The Managing Director of Nigeria Export Import Bank, Mr Roberts Orya, said the bank was committed to creating market access for non- oil made-in-Nigeria products through support financing and building capacity among Nigerian producers.
Speaking on the efforts of the current management at repositioning the bank to deliver on its mandate, Orya said as the trade policy bank of Nigeria, with the mandate "to diversify the country away from oil," what he met on ground on resumption as the managing director was a dilapidated bank as there was no good corporate governance structure. "Dividend was last paid in 2003, but in 2010, we paid dividends and even made a profit of N189million."
He explained: "We do not get money from the Federation Account, what we get from our shareholders is by way of equity, and when you have equity investment in a company, you must pay dividend. Over the years, dividends were not paid, our money has opportunity cost, so if you cannot invest in NEXIM, it can be deployed elsewhere for the benefit of Nigerians."
Orya further said that as the apex trade policy bank of the largest economy in the subregion, he was worried by the deplorable state of the bank, which was not unconnected to the over-reliance on the oil sector which had rendered Nigerians lazy. But crude oil he noted "will be exhausted someday."
He asked, "How many people are employed by the oil sector, what is the contribution of oil to GDP? Some African countries have discovered oil now and can go into penetration pricing to penetrate the oil market." According to the bank boss, "On assumption of work at NEXIM we asked why Nigerian trade in the subregion was not being enhanced and formalised as you have in South Africa, moreso that much of the products in West Africa are from Nigeria, but not acknowledged. South Africa has minimal informal trade because there are statistics to show trade activities in South Africa, but if you go to Kano you will find people that have been trading there for years but there are no statistical data to show this, yet Nigeria is more endowed than South Africa in solid minerals.
"We discovered we needed to segregate our market into two-traditional and non-traditional-just as other EXIM banks were doing. We also found out that we had issues with the standard of our products and we have been building the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises in this area. He explained that the bank had since committed to formalising Nigeria's commercial activities in the subregional market, deepen the payment system to fast-track trade and ultimately make Nigerian exports more competitive.
He also said he changed the culture of intervening in the oil sector, considering the bank's clear mandate to move the economy away from crude oil.
We came up with four distinct sectors-manufacturing, Agro processing, solid minerals and services and with the key performance indicators we all signed up to, the bank is reformed to take export trade to the desired height.