Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, has called for Nigeria’s economic diversification, saying that the country should move away from its overdependence on oil and gas and instead focus on agricultural products, solid minerals, chemical products, furniture and clothing, and tourism, among other things.
He also emphasized the need for Nigeria to diversify its revenue sources away from oil and increase its exports, adding that a situation in which oil and gas account for the majority of government revenues and foreign exchange gains is not ideal.
Sanwo-Olu made the remarks at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) RT 200 Non-oil Export Summit in Lagos, saying that Nigeria has a lot of potential to diversify its exports away from oil and gas, including agricultural products, solid minerals, chemical products, furniture, and clothes.
He praised the CBN for organizing a summit to promote non-oil exports in Nigeria, saying Lagos is honored to host the first edition of the strategic gathering.
“Lagos State is home to the country’s largest and most vital marine ports,” he stated. As a result, any discussion about increasing non-oil exports in Nigeria must include Lagos State, as well as our transportation and logistical infrastructure. This is why I am delighted that the inaugural Summit will be held in Lagos.
“A lot of the work we’ve done and continue to do as a government is targeted at improving the state of transportation infrastructure, enabling imports and exports, and generally lowering the cost of doing business.”
“We have a serious problem on our hands when export products become delayed on the roads and can’t get to the ports.” The economy pays a high price for these dysfunctions at all levels, from small and large enterprises whose commodities are exported to employees who work in the export business to road users who squander important time stuck in traffic due to worsening bottlenecks.
“As governments, it is consequently our obligation to guarantee that the business of exporting (and therefore importing) is as frictionless as feasible.” Nigeria has enormous potential to diversify its exports away from oil and gas and toward agricultural products, solid minerals, chemical products, furniture, and clothes, among other things.”
“A country in need of foreign cash has no business downplaying the value of exports,” Sanwo-Olu added, emphasizing the necessity for Nigeria to increase its exports.
“By focusing on our non-oil exports, we can do a lot to strengthen the Naira and our external reserves,” he remarked. This diversification also protects us from the harsh shock of relying solely on a small number of exports.
“I applaud the Central Bank for prioritizing this issue, as seen by the establishment of the Race To US$200 Billion FX Scheme (RT200), among other commendable steps.” Over the next few years, the RT200 FX Scheme aims to create as much as US$200 billion in foreign exchange revenues, primarily from non-oil sources.
“I am aware that the Central Bank has approved the payment of billions of Naira to more than 100 exporters who have benefited from the plan and increased their non-oil exports of finished and semi-finished items as a result of it.”
“I have no doubt that this program will grow in strength and deliver in ways that far exceed the Central Bank’s and Nigerian economy’s expectations.” I strongly encourage exporters to take advantage of it. “I also urge the Central Bank to fine-tune and improve this process while also considering new and innovative efforts that would achieve comparable results,” he said.