The Providus Non-Oil Export Summit 2023 was held on Friday, August 25, 2023, at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The summit was attended by over 200 stakeholders from the non-oil export sector, including exporters, manufacturers, government officials, and financial institutions.
The theme of the summit was tagged “The Pathway to Growing Non-Oil Exports in Nigeria.”
The summit created the channel to discuss the challenges and explore the opportunities facing the non-oil export sector in Nigeria and discuss how to boost exports and diversify the economy.
The symposium began with a resounding chorus of the national anthem—an anthem that resonated with patriotism and unity among all attendees.
The summit commenced with an opening remark by Mr. Biodun Ariyo, Head of Export Business at Providus Bank who took the stage to set the tone for the day’s journey. He introduced the Providus brand, the significance of the event, and the distinguished guests, speakers, and panellists.
A warm welcome address was delivered by Mr Kingsley Aigbokhavebo, the Deputy Managing Director of ProvidusBank. Mr Aigbokhavebo eloquently emphasized the crucial role of non-oil exports in bolstering the Nigerian economy and underscored the imperative of cultivating a more resilient export sector.
He particularly highlighted the significance of fashion as a paramount non-oil export, recognizing its pivotal position with those who shared their views on Nigeria’s non-oil export sector. Their insights seamlessly created a narrative that illuminated the subject matter.
The first speaker, Mr. Mohammed Babdende, the Customs Area Controller in Nigeria, shed light on customs’ vital role in the export sector. He shared recent achievements, discussed exportation prohibitions, and underscored the significance of exportation laws in supporting local businesses, among other important topics.
The spotlight shifted to a representative from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). He shared the story of non-oil product exports and how these exports bring immense benefits to the nation. He also introduced the ‘Zero Oil Plan,’ a smart strategy crafted to turbocharge different export products in Nigeria.
The dialogue then moved unto Olori Ronke Adewunyi Ogunwunmi, the esteemed royal queen of Ile-Ife and the visionary founder of Africa Fashion Week in prominent global hubs like London, Nigeria, and Brazil.
Her perspective highlighted the textile and garment industry, revealing the gaps that have hindered its progress, which primarily attributed to the absence of essential infrastructure such as reliable power supply. She also shared insights about an initiative in Ile Ife, a textile training program that has empowered over a thousand individuals. Olori Ronke expressed her hope that the Nigerian government would lend its support to restore hope within the textile and fashion industry.
Mr. Uade Ahimie, head of Strategy representing Nairametrics, addressed the audience, with the outlook on Nigeria’s exportation landscape. He shared insights on the historical gaps and emphasized that relying solely on oil exports was insufficient to bridge the economic divide. In his insightful analysis, he encouraged a shift in focus towards non-oil exports, stressing the need to tap into Nigeria’s rich natural resources. Mr. Ahimie also explored the nation’s competitive advantages and highlighted various exportable products such as cement, raw materials etc.
Following Mr Ahimie, Danielle Jarikre, the Head of the Lagos Regional Office at the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), took the floor.
Danielle Jarikre, the Head of the Lagos Regional Office at the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM),
She provided valuable insights into NEXIM’s array of financial products and educated the audience on the requirements for accessing these facilities. In a welcoming message, she extended assurance that obtaining a loan did not necessitate personal connections. Stating this, she said, “You do not need to know anyone or have affiliations with everyone to secure a loan at NEXIM”. She affirmed, that NEXIM is dedicated to fostering strategic partnerships and collaboration to drive developmental contributions.
Following the engaging dialogue with the speakers, the summit entered the second session—The panel session.
Mr. Bolula introduced the panel guests, setting the stage for an enlightening discussion. The session, moderated by Mr. Biodun Ariyo, commenced with Mr. Olasunkanmi Oyeyemi, the Managing Director of Sunbeth Global Concept Limited. He illuminated the path to initiating and expanding a profitable agricultural export business. Mr. Oyeyemi emphasized the critical elements: securing adequate funds, compelling narratives, and assembling the right team for a successful business.
The panel then shifted its focus to Mr. Ajobade Ogunbiyi, the Managing Director and CEO of BPL Nigeria Limited. He delved into the prospects of mining and metal exports in Nigeria, emphasizing that success in this industry is solely on establishing a robust organizational structure within the country.
Continuing the symposium, Mr. Ikenna Egbukole, the Chief Officer of Mitsun Group, explored the realm of trade commodity finance. He dissected the nuances of exchange rates, performance, and payment risks, shining a light on the intricate value chain. His perspective on understanding the business itself serves as the most valuable collateral and left a lasting impression, resonating with the audience.
Mr Aminu Murtala Nyako, the MD of Sebore International Farms Limited, took the stage to address the challenges confronting the agricultural value chain in Nigeria. While acknowledging the financing hurdles, he pointed to other obstacles. These included the imperative to diversify export options beyond the existing ones, electricity, logistics, monitoring, and enforcing quality standards. Mr. Nyako also highlighted the potential of unconventional export products and their benefits.
Mariam Musa, the MD of MORSI PR. spoke on youth development within the fashion industry, shedding light on the hurdles encountered in this creative realm. Mariam lauded the resilience displayed by fashion professionals and the global rise of innovative minds in the field. She passionately encouraged the audience to rally behind local fashion designers, recognizing their immense potential to contribute.
The panel session came to a dynamic conclusion with Mr. Bamidele Ayemibo, the Lead Consultant of 3T Impex Trade Academy. He cast a spotlight on the benefits awaiting stakeholders in Nigeria’s export business, the vast potentials of this arena and the intricate dynamics of push and pull effects within the industry. Mr. Ayemibo’s insights left the audience with a profound appreciation for the opportunities in the world of exports.
The session culminated in an interactive and immersive Q&A session, providing the audience with the opportunity to pose pressing questions and receive exceptional answers from the panellists.
To capture the essence of this enlightening symposium, a photography session orchestrated by Mr. Biodun Ariyo was conducted. Subsequently, the event concluded with a networking session and a leisurely lunch hour where experts convened to forge connections and learn more about the world of exports.
In summary, the summit proved to be an enlightening experience, benefitting both novice and seasoned professionals in the export industry. It provided a platform for thought-provoking discussions, insightful revelations, and valuable networking opportunities.