An economic analyst who is also the Senior Consultant/Chief Executive Officer, RTC Advisory Services Limited, Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje has counseled the federal government on the urgent need to devise policies and incentives that would promote the non-oil exports in Nigeria, as a way to stabilise the economy in the face of the present challenges.
Agbaje who gave the advise at forum organised by the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN titled: “Review of 2014 and Projections for 2015,”), in Lagos today, said the country though has achieved significant diversification in terms of local production and consumption, but yet not competitive in exports.
Speaking further, he said, “South Africa’s exports revenue is driven by South African companies such as MTN, DSTV, South African Breweries, and a lot of other companies, it is not the sale of commodity, So, the challenge for the Nigerian economy is for government to create policies and incentives that will allow our private sector to become exporters. If our export revenue was earned by thousands of Nigerian companies exporting their services, we would not collapse anytime the price of oil falls”.
Agbaje also advised on the need to resume full capacity refining of oil domestically and exporting it in order to add value to the oil and gas industry, pointing that ‘We should be one of the biggest exporters of refined petroleum products in the world.
“There are significant opportunities in Nigeria. If you look at the structure of Nigeria’s GDP, you will see that huge opportunities abound in Nigeria’ he observed.
He further added, “In terms of the structure of domestic production, we have done a good job of diversification, but the problem is that in terms of the structure of export and government revenue, we have not done enough.
“So, exports are still exclusively oil of about 90 per cent and government’s revenue comes from that sale of oil. So clearly, two things would happen, we would have to diversify exports and domestically, government would have to diversify its income which means to increase focus on tax”.
“From the point of business like I said earlier, there are still sectors that hold promise for significant growth. Look at the e-commerce space, look at Konga and Jumia and the growth that is going on in that sector, look at real estate which is now eight per cent of the economy, look at entertainment, which is the fastest growing sector in the Nigerian economy”.
“Look at some success in manufacturing around food, beverages and tobacco and cement, which has significant growth rate, look at hospitality, hotels, construction, all of which are growing above 12 per cent’ he observed.