The non-oil sector is key to economic growth – Jim Ovia, others

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Yesterday, stakeholders called for support for Nigeria’s non-oil export sector at the 7th Annual Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar on the theme “Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Non-Oil Export Business “, held in Lagos

The Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, has called for a concerted effort to diversify Nigeria’s export base through the promotion of non-oil exports.

He pointed out that Nigeria had been exporting cocoa and several other non-oil products for years before the discovery of oil.

Ovia highlighted the phenomenal growth of Nigeria’s emerging financial technology (Fintech) companies such as Flutterwave, OPay, Interswitch, Kuda and Paystack, with market valuations of $3 billion, $2 billion, $1 billion, 500 million and $200 million, respectively.

Zenith Bank Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said the seminar was aimed at redirecting Nigeria towards economic diversification after the 2014-2016 commodity price crash.

“When crude oil prices fell from $114.55 per barrel in June 2014 to $28.76 in January 2016, with a concomitant effect on the availability of foreign exchange, it was time to turn to the non-export sector. oil companies for a more sustainable source of foreign exchange. which is not sensitive to external shocks and price volatility”.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has commended Zenith Bank for its laudable initiative to organize an annual export seminar to explore Nigeria’s non-oil export opportunities with a view to increasing the base of the country’s non-oil export and ultimately increase its share as a percentage of total exports.

Dangote Group Chairman and CEO, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said, “Nigeria’s non-oil exports are quite small compared to other major African oil producers. This exposes the economy to oil price and production risks. There is plenty of room for growth, and CBN is helping to stimulate it through the RT200 program.”

The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, enumerated the progress and achievements of the African Continental Free Trade Area and efforts to improve intra-African trade.

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