The Hard Slog of Boosting Non-Oil Exports


Tuesday, Oct 24, 2017 8:56AM/FBNQuest Research

Data in the CBN’s
Quarterly Statistical Bulletin for Q2 2017 on monthly merchandise exports fob show totals for the 12 months to June of US$30.1bn for oil, US$5.5bn for gas and US$3.2bn for non-energy products. On this basis the progress towards export diversification would appear negligible although we are probably not allowing time for the policies and incentives of this administration to take effect. We have ducked the challenge of trying to reconcile this data with the series on a customs basis cif in other statistical sources. 

The data do not support the statement by the CBN governor after the last meeting of the monetary policy committee that the newest fx window (NAFEX) had proved highly popular with non-oil exporters. 

Nor do they underpin the theory, aired in discussion of stubbornly high food price inflation, that many farmers had started to supply sub-regional rather than domestic markets with their food crops.

The CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council said last month that the FGN had approved the release of N20bn in the 2017 budget to meet the settlement of current claims under the export expansion grant. Given its size, this allocation has to be seen as a starting gesture. The scheme was abandoned in 2013 due to widespread abuse.

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Evidence of non-oil export diversification is elusive. We fall back upon the list of the top non-oil exporters, their sales, their products shipped and the destinations in the CBN annual reports. The latest list (for 2015) for the top 10 exporters shows cocoa beans, sesame seeds, cigarettes, cashew nuts, dried hibiscus flowers, leather and ammonia. Only the cigarettes and the ammonia were shipped to African destinations.

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