He noted that the State is now doing its best to develop the requisite infrastructure to facilitate trade.
Following the exchange of views with the State Governor on on-going projects, the Executive Director noted that there was a wide scope for collaboration and partnership between Edo State and NEXIM Bank and that the Bank could facilitate the drive to attract foreign investment and increase access to long term concessionary funds through its relationship with other EXIM Banks and Bilateral/Multilateral financial institutions.
Speaking at an interactive session with exporters and members of the orgnaised private sector, the Executive Director informed the audience that the Bank is now receiving applications under the N500bn Export Stimulation Facility (ESF), which the Bank is implementing with the Central Bank of Nigeria and that the Fund has been created to provide long term facilities to exporters at single digit interest rate. She also mentioned the N50billion Export Development Fund (EDF), of which at least N1billion has been earmarked for each state of the federation for the purpose of supporting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), operating along the export value chain, explaining further that about N3bn has also been set aside under a special scheme designed for women and youth.
The Executive Director intimated that to enhance support for the Niger-Delta region, a Niger-Delta Development Fund has been established in partnership with the Niger-Delta Development Commission, with a seed fund of N5bn to promote export oriented projects. She called on exporters in Ondo State to take advantage of this Fund as well, being the only Niger-Delta State in the South West.