FG begins process to standardise exports
Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, has announced Federal Government’s plans to begin to enhance processes that would make the country’s produce meet internationally acceptable export standards and boost lean foreign exchange earnings.
The renewed commitment is coming about after a year that the European Union banned some food exports from Nigeria for not meeting with standards until authorities provide substantial guarantees on an adequate official export control system.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday at the 2016 Diaspora Conference, Adeosun equally reiterated calls for confidence in the improving quality of Nigerian made goods as she urged citizens to patronise locally made goods wherever they find them.
Oil and gas exports account for almost 90 percent of Nigeria’s export earnings and over 80 percent of federal government revenue.
But at 821.9 billion, Nigeria’s crude oil earnings slumped by 716.7 billion or 46.6 percent in first quarter of 2016, intensifying pressure on government to look to the country’s struggling non-oil sector.
“As part of our diversification, we will be exporting more of your staple foods and we are working to retool our customs, quarantine and other services to focus on export. We are the largest component of African Diaspora, so where available look for and purchase Nigerian made goods,” she stated.
Adeosun also called on Nigerians in the Diaspora to see the current economic realities in the country as good opportunities for them to participate actively in the ongoing efforts to reposition the nation’s economy.
She described Diaspora as a part of the Nigerian Community, which has a key role to play at this critical time. “What Nigeria needs now is Economic Patriotism that will support this administration’s efforts to reposition the economy.”
“We must never become so comfortable abroad that we forget or worse still despise our roots. Rebuilding Nigeria is an important mission for the next generation, who deserve the chance of a Nigeria that provides opportunities for them,” she stated.
She told them that other Diaspora communities retain strong links to their motherland and “we must do so in order to retain the fabric of our families and our value system.”
Calling on them not to lose confidence in their country, Adeosun stated that the “most important measure that attracts remittances is the confidence that you have in Nigeria’s future.
“The Diaspora in other nations have been nation builders, it starts with a mind-set that Nigeria is a nation we are proud of to do this we must put aside present frustrations and resist the temptation to speak negatively but rather proffer suggestions and volunteer to be part of the solution.
Speaking on measures being put in place to ensure the safety of remittances to beneficiaries in the country, the Minister said improved mechanisms have been put in place to continue to ensure that funds reach their intended recipients.
These measures, according to her, include a combination of the introduction of a more flexible exchange rate, which closes the gap between official and parallel market rates on one hand, and the improved technology and e-payments systems as are being advocated for use in the Federal Government’s recently introduced Social Welfare Programme.
She assured the Diaspora community that government is committed to pursuing an inclusive growth based on our traditional values of hard work, honesty and fair play.
“For too long we have spoken about the potential of Nigeria and very little has been done. I am very pleased to tell you that despite our current challenge Nigerians are like never before looking inwards to identify and exploit long abandoned opportunities that will lead to long-term growth.
“As painful as it is today, it is gratifying to be discussing with Governors across the nation who are exploiting their God given endowments rather than waiting for their monthly share of oil revenues in the form of FAAC.
“From rice growing in Kebbi, Ebonyi and Ogunto the commercial exports of vegetables from Anambra, to the exploit of solid minerals in Bauchi Nigeria is waking up and frontally addressing its challenges.
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