Olusegun Awolowo, the Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, says Nigeria lost more than $100 billion of national export revenues between 2015 to 2017 due to the crash in oil prices.
Awolowo spoke in Abuja on Wednesday at a roundtable and exhibition on export competency development programme.
He said: “The recent recession was due to a 30 to 40 billion dollars annual deficit in Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
“Nigeria must replace these lost export revenues in order to sustain economic growth, stabilise the naira, sustain federal and state government income and boost employment.”
Awolowo said the council’s goal was to grow Nigeria’s non-oil export revenues from 1.5 trillion naira per annum to five trillion naira within three to four years and more than 10 trillion naira over the longer term.
He said the council was collaborating with Centre for the Development of Imports to stimulate Small and Medium Enterprises in low and middle-income countries to gain access to the European market.
Awolowo said CBI Export Competency Development Programme was also to offer SMEs the capacity to add value to their products to attract higher margins and ability for their supplies to be more in line with European demand.
According to him, adding value to raw materials does not only create higher margins but also generate more income and jobs.
He said that the collaboration started in 2016 after identifying three sectors – cocoa, cashew and sesame – as those with immense potential in the European market.
Awolowo said that export outlook in 2017 showed some positive developments.
He said: “In cashew for example, a lot of cashew plantations with jumbo varieties are springing up.
“From a raw cashew production of about 150,000 tonnes, 15,000 tonnes are processed in Nigeria which is just 10 per cent.
“In 2016 to 2017 a tonne of raw cashew nut is sold at a maximum of 1,800 dollars while cashew kernels WW 320 is sold between nine dollars and 10 dollars per pound which is up to 22 dollars per kilo.”
Awolowo added that Nigeria was currently the third largest exporter of sesame after India and Sudan.
He said that the cocoa sector suffered a setback in 2017 but the longer term prospects were positive and the country need to be in position to take advantage of that opportunity.
He said: “Findings from empirical studies conducted by the council in collaboration with the Applied Management Research Team 10 of the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2017, confirmed that Nigeria can actually earn about 1.3 billion dollars yearly revenue by 2025.
“The value chain development in the cocoa sector has great prospects in the export markets.”
James Fitzpatrick, CBI Natural Ingredients and Oilseeds expert coach, said exporters failed because they underestimate the task.
Fitzpatrick said other reasons were due to unclear goals, poor or no market research, poor customer selection, communication and management.
He said that the objective of the programme was for the council to understand the principle of export development and market to enable it to implement a system for sustainable activity in export development.
According to him, CBI is expert in export development and promotion to Europe.
He said that the best tools to consider in export were to have export marketing plan, action plan, self-audit and customer profiling tool.
Fitzpatrick said that opportunity for Nigeria in processing and export would enable the country to generate 300 million dollars per annum in export sales.
He said it would also create 100,000 jobs with food safe primary processing industry, security and sustainability for farm families.