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Nigeria needs to become export-oriented

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By Mercy Kelani

Excessive importation has wreaked havoc in the Nigerian economy.

The Federal Government was implored to initiate a practical plan for the increase of Nigerian exports to stop the dependability of Nigerians on the importation of goods. At the 2023 summit, organised by City Business News in Lagos State, some stakeholders stated that the Nigerian economy has experienced havoc caused by the rage of importation over the years. The chairperson of Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT), Khadijat Ifelola Sheidu-Shabi, spoke on the theme “Repositioning Nigerian Economy: 2023 and Beyond”.

She stated that there should be an initiation of a transition from being an import-dependent to export-oriented economy through thorough evaluation. Sheidu-Shabi mentioned that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should be taken advantage of and used judiciously by the nation and women for maximization of opportunities for the benefit of the economy of the nation. She added that there is an ongoing development of export terminals, which are also growing. Also, dependence on importation should be reduced while exportation should be promoted in the country.

Government should address the challenges of insecurity.

More so, she emphasized that the weakness of the Nigerian economy is evident in importation, which is also apparent in the importation of tissue paper. Emphatically, she said that Nigerians should ensure to be optimistic, although there are challenges in the country. She charged the people to remember that they are survivors. Also, she noted that the people should be optimistic about the removal of fuel subsidy, which is hoped to enhance economic development. She mentioned that insecurity, forex liberalization and Subsidy removal have been the key challenges in the country.

Sheidu-Shabi announced that Nigerians are diligent and hard-working people. She compared the challenges in Nigeria to other countries, referencing the agility and unity of Nigerians to survive and stay focused and optimistic throughout their struggles. She implored the government to address the challenges of insecurity in the country to establish a healthy and safe space for Nigerians to trade and farm, in order to produce agricultural products. The principal partner of Justicia Legal Practitioners and former executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, highlighted that lack of proper planning is the major issue of the country.

Major problem faced by the country is the idea of planning.

According to Bello, in the ’80s, Apapa ports were built, however, it was never planned that the Nigerian population will grow so rapidly. As a result, there were abandoned railways and there were no good roads for transportation. He stated that Nigeria is known for the abandonment of its rail system, across the globe. Thus, trillions of naira was lost by Nigeria due to the usage of the road as the only means of transportation because there was congestion at the ports state, opening more challenges on ports.

Furthermore, he commented on the abandoned rail in the state. He questioned the disconnection of the rail to the ports, which is also the case in Lekki. He announced that the major problem and issue faced by the state is the idea of planning, which has been missing in the process. The group managing director of the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Oscar Onyema, declared that the economic situation in the country has led to the demand for the rapid exploration of other options to attract investors and generate revenue at international and local levels.

New avenues for economic development can be unlocked.

Additionally, he stated that the creation of enormous opportunities for investors are the major key areas that would enhance economy, especially in the capital market. Also, new avenues for economic development and growth can be unlocked through investment in the capital markets, which promotes opportunities in the nation. He reinforced that a platform for businesses and government to get funds is referred to as the capital market. Hence, there is accessibility to funds from different investors, which ensures creation of new job opportunities, innovation and expansion in the economic market.

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