• Amend 1989 Export Prohibition Act to boost non-oil export,

    Amend 1989 export prohibition act to boost non-oil export - nigeria newspapers online
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    By Merit Ibe, [email protected] 

    Experts have advocated that boosting the country’s non-oil export  will drive  growth and diversification from oil.

    They also called on the federal government to amend the 1989 Export Prohibition Act to increase non-oil revenue.

    The stakeholders who spoke on the theme;  Export-Unfriendly Policies: Implication for Nigeria Economy”  organised by the Talking Trade and Investment Global (TATRIG), pointed out that the 34-year-old Act is restricting the export of some agricultural commodities.

    They said the Act is limiting lots of export activities and investments in the yam, cassava, beans, maize and rice value chains and their derivatives despite being leading producers of some of these crops.

    Convener of TATRIG and an expert on export policies,  Olufemi Boyede,  said boosting the country’s non-oil export is the solution to driving growth and divesting from oil.

    Boyede noted that making policies that work for non-oil export is the place to start the process. He added that non-oil exports need to be prioritised as a solution to boost the country’s foreign exchange revenue, emphasising that the blatant banning of some agricultural commodities is not the solution to Nigeria’s food insecurity.

    On her part, Chief Executive, Dasun Integrated Farms Limited, Bosun Solarin, said while this policy might be a short-term solution to the nation’s food crisis, it cannot be incorporated long-term.

    She advised that no country should depend on only one revenue medium as Nigeria  relies only on oil.

    “Nigeria is not doing me a favour as a non-oil exporter. I am the one doing the country a favour by contributing to its FX,” she said.

    Solarin, who is also a farmer, added that the country is in more need of the revenue accrued from non-oil exportation, so, placing a ban on the exportation of certain agricultural items would not bring growth to Africa’s biggest nation.

    “Every country must engage in import and export and if Nigeria bans agric export, is the country then supporting importation that would put more strain on the little forex that it has?” she queried.

    A lawyer at Stren & Blan Partners, Marvis Oduogu,  called for the amendment of the Act of 1989 to allow the export of value-added products derived from yam, beans and cassava.

    He said it would be a step towards diversifying the country’s revenue stream, reducing post-harvest losses and creating jobs.

    “The Nigerian government should consider amending the Act to yield the result they hope to achieve. Those resources are better used to tackle identified causes of food inflation and provide financing options for farmers to scale their production,” he said. He added that there is no link between the exportation of food items on the Act and rising food inflation, noting that what Nigeria needs is a legislative framework that would tackle the food crisis.

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