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Prioritise export trade of non-oil commodities, Export Institute urges FG

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By Abiodun OBA

The federal government has been advised to revive the ailing national economy and firm up the weak local currency by prioritising export trade of non-oil commodities.

The Deputy President of the Institute of Export Education and Training, Engr. Matthew Alalade, made the call while speaking on the sideline of the 5th Conference and Awards of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) held at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos.

According to him, export trade in non-oil commodities is not only key but very critical and strategic to the recovery of our economy which, today, has gone comatose and begging for life support.

“Export trade is critical and strategic to the current effort by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to give a new lease of life to our national economy and make our local currency compete favourably with its foreign counterparts,” he said.

Comrade Alalade commended the present administration in its quest to formulate policies aimed at revitalising the mining, maritime and agricultural sectors with a view to rescuing the national economy from quagmire in the face of dwindling fortunes of the oil sector which for now remains the mainstay of the economy.

Reminiscing, he recalled that agricultural produce was the mainstay of the economy of the Western Region under the Premiership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo during the First Republic when the region was in the forefront in educational and socio-economic development in the country.

“Cocoa export trade was responsible for the development of the Western Region, then, as its government formulated radical policies, including the establishment of the Cocoa Board which was the medium between the farmers and the foreigners who bought the produce in the international market,” Comrade Alalade asserted.

He pointed out that the Region earned a lot of foreign currency expended on building the Cocoa House, Liberty Stadium, roads, Farm Settlements, opening up of Industrial Estates and the establishment of Africa’s first television station, the WNTV.

“Then,” he emphasised, “there were licenced agents who bought from the farmers and sold to the Cocoa Board which exported the commodity and other products like coffee and cashew which were widely cultivated then in the West”.

Comrade Alalade, however, lamented that the scenario has changed over the years with the abolition of the Commodity Boards, thus giving room to foreigners to invade our country to buy directly from the farmers at ridiculous prices and export directly to their countries.

“The consequence is that our people have lost their jobs as licenced agents and officers at the commodity boards while government is losing a lot of hard currency needed to develop our foreign reserves and firm up our currency”.

According to him, the Institute of Export Education and Training, which has as its mandate, the creation of professionalism in export education and training, has advised the present administration to create an enabling environment for the export of non-oil commodities including agricultural produce and minerals which are in abundance in the country.

In his words, “the locales and farmers are ignorant in export activities, and this is where our institute comes in to fill the gap and provide the necessary education and training for those who show interest in the export trade”.

© 2023, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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