Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has asked the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to collaborate on the creation of a dedicated route for non-oil exports.

He said this on Thursday at the apex bank’s RT 200 non-oil export summit held in Lagos.

The theme of the event was ‘Setting the roadmap toward achieving RT200 and non-oil export for development’.

Emefiele said due to unnecessary delays at Nigerian ports, some of the country’s exporters have opted to take their goods to neighboring countries such as Accra and Benin Republic.

“We are just lucky to have Nigeria Ports, customs here. I want to appeal to both parties that we form and establish a working group comprising the banker’s committee, Nigeria Ports Authority, Nigeria Customs Service, maybe a shipping line to resolve issues,” Emefiele said.

“We have heard of people who want to export goods out of Nigeria queuing for months before their goods can go out. Time is against us. In the short run, what can NPA and customs do for the exporters? Whether you want to create a dedicated route where they can easily export their goods. We need those export proceeds badly.

“It is sad that because of the problem of trying to find an easy route for goods to be exported out of the country, Nigerian exporters now prefer to transport by road.

“I even hear some of them transport from Lagos to Accra or Benin Republic, then export goods from there. Doing this, we lose the opportunity of those export proceeds.”

On his part, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, reiterated the call for economic diversification in Nigeria.

He urged the country to shift from overdependence on oil and gas, to agricultural produce, solid minerals, chemical products, furniture and clothing as well as tourism, among others.

“We can do a lot to strengthen the naira and our external reserves by focusing on our non-oil exports. This diversification also gives us immunity from the severe shock of depending on a limited pool of exports.”

“I commend the Central Bank for making this a priority, through the launch of the Race To US$200 Billion FX Scheme (RT200), among other laudable initiatives.

“The RT200 FX Scheme seeks to generate as much as US$200 Billion in FX earnings, specifically from non-oil sources, over the next few years.” Sanwo-Olu added.”

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